By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has declared support for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its decision to organise a national election on February 23, 2019, rather than implementing a partial postponement which would not have been in the best interest of the country’s democracy.
The main opposition party, in a letter to INEC, signed by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Seondus, and made available to journalists Monday, thanked the chairman of the commission and its staff for their robust response to the logistical challenges the commission faced that led to the election postponement and for explaining the issues, as well as its implementation plan to ensure free, fair and credible elections on February 23rd and March 9th.
The letter read: “We support your decision to ensure full national elections and resist pressure to implement a partial postponement which would not have been in the best interests of democracy in Nigeria.
“On behalf of the PDP and our presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, I would like to follow up on the two questions we raised and the answers you gave.
“We ask INEC to confirm that Activate Technologies Ltd will have no involvement in the collection and reconfiguration of any card readers when they are taken to state-level to have the new date and time of the 23rd of February election programmed into them.
“You stated that you were aware and have no issue with the fact that Mohammed S Musa is both a senatorial candidate and owner of this company that produces highly sensitive election materials including card readers and PVCs. This goes against every international and Nigerian convention and law of nature – it is the equivalent of letting the fox into the hen coop or getting a student to answer their own homework.
“Why would you not require an individual who is participating in an election in which he is providing the means to count his own vote demand immediately that his contract is terminated?
“Furthermore, in the spirit of transparency that you stated today that INEC works to, why would you hire a company where the owner hides his ownership of the company through proxy shareholders?
“Will INEC allow independent verification that none of the potentially compromised card readers supplied by Active Technology Ltd in the polling units in the 10 effected states have not been tampered with?
“We thank you for agreeing to this and hereby provide two ICT and audit firms who have the expertise to evaluate whether the card readers have been compromised.
“We would be grateful if you could confirm which one is acceptable to INEC and make provision for them to have unfettered access between 18-21st February as they are brought to CBN offices in the following states to do tests on units selected at random. We also asked and you agreed whether independent verification that the sensitive materials returned to the CBN offices at state level have not been tampered with.
“We believe it makes sense to appoint one company to verify both issues or on the issue of sensitive materials we can use the party officials and observers.”
The PDP however recommended KPMG and Price Waterhouse to the electoral body.
Sedondus said: “As promised I attach the list of polling units which have had card readers supplied by Activate Technology Limited which we believe may have been compromised to receive multiple fake PVCs, provide slower operation (in PDP strongholds to suppress our vote), count one card multiple times or other such manipulation.
“Once the audit firm is agreed we would want to agree their methodology and the minimum number of units to represent a statistically significant number. Given the short time frame this appointment we believe will need to be made by Monday, 18th February.”