The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has described the allegations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that it plans to rig the 2019 election as an unnecessary distraction.
Backstory: The PDP had, in a statement released on Monday, insisted that INEC’s leadership was under pressure to rig the 2019 general elections for President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, claimed that INEC chairman, Yakubu Mahmood, has been penciled down for the “Onnoghen treatment.” Adding that INEC has allegedly been taking directives from the Buhari Presidency and the APC on how to manipulate the electoral process at various levels.
INEC’s response: The Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that with less than two weeks to the general elections, the commission could not afford to be distracted by baseless allegations.
Oyekanmi stated that the Commission was not a political party and would thus not allow itself to be dragged into unnecessary controversies at a time like this.
“The INEC has been conducting general elections since the past 20 years. During this time, especially since 2010 and particularly from 2015, the commission has introduced many innovations to improve the electoral system. One of such innovations is to ensure that no member of any political party is engaged to participate in the conduct of elections,” Oyekanmi said.
He added that: “I, therefore, call on any political party or individuals with information on how the Commission plans to or has engaged members of any political party as ad-hoc staff for the upcoming general elections to make such information public and mention specific names.
“It is not enough to make wild allegations. It is incumbent upon those who make such allegations to also provide the proof,” Oyekanmi added.
He assured Nigerians that INEC would conduct free, fair and credible general elections, and for which it needed the support of all Nigerians.