The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Monday, insisted that the Leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was under pressure to rig the 2019 general elections for President Muhammadu Buhari, and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, in a statement, claimed that the INEC Chairman, Yakubu Mahmood, has been penciled down for the “Onnoghen treatment”.
He said that due to this, INEC has allegedly been taking directives from the Buhari Presidency and the APC, on how to manipulate the Electoral process at various levels.
He said: “INEC has collected a list of people that will serve as Electoral Officials, including ad-hoc staff and Returning Officers at the polling units, from APC State Governors, and Candidates across the Federation, on the directives of the Buhari Presidency.
“The PDP is already privy to how the lists were populated with APC members and agents of the APC Candidates, after clearance by the APC Leaders in various States.
“The PDP vehemently rejects this wicked plot by the Buhari Presidency, which is tailored to ensure institutional manipulation of the Electoral process, including accreditation, voting and collation of results at the polling units, which is the base of the elections.
“The PDP holds that by following the directive of the APC in such dubious rigging scheme, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, has violated section 29 (1) of the Electoral Act (as amended), and shows that he is in clear deficit of the required political will to conduct a credible, free, and fair election.
“This is especially in the light of the boasting by agents of the Buhari Presidency and the APC, to give the INEC Chairman, what they describe as the “Onnoghen treatment”, and frame him, if he fails to comply with their rigging plans.
“In the light of the foregoing, the PDP demands that INEC, within the next 48 hours, publishes the list of all Officials and ad-hoc staff, that will play any form of role in the election at all levels, for verification by Stakeholders.
“Any delay or refusal by INEC to publish the list with 48-hours, would be a clear acceptance that it has been compromised by the APC, and this could lead to a very serious crisis with very dire consequences, as the PDP will never allow anybody to rig it out in this election.
“The PDP wants Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to note that the fate of our nation lies in his hands. It is left to him to decide whether he would end as a national hero, or as a villain.
“Furthermore, the PDP calls on the international community, like the US, UK, EU, to place the INEC Chairman, Directors, and Commissioners in INEC responsible for this election, on their watch list, and proceed to impose travel ban on them, as well as hold them directly responsible, should there be any form of rigging in the February 16, 2019 Presidential election.
“Finally, the PDP directs all its members, teeming supporters, and all well meaning Nigerians across the nation, to get ready to vote out President Buhari, and protect their votes with all the energy available to them, in the defence of our democracy and freedom as a people.
“If President Buhari believes he is popular, he should make himself available for a free, fair, transparent, and credible election. Anything short of this is completely unacceptable to Nigerians.”