An election monitoring and observer group, Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) has urged Nigerians to hold the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) responsible should any harm befall independent election observers deployed to monitor the forthcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
The group in a statement by its director, contact and mobilisation, Faith Nwadishi, stated that it decided to raised the alarm over the safety of observers to be deployed to monitor the Ekiti state election following a statement by the PDP describing the election observers as APC agents.
She said the leadership of PDP should be interrogated and made to enter an undertaking not to continue to distract INEC, interfere with the civic duties of duly accredited independent election observers or interrupt the elections in Ekiti and elsewhere.
She said, “There is no doubt that the PDP’s grand design is to scare away independent election observers. It is also plausible that the PDP and its current Governor of the State, Ayo Fayose, whose propensities for violence are well known, are working to provide a pretext to unleash violence as a means to manipulate the Ekiti Governorship elections which the Governor and his party have already vowed to win by all means.”
She urged security agencies to look critically into the threat issued by PDP to independent election observers who have been accredited to observe the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections.
She said, “We recall that it was also in Ekiti State in 2015 that the late Professor Momoh of the National Electoral Institute was viciously attacked and manhandled by PDP’s political thugs during the Governorship election that brought the current Governor to office.”
The ISDMG described the allegation as wild and malicious, saying the INEC should be too busy to dignify the PDP with a response since Nigerians already know what PDP represents and have made up their minds about them.
She said, “Our major concern however, is the new dimension to this PDP’s shenanigan- the explicit threat to the safety of independent election observers accredited by INEC to monitor the forth-coming Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections.
“While alleging plots by INEC to use ‘illegal observers to manipulate the electoral process, endorse irregularities, approve fictitious results and subvert the will of the electorate in favour of the APC’ the PDP in its incendiary statement further said it ‘wants INEC to note that the people of Ekiti and Osun Sates are already aware of the plots’ and that they ‘are ready to resist such’.
“The PDP further claims that Ekiti and Osun States ‘are immutable strongholds of the PDP’ and ‘that the citizens are politically sophisticated and will in no way hesitate to confront, with all energy available in a democracy, any attempt by anybody to sabotage the election’.
What we make of this statement is that the PDP is hiding under a subterfuge to mobilise and unleash violence on independent observers and claim that it was the people’s reaction against ‘APC agents’.
“Our making of PDP’s further claim of the ‘incontrovertibility’ of having ‘the largest demography of genuine followership and unprecedented mass appeal across Ekiti’ is that it is actually mobilising and arming agents of violence whom they will use to intimidate voters, attack election observers and violently rig the election to achieve a pre-determined objective.
On the PDP’s claim about the ‘sterling performance of Governor Ayo Fayose’, we will simply leave it for Ekiti people, particularly state workers whom the self-same ‘performing’ Governor owes several arrears of months of salary to determine.”