Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Following the irregularities it observed during the governorship election held last Saturday in Ekiti State, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Thursday that it was considering whether to participate in the 2019 general election.
The party’s candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola, was defeated by the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
But the PDP rejected the results of the election, calling its outcome a day light robbery.
Receiving a Joint International Election Observation Mission fielded by two main American international civil agencies, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) Thursday at the party’s headquarters in Abuja, the National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, said the Ekiti election left much to desired, claiming that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies colluded to rob the PDP of victory.
“We are still contemplating on whether we will participate in the 2019 elections or not,” he said, noting: “We are yet to take a decision on this.”
According to him, “We are not sure that the security agencies and INEC would be impartial and transparent. In the Ekiti elections, there were instances our party agents’ tags were removed and given to the APC agents. There were clear cases of manipulation, ballot snatching and harassment of our party agents.”
He added: “If nothing is done to stamp out and restore the confidence of ordinary Nigerians and other political parties, then it may be difficult to accept the result of 2019 general election, no matter what the outcome may be unless it is transparent, free and fair and it is a recipe for crises.”
Secondus said that what happened in Ekiti State was not just electoral fraud but robbery in connivance with INEC and security agencies.
He said that there were clear indications that the APC was scheming to engineer more crisis in the land to enable them manipulate the electoral process in their favour in connivance with security agencies.
“For us as an opposition party we have lost confidence in INEC and security agencies,” he said.
The National Organising Secretary of the party, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd), who also briefed the visiting international agencies on the Ekiti election, said the election was fraught with electoral fraud, including intimidation and ballot snatching.
He said the manipulation of figures were so glaring that it produced conflicting figures of the results and INEC had to pull it down from its website.
Mrs. Pauline Beckamp, leader of the delegation, said the team came to hear from PDP on the challenges and opportunities on the upcoming election and most importantly what challenges the party encountered, so the team could take it up with INEC.