Abuja, Feb. 15, 2018 (TNE) The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review and sanitise its voter register, particularly in Kano and Katsina States, to stop underage persons from voting.
PDP gave the advice in a statement issued on Wednesday in Abuja by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan.
The party said it gave the advice in reaction to INEC’s position on current videos and pictures in the social media platforms showing underage persons voting.
According to Ologbondiyan, the videos and pictures show underage persons thumb-printing ballot papers and casting their votes during last Saturday’s local government elections in Kano state.
He said that Nigerians have lost confidence in the INEC.
Ologbondiyan said reviewing the voter register is the only way the commission can demonstrate its independence to Nigerians.
The PDP condemned the commission for attempting to cover its complicity in the “widespread impunity recorded”, particularly underage voting that characterised the state local council elections.
The party said it was INEC that registered the minors as voters in the first place.
Ologbondiyan said, as such, the commission should not in any way attempt to exonerate itself of involvement in the electoral fraud, simply because it did not directly conduct the elections.
He condemned a statement by INEC, wherein it tried to exonerate itself from culpability in the participation of minors in the Kano election.
“Can INEC truly acquit itself as the original culprit who set the stage for the eventual participation of the minors and overall rigging of the elections,” he said.
He said that INEC should not give lame excuses or exonerate itself at a time it should be taking decisive steps to protect the sanctity of its sensitive materials such as the PVC.
“Indeed, if this INEC is serious about the sanctity of sensitive electoral materials, by now, it should have ordered the immediate review of its voter register in Kano and Katsina states.
“INEC supposes to be fishing out and prosecuting those who registered the minors and clean up the electoral system in the affected states.”
He accused INEC of allowing itself to be used for irregularities in favour of the ruling party.
This, according to the party, was witnessed in last Saturday’s Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency Supplementary election in Katsina state.
“Finally, we want INEC to note, and in very strong terms too, that Nigerians will not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general elections.
“The commission should therefore ensure that it does not allow itself to be used by the APC against the will of the people, particularly in the 2019 elections, as such will be highly resisted.”
In its reaction to the allegation, INEC’s Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the images do not relate in any way to any election organised, conducted or superintended by INEC.
Osaze-Uzzi said the commission cannot be held directly or vicariously liable for an exercise outside its legal purview.
“It should be pointed out that local government elections are exclusively the responsibility of the respective State Electoral Commissions, who are in no way under the control and supervision of INEC.