By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stop pandering to the wishes of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by making public its findings on underage voters in various states, particularly Kano and Katsina.
The party said that it was aware that the investigation unearthed a multitude of underage voters, particularly in Kano and Katsina, but that INEC has been instructed by the APC and the presidency to conceal the atrocity, which they plan to use to rig the 2019 presidential election for President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement issued Monday, by PDP’s National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan, the party alleged that the presidency and APC agents were pressurising INEC to drop the findings of the committee on underage voters.
“Our investigation reveals that beyond underage voters, the INEC panel discovered other atrocities, which the APC and the presidency agents have been suppressing.
“We are also aware of the manipulations in INEC’s computer data centre, which has been handed over to a compromised official known to be related to President Buhari,” PDP said.
It said it is shocking to note that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, is allowing the APC and the presidency cabal to use him in their desperation to rig the 2019 election for President Buhari despite his overt rejection by the citizens as a result of the failures of his administration.
According to the party, “Only last week, Nigerians were stunned by revelations that INEC under Prof. Yakubu is plotting to create 30,000 illegal polling centres in soft and compromised areas through which they plan to allocate free votes for President Buhari.
“This is in addition to plots to compromise other voting processes including the card readers to favour the APC.
“We invite Nigerians and the international community to note the various attempts by INEC to conceal the underage voters, particularly in Kano and President Buhari’s home state, Katsina.”
PDP said when the issue first came to the public domain, the APC issued a staunch defence while INEC blamed the Kano State government, adding that the commission had to back down to institute an inquest when confronted with facts showing that it registered the minors.
“Furthermore, Prof. Yakubu refused to allow for an all-inclusive panel of political parties and credible NGOs but went ahead to hand pick INEC officials with a view to cover the illegality.
“Nigerians may recall that when we challenged the veracity of the preliminary report with documentary evidence, INEC promised to make public its final findings, but has refused to do so since the end of the inquest.
“We charge Prof. Yakubu to find the strength to resist the pressure by the APC and its presidency or quit the office, as they will definitely put him on collusion course with Nigerians, who are already anxious about this election and are ready to stiffly resist anything short of credible, free and fair polls,” it said.