by Ranti Joseph
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday accused the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, of working with the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been holding secret meetings in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates and other unnamed cities to rig the forthcoming general elections.
They were accused of planning to disenfranchise 23 million eligible voters by not giving them Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).
But while the APC rebutted the allegations, Jega, through his spokesman, Kayode Idowu, declined comments. Director, Media and Publicity, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Femi Fani-Kayode, at a press conference on Wednesday said Jega did not disclose to Nigerians the reasons behind the rescheduling of the elections.
“The matter is that INEC has failed in its responsibility to produce and distribute PVCs to about 34 per cent of registered voters who would require the cards to vote in the elections. This brings us to the issue of statistics of PVC distribution and collection, which we believe Jega, as a person, acting in concert with some forces of retrogression, is playing games with,” he stated.
Fani-Kayode said Jega might have decided to aid APC to rig the forthcoming elections through the manipulation of the production, distribution and collection of PVCs, adding that emerging trends have shown calculated attempts to deprive parts of the country that would traditionally vote for the PDP presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, of their PVCs whilst the parts of the country that would traditionally vote for the APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, had got their PVCs adding that the PVC collection statistics for states and geopolitical zones before the postponement of the elections buttressed the fact that Jega had allegedly contrived grand conspiratorial alliance with APC to fraudulently secure victory in the elections.
He wondered why the PVC collection rate in the North-Central, South- South, South-West and South-East was much lower with the highest being 57 per cent whereas the North-West zone which includes Katsina (Buhari’s home state) has the highest collection rate of 80 per cent. He challenged Jega to explain to Nigerians that despite the fact that Kano, Adamawa, Borno, Kaduna and Katsina, which were slated for Phase three of the collection of PVCs achieved a PVC collection rate of between 75 and 80 per cent, while many states slated for phases one and two and even some others in phase three have a collection rate of between 40 and 50 per cent. According to him, the PVCs that Nigerians are scrambling for are not in Nigeria and will not arrive before the elections as they are still in China.
Idowu said it was not the tradition of INEC to take issue with political parties so as not to undermine its status as an umpire. But the APC denied allegations of clandestine meeting with Jega and wondered how the party could have done that when its leaders have been busy with campaigns.
According to the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Lai Mohammed, there is no reason to meet with anybody. “Who is the APC leadership that has been meeting with him (Jega)? I am here, Bola Tinubu is here, Oyegun is here, Bisi Akande is here, and all our governors are here. Who is the leadership that he is meeting with in Dubai, tell me? We are all meeting tonight. Then, if all these people are here, who is the leadership of the party that Jega is meeting with?” he asked.