- Says INEC’s double standard threatens 2019 elections
Adedayo Akinwale and Palvin Namero in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to show his zero tolerance for corruption by allowing for an open inquest into the N2.5 billion scandal, involving the First Lady, Aisha Buhari.
The leadership of the main opposition party has also accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of double standards, saying the commission takes different decisions on electoral results, irrespective of constitutional provisions.
PDP said it was more scandalous that while President Buhari was in the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York mouthing his war against corruption, a huge broth of corruption, in which his wife was mentioned, was simmering under his own roof.
The National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan who disclosed this yesterday in a statement in Abuja, said that the scandal had further vindicated the stand of the PDP that President Buhari presides over a government of corruption, where his close relatives, officials and a cabal of associates are enmeshed in sleazy deals but parading as saints.
The party said it was instructive to note that the First Lady had already admitted that her detained security aide defrauded “unsuspecting associates and officials”, a position which inadvertently exposes the attempt by the Police to conceal the matter.
Ologbondiyan said Nigerians should note that the Presidency had suddenly gone dumb on a N2.5 billion fraud under its roof, saying, “does this not amount to admittance of complicity by the Buhari Presidency, which is becoming notorious as a den of certificate forgers and persons of questionable character.”
The PDP stressed that President Buhari, by now, must have learnt that Nigerians are not buying the lame denial by the First Lady, who had rushed to town to disown her detained security aide, Sani Baba Inna, just because the lid is off the can of worms.
Ologbondiyan said, “The PDP and indeed Nigerians have always pointed to the very expensive lifestyle and personal effects, including posh jewelries, daily paraded by close relatives of Mr. President, thus belying gimmicks and stunts of the first family being saintly and pro-poor.
“Also, there have been allegations of acquisitions of sprawling and choice property in Nigeria and other countries by persons close to the President.”
The opposition party noted that it is common knowledge that aides of former Presidents and those of former First Ladies are currently facing trial in open court over similar allegations, adding that this should not be an exception.
The PDP said it hoped that the detained aide will not be ‘escorted’ out of the country to prevent him from opening up, as was the case of disgraced former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.
Meanhile, the leadership of the main opposition party has also accused INEC of double standards, saying the commission takes different decision on electoral results irrespective of constitutional provisions.
The party added that the double standards being operated by INEC not only worries political parties but is a pointer to the fact that the 2019 general elections is under threat.
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus stated this yesterday when he received members of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) at the party’s National Headquarters, in Abuja.
Secondus, who was represented by the Deputy National Chairman, South, of the party, Elder Yemi Akinwomi said that APC in collusion with INEC used a different paradigm to scuttle the Osun election, which was clearly won by the PDP.
He stated, “We politicians are seriously worried about what is going to happen to the country after 2019. It is on record that when we lost election in 2015, we were the first party to concede defeat even when election results has not been released by INEC.
“In Nigeria, we practice differential democracy. INEC has been compromised; the security agencies have compromised. We have lost it all under this INEC.
“Since this Commission took over, there have been serious complaint over elections conducted by the government. Recently in Kogi and Delta States, they did not declare election inconclusive. It is obvious that INEC and the federal government are doing whatever they like. In Kogi the cancelled votes were 19,000 and the APC was declared winner with 10,000 votes margin.”
Secondus argued that in the last Senatorial election in Kogi, INEC declared the APC winner with about 10,000 vote margin despite the fact that 19,000 votes were cancelled.
The party called for the resignation of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and that of the INEC Commissioner in charge of Operations, who is the cousin of President Muhammad Buhari, who heads the Operations Unit of INEC.
The chairman noted that INEC should be held responsible should anything befall the country after the 2019 election.
“We have come to let everybody know that if anything happens in 2019, the federal government should be held responsible. Federal government has the power of arm but we have the power of will”, he restated.
On the delegations were Raymond Esebagbom, Country Director, NDI, Dante’s Banes Country Director IRI, Sarah Vegede Toe and Anna Jones.