Damilola Oyedele in Abuja

The House of Representatives member for Obio Akpor Federal Constituency, of Rivers State, Hon. Kingsley Chinda has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government of using the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to weaken democracy in Nigeria.

Chinda, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who was returned by the recent re-run election conducted by the INEC, lamented that elections are no longer determined by the people, but by the ruling party.

Speaking to THISDAY after he was sworn in by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Chinda called for adherence to the rule of law by the government, and overhaul of electoral institutions.

“It pains me that our democracy has been put on reverse gear: the democratic gains of last 16 years, climaxed by the sportsmanship and best display of respect for democracy, rule of law and love for Nigeria by President Goodluck Jonathan who accepted defeat and congratulated General Muhammadu Buhari even before final results were announced,” he said.

“Today even where APC candidates are aware they have lost, they go ahead to use institutions of government to foist themselves on the people or upturn the mandate of the people. For the first time in the history of democracy, soldiers were at the polling units and inside collation centres with guns and ordering INEC staff on what to do,” Chinda added.

The lawmaker, who is also Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, added that these actions weaken institutions and encourage impunity. He also described the re-run elections in Rivers as the worst organised election in Nigeria, adding that the situation was saved by the peoples’ insistence on protection of their votes.

“If individuals continue to amass power at the expense of institutions, democracy will be dead and buried by 2019; a nation where the security institution is compromised and partisan is a finished nation,” he warned.

Speaking further, the lawmaker pledged his commitment to the fulfilment of his electoral promises to his constituency whose doggedness and resolute stance ensured his victory.