By Lateef Ibrahim
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) to move quickly and initiate Electoral Act amendment that will legalize electronic voting and remove the influence of the military as primary security on the Election Day.
The National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said this yesterday while playing host to an INEC verification team who came to the PDP national secretariat in Abuja.
Secondus suggested that such Electoral Act amendment must be carried out before the next general elections.
“I am not going to bore you with issues that is well known to your commission in your reviews of elections but I would like to urge your commission to move quickly and initiate Electoral Act amendment that will legalize electronic voting and remove the influence of the military as primary security on the Election Day”, the PDP National Chairman told the INEC team led by the Deputy Director in charge of Election and Party Monitoring.
Secondus expressly made it clear that it would be difficult for opposition parties to participate in further elections if what transpired in Kogi and Bayelsa governorship election are not addressed.
The PDP National Chairman, who decried the spate of violence during elections in Nigeria, however lamented military participation during polls, as well as the legalisation of electronic voting.
He also alleged that some INEC officials are now serving the agenda of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Secondus, who noted that PDP warehoused democracy for Nigeria since 1999 until 2015 when it lost election, said “the 2019 elections set Nigeria backwards”.
He noted with regret that the ruling All Progressives Congress, has been unable to replicate the democratic foundation laid by PDP.
His said “The ruling APC, unlike the PDP, is not disposed to any electoral law that will prevent them from manipulating the system.
“We in PDP expect INEC to be at the forefront of the process to have legal frame work for the 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.
“Finally, the survival and sustenance of our democracy rest squarely on the integrity of the Electoral Commission which will derive from the character and the impartiality of its operatives”, he said.
Secondus stressed that the effect of bad elections in the nation’s polity has been far reaching, stagnating the political and economic development and permanently hoisting on the people unpopular and incompetent leaders.
He added that the tension and uncertainty in the country today is clearly a fallout of election mishap in February.
Secondus stated further that free, fair and credible election is exactly what PDP and indeed global democracy demand and expect from INEC.
Continuing, he said, “We operate in an atmosphere where we follow the model of US but we don’t follow the dictates.
“It is better to abandon the American model and adopt the Egyptian model where military will be part and parcel of elections”, he said.
In his response, the leader of the INEC delegation, Mr Musa Husunu, assured that the team will convey all the grievances of the PDP to INEC leadership.
Husumu however noted that they came to PDP as part of the ongoing verification exercise for the 91 political parties In Nigeria.
He said parties must show evidence of headquarters in Abuja, five copies of the constitution, list of NEC members, physical presence of all NWC members, Book of accounts, and then go round.