Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, PDPPCO yesterday lampooned the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, accusing him of being economical with the truth on what actually necessitated the shift in the dates of the Presidential and general elections from February 14 and 28 to March 28 and April 11.
Addressing Journalists yesterday in Abuja, Director, Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Fani- Kayode who alleged that Jega held meetings with leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC in Dubai, United Arab Emirate and other cities of the world to perfect what he described as the Commission’s wanton conspiracy against 23 million eligible voters, however urged the INEC boss to be honourable, transparent as well as publish accurate information on the state of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs across the country.
Fani- Kayode who noted that Jega was not telling Nigerians the truth, requested that he should intimate Nigerians on how many PVCs were in the country, where they were located state by state, when would the others arrive from China and he plans to distribute them before elections.
He said, “Pieces of information at our disposal have shown that Jega has had meetings with APC stalwarts in Dubai and other cities in the world to perfect this wanton conspiracy against 23 million eligible voters. Besides, we have information that the PVCs that Nigerians are scrambling for are not in Nigeria and will not arrive before the elections. These PVCs are still in China and Prof Jega has strategically delayed their arrival to suit his electioneering permutations.
On whether the party was calling for Jega’s resignation against the backdrop of allegations raised against him, Fani- Kayode said the PDP would not call for now call for his resignation because “he might decide to confess and until then, we know what to do.”
When asked to substiatiate his allegation of Jega’s meetings with APC leaders and who were involved, he said, ” We were not the first to make the allegation about nocturnal meetings in Dubai. The South East Elders Forum had done so in the past. But we have evidence. If you look at what we said, you know we have the evidence. Look at Lagos, two senior members of INEC were suspended because they were stopping non indigines from collecting their PVCs. Before we make these allegations, we know what he is doing; we want him to respond to us and if we hear him, we know what else to do.
“Our Campaign Organisation would want Professor Jega to answer the following questions: Why are the PVC collection rates in the North Central, South-South, South West and South East much lower with the highest being 57%? Is it because these geopolitical zones may be pro-Jonathan?
“Why does the North West zone which includes Katsina (Buhari’s home state) have the highest collection rate of 80%?
How come the North East also has 75% collection rate when, in fact, three states in this zone-Adamawa, Borno and Yobe- have been under the attack of Boko Haram insurgents, a development that has led to the displacement of many residents? Did the Internally Displaced Persons come back there to collect their PVCs?
“Why is it that North Central zone, which includes states like Plateau and Benue that traditionally vote PDP, has a collection rate of 48% when North East and North West have between 75 and 80% collection rates?
“INEC would have us believe that as far back as January 2014, the PVC distribution would be done in phases. Phase 1, according to the Commission, commenced May 2014 in 10 states– Taraba, Gombe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Benue, Kogi, Abia, Enugu, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa.
“Phase 2 – Yobe, Bauchi (North East) Jigawa, Sokoto (North West), the Federal Capital Territory, Kwara (North Central), Anambra, Ebonyi (South East), Ondo, Oyo (South West), Delta and Cross River (South South).
“Phase 3 – kicked off in November and involved 13 states– Lagos, Kano, Rivers, Adamawa, Borno, Edo, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, and Plateau.
“Can Jega explain to Nigerians how Kano, Adamawa, Borno, Kaduna and Katsina, which were slated for Phase 3 and actually kicked off in November 2014, have achieved a 75-80% PVC collection rate whilst many states slated for Phases 1 and 2 and even some others in Phase 3 are still in the 40-50% collection rate range?
“Can Prof Jega show Nigerians proof that the Chinese company printing the PVCs has been paid in full by disclosing the total contract sum and the amount paid to date? Can Prof Jega show proof of arrival or expected date of arrival of all PVCs for the elections? Can Prof Jega tell Nigerians how he could have distributed 23 million PVCs within 5days to election if there hadn’t been a postponement?
