The ruling party is putting the Election Management Body on the defensivec through one of its offshoot groups. The PDP Integrity Vanguard is one of the numerous offshoots of the Peoples Democratic Party. Its own agenda, however, has been to advocate that the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC must do the right thing and conduct for Nigeria, free, fair and credible elections.
The body has the pioneer National Publicity Secretary, a delegate to the 2014 National Conference, Senator Aniete Okon as its National Co-ordinator, with another delegate , Chief Sergeant Awuse, and others as members.
The body has in recent weeks through the print and electronic media been drawing attention to some observed anomalies and proposed plans by the Professor Attahiru Jega led INEC.
When the election management body planned to create 30,000 polling units, allegedly disproportionately allotted to the North, the group was vociferous in denouncing the move and helped to abort the plan. Having achieved that, the PDP Integrity Vanguard did not rest on its oars, it continued with the fight, this time, it was about plans by Jega to introduce the Incident Form and Special Voting points.
According to Okon and Sergeant Awuse, the “Incident Form” by INEC will allow persons who might not be able to vote due to some technical faults from the card readers machine, just as they said that the new method portends grave danger and would cause confusion in the country and described as unacceptable the introduction of “voting points” and Incidence forms.
The group while noting that Jega was introducing these through the backdoor having jettisoned the planned creation of 30,000 polling units, said, “The introduction by INEC of so-called “voting points” as INEC’s action is obviously intended to surreptitiously circumvent National Assembly’s express position on the matter.”
We believe it is the clandestine way Prof. Jega hopes to achieve his original intention of using them to generate the tie-breaking bank of votes and must not be allowed. Why has Jega now re-introduced these polling units through the backdoor by creating what he now calls “voting points.” Where are these special voting points located and why is Jaga keeping the matter under the table?
The group was also in the forefront in pressing Jega on the distribution of the Permanent Voters Card, PVCs and was quick to fault the chairman’s excuse that the postponement of the election from February 14 was because of security challenges in the Northeast. In the view of the group, Jega was not prepared.
Senator Okon and his group have also expressed concerns about the planned use of cards reader stressing doubts about its application and success against the backdrop that INEC had not experimented with it anywhere in the country.
To achieve its aim, the group also recently called on the National Assembly to carry out a three- day forensic investigation into all the departments of INEC before the very eyes of the media and members of the Civil Society Organisations, CSOs for the purpose of unearthing what it claims were surreptitious moves by some to use modern technology being adopted by the commission to rig the elections.
Senator Okon’s vehemence against INEC, the card reader and other devices is indeed applauded among his group, but certainly not in all strata of society.