The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review and sanitise its voter’s register, particularly in Kano and Katsina states to check underage people from voting.
PDP gave the advice in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Wednesday in Abuja.
The party gave the advice while reacting to INEC’s position on current videos and pictures on social media platforms showing underage persons voting.
According to Mr. Ologbondiyan, the videos and pictures are showing underage persons thumb-printing ballot papers and casting their votes during the last Saturday local government elections in Kano State.
He said Nigerians had since lost confidence in the INEC.
Mr. Ologbondiyan said reviewing the voter register was the only way the commission could demonstrate its independence to Nigerians.
The PDP condemned the commission for attempting to cover its complicity in the “widespread impunity recorded,” particularly under age voting that characterised the state local council elections.
The party said it was INEC that registered the minors as voters in the first place.
Mr. Ologbondiyan said, as such the commission should not in any way attempt to exonerate itself of involvement in the electoral fraud, simply because it did not directly conduct the elections.
He condemned a statement by INEC, wherein it tried to exonerate itself of culpability in the participation of minors in the Kano election.
“Is it not INEC that registered the minors and issued them with Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to participate in elections as clearly documented in the Kano council election?
“Can INEC truly acquit itself as the original culprit who set the stage for the eventual participation of the minors and overall rigging of the elections,” he said.
He said INEC should not give lame excuses or exonerate itself at a time it should be taking decisive steps to protect the sanctity of its sensitive materials such as the PVC.
“Indeed, if this INEC is serious about the sanctity of sensitive electoral materials, by now, it should have ordered the immediate review of its voter register in Kano and Katsina states.
“INEC suppose to be fishing out and prosecuting those who registered the minors and clean up the electoral system in the affected states.”
He accused INEC of allowing itself to be used for irregularities in favour of the ruling party.
This, according to the party, was witnessed in the last Saturday’s Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency Supplementary election in Katsina State.
“Finally, we want INEC to note, and in very strong terms too, that Nigerians will not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general elections.
“The commission should therefore ensure that it does not allow itself to be used by the APC against the will of the people, particularly in the 2019 elections, as such will be highly resisted.”
INEC had in a reaction to the allegation recently said the images from Kano did not relate in any way to any election organised, conducted or superintended by INEC.
The commission’s Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, said the commission could not be held directly or vicariously liable for an exercise outside its legal purview.
“It should be pointed out that local government elections are exclusively the responsibility of the respective State Electoral Commissions, who are in no way under the control and supervision of INEC.(NAN)