By Umar Muhammad Puma
The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has
expressed concern over the unending attacks, as well as the elaborate disinformation campaign being orchestrated by opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
CHRICED in a statement issued by its Executive Director, Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullah said even though the group is not holding brief for the Commission, it is however concern about the persistent attacks on INEC especially by the opposition PDP, as it is barely few weeks to the 2019 general elections.
“It is within our patriotic mandate for civic education to point trends in the polity, which pose threats to the credibility of the electoral process. With barely a few weeks to the 2019 general elections, there is no mistaken the fact that the attacks against INEC by some partisan interests are well calculated to achieve sinister objectives, including an attempt to undermine voter confidence and the acceptability of the outcome of the polls.
CHRICED while citing the reaction of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to the appointment of Mrs. Amina Zakari as Head of INEC Collation Centre for the 2019 Presidential election, said the PDP’s position was motivated by nothing else, but sheer mischief on the part of the party.
“If this were not so, objective onlookers would wonder why the PDP insists on misleading the public by deliberately refusing to own up to the fact that the said Mrs. Zakari was actually appointed to INEC by a PDP President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and confirmed by PDP dominated National Assembly. If a PDP President found the said Mrs. Zakari worthy of appointment to the position of National Commissioner, on what reasonable basis would the party be questioning her work at INEC, including the latest assignment that she has been saddled with?
“For avoidance of doubt, CHRICED is aware that Mrs. Zakari had been appointed as a National Commissioner since 2011, and was part of the INEC National Officers who conducted the 2011 elections. In the Presidential election of 2011, the PDP’s Goodluck Jonathan defeated, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was then running on the platform of the Congress of Progressives Change (CPC). The PDP traducers now howling as if Mrs Zakari was brought into the Commission yesterday, apparently had no reason to begin a smear campaign at the time because the outcome went the way they wanted.
“To our mind, therefore, the hue and cry over Mrs. Zakari is a case of a political party crying wolf in order to create a narrative that puts the blame on the electoral umpire in the case of a poor showing at the polls.
“Ironically, Nigerians expect the PDP which ruled the country for no less than 16 years, and styled itself as the largest party in Africa, to know better than resorting to the cheap and cowardly tactics to undermine confidence in INEC. The party resorted to these same underhand tactics in 2015 when it kept on accusing INEC without proof of bias and partisanship.
“No thanks to such reckless assertion about alleged partisanship, INEC could not go ahead with the proposed increase in the number of polling units, which was meant to bring the electoral process closer to voters by creating more units in areas where population growth had made it imperative for such changes.
“What is however clear from the latest attacks on the credibility of INEC is the fact that PDP is not prepared for the issues-based campaigns, which it promised to run for the 2019 polls. Rather than focus on those issues, the party seems bent on muddying the waters through falsehoods, and outlandish accusations, which have no sound logical basis.
“It is now very apparent that the PDP disinformation machine would stop at nothing to undermine voter confidence in the 2019 polls. First it was the ridiculous claim that the President was an imposter, the so called ‘Jubril of Sudan’ story; then the party went on to propagate and promote other outlandish claims, which it has failed to substantiate.
“Going by the loud noises from the camp of the PDP, citizens who may not know its antecedents in relations to assaults on the electoral process, may be deceived to think the party is truly interested in credible polls. Yet, this is the same PDP, which designed and implemented an elaborate scheme in 2015 to bribe INEC Staff across the 36 states of the federation. It is the same party, which superintended over an electoral register, which had the likes of Mike Tyson and Mohammed Ali as registered voters.
“Therefore, it is safe to say that while the electoral process is not yet 100 percent perfect, institutions like INEC have gone beyond those days of darkness. PDP is not the only political party; it is imperative that it behaves and stop undermining the democratic process through falsehoods and acts of subterfuge.”