Don’t Succumb to Pressure to Manipulate 2019 Polls, PDP Warns INEC Boss

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By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has cautioned the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, not to succumb to pressure to manipulate the electoral process in 2019, following his alleged secret meeting with the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, at the Presidential Villa last Friday.

The main opposition party said that the polity is already tensed over INEC’s listing of President Muhammadu Buhari for election despite his failure to present the constitutionally required academic credentials like other candidates.

This development, the party said, casts a dark shadow on the credibility of INEC to conduct a transparent election.

The opposition party, in a statement on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, said Nigerians are aware that by Buhari’s declaration in an affidavit, that his said certificates are with the military, his nomination documentation is therefore constitutionally incomplete, making him ineligibile to contest the 2019 presidential election.

He stated: “By failing to write to the military authorities to release his claimed certificates, Mr. President leaves Nigerians with no option than to hold that he does not have the credentials and the 1999 Constitution (as amended) did not provide that affidavits can be used as a substitute for any candidate’s credentials.

“Moreover, Mr. President’s affidavit also shows that he did not submit any certificate in 2015, making his candidacy for that election improper and defective under our laws.

“The PDP cautions the Chairman not to succumb to pressure to manipulate the electoral process for President Buhari as such could cause serious crisis capable of disarticulating our nation.

“PDP’s fresh caution to INEC Chairman is predicated on an alleged secret meeting he held with President Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari, at the Presidential villa last Friday.”

The PDP said now that Nigerians have rejected President Buhari’s affidavit and insisted on his certificates, the All Progressives Congress (APC) is left with no option than to accept its self-inflicted misfortune.

“Meanwhile, we are not unaware of the anxiety and apprehension in the APC but such is the price of being stuck with bad merchandise,” APC said.

The party also warned Buhari not to allow his personal ambition to push the nation into chaos.

The PDP cautioned Buhari’s handlers, who it said are desperate to force him on an unwilling nation, that they are fast pushing the nation to the brink and should be checked before it is too late.

When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, declined comment on the issue.

Meanwhile, the INEC National Commissioner on Information and Voter Education, Mr. Festus Okoye, said he has been away from office since last Tuesday but promised to respond to the issue on Monday when he comes back.