Underage voters: PDP seeks review of voters register

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…Faults plan by INEC to engage EFCC to monitor campaign funds

Following the reported cases of underage voting in the recently concluded local government election in Kano state, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called for the immediate review of voters register particularly in Kano and Katsina states to weed out minors in the register.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan who made this call in a press conference in Abuja yesterday recalled that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had been indicted for registering and issuing permanent voters card (PVCs) to millions of underage persons, particularly in Kano and Katsina states respectively.

Ologbondiyan further recalled that it took a press statement from the PDP and concerted outcry by Nigerians before the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led commission reluctantly accepted responsibility for this illegality even as he informed that INEC had refused to take decisive steps to restore the sanctity of its register, particularly in Kano and Katsina states, but had rather made a puerile explanation of plans to investigate the allegation.

“As we speak, the credibility of our electoral process under the current INEC is hugely in doubt. The nation was last Wednesday terrified by the commission’s Director of Publicity and Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, who announced that INEC registered minors because its agents were threatened by members of the communities in those states.

“By this alarming and unpatriotic statement, INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has completely discredited and disqualified itself and cannot be trusted to conduct a credible, free and fair general elections in 2019.

“The import of this statement is that INEC under Prof. Yakubu is not firm in its acts and will consequently cave in and accept any form of irregularities once it is put under pressure by members of a voting community. It goes to say that this INEC can readily announce false results, cancel elections, alter polling procedures and allow any irregularities during the 2019 general elections once it is threatened by the All Progressives Congress (APC) or any other group for that matter.

“If INEC is afraid of a voting community so much so that after registering minors, it still went ahead to process their data and issue them with valid voters card, then there is no way it can withstand the pressure and threat that we all know will be exerted by desperate APC forces, whose electoral strength, particularly in Kano and Katsina states, is now exposed to be based on underage voters.

“Consequently, the PDP demands an immediate review of voters register, particularly in Kano and Katsina; we demand a revalidating the voters register to eliminate all the minors and insist that no election must hold in these states until the register is sanitized”, he said.

To achieve this, the PDP spokesman demanded that the revalidation/sanitization of voters register by INEC must be carried out under the supervision of all political parties, credible associations, reputable NGOs as well as the international community.

He however described the plan by INEC to ask EFCC to help it monitor campaign funds as “clearly an illegal and Machiavellian way of suppressing opposition’s financial contribution and spending”.

“It is a plot to detain, defame, intimidate and illegally block bank accounts of opposition members under the pretext that they have been mandated by INEC to monitor campaign funds.

He continued,” It is trite law that ‘delegatus non potest delegare’. INEC and only INEC has the statutory duty to monitor campaign funds. The commission cannot delegate this function to any other government agency.

“Nigerians have completely lost confidence in INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and we urge him to take the path of honour and do the needful before it becomes too late”.

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