Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has threatened not to participate in future elections if the Electoral Act is not amended to ensure that electronic voting is adopted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
At a meeting with the INEC yesterday, the main opposition party also asked the electoral umpire to clarify whether Nigeria is still practising the United States’ presidential democracy or the Egyptian model, where the military participates and supervises elections.
Also, PDP told INEC to ensure that the Electoral Act is amended to enthrone electronic voting, or the party might not participate in subsequent elections.
The position of PDP was made known by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, when the National Working Committee (NWC) met the INEC Election Party Monitoring Department led by the commission’s Deputy Director, Mr. Musa Husule.
Secondus, who berated INEC for conducting one of the worst elections in 2019, told the visiting INEC team that history would hold them responsible for their actions.
Secondus told INEC to clarify the form of democracy that Nigeria was practising and wondered whether it was still the American model of democracy or the Egyptian model of democracy where the military were allowed to participate and supervise elections.
He stated that it was necessary for INEC to clarify this position, so as to include it in the electoral reform on conduct of free, fair and credible election.
“Such legal framework should address the issue of security, electronic voting and collation of results and punishment for electoral offenders,” he explained.
Speaking on party rules, Secondus told the INEC officials that the operation of PDP was basically as enshrined in the party’s constitution as amended in 2016, saying, “We are a party guided by the rule of law and we religiously follow the dictates of democracy, anchoring our strength on the Nigerian people in line with our slogan-power to the people.”
He said PDP had played great roles to sustain democracy in Nigeria since 1999.
According to him, the PDP has since 1999 nurtured democracy for 16 years, during which the party carried out an extensive electoral reform that culminated in its loss of power and the entry of the opposition since 2015.
“That seamless transition of power from ruling party to opposition remains the finest time for our democracy and INEC. The global democracy stood in salute for us as a nation. Unfortunately, both INEC and the government in power have been unable to replicate or grow on that fine foundatio
n,” he said.
Secondus described 2015 as the finest hour of Nigeria’s democracy, even though PDP was ousted as the ruling party, adding that on the contrary the 2019 general election was the height of electoral impunity that set the nation backwards.
On INEC and its duties, Secondus said PDP had been attacking the commission because it compromised its integrity.
“We are standing vindicated in the eyes of many electoral watchers as all our fears and apprehensions ahead of election came to fruition in the general election of February and March this year, the preceding governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States earlier and the latest being the November 16, 2019 gubernatorial election in Bayelsa and Kogi States,” he added.
He told INEC that the survival and sustenance of democracy rested squarely on the integrity of the commission, which would derive from the character and the impartiality of its operatives.
He said: “The effect of bad elections in our polity has been far reaching, stagnating political and economic development, and permanently foisting on the people unpopular and incompetent leaders. The tension and uncertainty in the country today is clearly fallout of election mishap in February.
“Free, fair and credible election is exactly what PDP and indeed global democracy demand and expect from INEC.”
Responding, Husule said their visit to PDP was part of the regulatory body’s monitoring of political parties to supervise their finance, check on names of member of the party, supervision of the party headquarters, physical check on members of the NWC and the names of the NEC, as well as sighting of the party constitution, among others.