Speaking further, Fani- Kayode who noted that pieces of information were beginning to fall in, asked, “Could this be why Prof Jega has refused to allow citizens use their temporary voter cards despite pleas from the National Assembly and well-meaning Nigerians? Does it make sense to disenfranchise 23 million citizens (a third of the eligible voters) because INEC says it wants to avoid rigging? The 2011 elections were adjudged the most transparent by Nigerians, the international community and the INEC chairman himself without the use of PVCs. So what has changed?
“Is this why APC leaders and members insist on non-postponement of the elections even when they know that 23 million Nigerians may not vote? Do they know something we do not know? Prof Jega said on National Television on 23rd of January 2015 that INEC is doing everything possible to ensure that before the end of January all the cards have been produced and made available. That deadline of end of January has come and gone and we still do not have the PVCs. Is he being sincere?
“We hereby challenge Prof Jega to be honourable and transparent. He should publish accurate information on the state of PVCs: how many PVCs are in the country? Where are they located state by state? When would the others arrive from China? How does he plan to distribute them before elections?
“Prof Jega should respond to these allegations of partisanship and ineptitude, and live up to his responsibilities as an independent election umpire. If he refuses to do so, we may end up losing confidence in him.
The Director, Media and Publicity of PDPPCO who stressed that there have been series of attack on President Goodluck Jonathan and the Campaign Organisation since the shift of dates of the polls, said, “This unfortunate development was sequel to the explanations given by the Chairman of the Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega for the Commission’s decision to postpone the elections. Professor Jega, at a press conference last Saturday, hinged the postponement on the security advice given by the National Security Adviser with respect to the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast zone of the country.
“Professor Jega deliberately failed to tell Nigerians the whole truth that underpinned the postponement, thus providing the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) a questionable platform to accuse us of complicity in the decision to postpone the elections. We must state here and again that the decision to postpone the elections was INEC’s since it is constitutionally saddled with that responsibility.
“The Commission has done just that and it had at the press conference hinted that it was having challenges with the distribution and collection of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). The Commission had claimed substantial readiness for the general elections despite that as at 5th February 2015, the total number of PVCs collected was 45, 829, 808, representing 66.58% of the total number of registered voters.
“We had immediately commended the INEC on the grounds that the postponement would enable the 23 million eligible voters who had not collected their PVCs to do so before the new dates announced for the elections.
But we have now realised how Professor Jega had disingenuously presented the reasons for the postponement of the elections at the press conference, making it look as if the problem was mainly security. We would like to say that the major issue that informed INEC’s decision was the deliberate attempt by the Commission to disenfranchise over 23 million eligible voters who are yet to collect their PVCs.
“The matter is that INEC has failed in its responsibility to produce and distribute PVCs to about 34 percent 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 Professor Jega, as a person, acting in concert with some forces of retrogression, is playing games with.
“We express our concerns today that Jega may have decided to aid the APC to rig the forthcoming elections through the manipulation of the production, distribution and collection of PVCs such that emerging trends have consistently shown calculated attempts to deprive parts of the country that would traditionally vote for President Jonathan of their PVCs whilst the parts of the country that would traditionally vote for the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, are already armed with their PVCs.
The PVC collection statistics for states and geo-political zones before the postponement of the elections as tabulated below would buttress Professor Jega’s contrived grand conspiratorial alliance with the APC to fraudulently secure victory in the elections.
“All Nigerians, who are 18 years and above, have a constitutional right and duty to vote. Prof Jega should not rewrite our constitution on the back of his inequitable distribution of PVCs. President Jonathan has reformed the electoral process to make each vote count; we therefore urge all Nigerians to insist on collecting their PVCs. We must not be deterred or intimidated by the antics of INEC. We must expose this show of shame in addition to other logistical lapses which could have led to the disenfranchisement of millions of Nigerian voters and major irregularities if the election had proceeded as earlier planned. ”
According to Fani- Kayode, as at February 4, 2015, Number of Registered Voters , Number of Cards Collected by Voters were as follows:
|S/No.||States||Number of Registered Voters||Number of Cards Collected by Voters||Remarks|
|( a)||( b)||( c)||(d)||(e)|