The Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday raised fresh allegations aiming at discrediting the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, over the conduct of the elections.
At a crowded press conference in Abuja, the Director of Media and Publicity of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, alleged that Jega had meetings with some unnamed leaders of the main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
But the commission said it was not in its character to join issues with political parties.
The Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the commission, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said this when contacted to react to the allegation.
Idowu said, “INEC doesn’t join issues with political parties, because the commission is a dispassionate umpire.”
However, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, dismissed the allegation as utter nonsense and irritable.
Speaking in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Wednesday, Mohammed said, “I’m in Abuja with some of our leaders. Baba Bisi Akande is here, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is here, former Governor Kayode Fayemi is here. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is in Lagos.
“No leader of the APC is outside the country. So, tell me who is Jega meeting? Is it members of our NEC? Not one of our leaders is outside the country. This people are paranoid. We are preparing for our NEC meeting. We have some of our governors here. The PDP is paranoid.”
But Fani-Kayode also alleged that the meeting was aimed at making sure that those who had yet to get the Permanent Voter Cards were denied the opportunity of receiving them.
The former Minister of Aviation put the number of those voters at 23 million.
Fani-Kayode added that the commission was scheming out voters in states and areas where he said supporters of the ruling party were.
Besides, he alleged that the PVCs were still at China and had yet to be imported to Nigeria.
He said, “Pieces of information at our disposal have shown that Jega has had meetings with the APC stalwarts in Dubai and other cities in the world to perfect this wanton conspiracy against 23 million eligible voters.
“Besides, we have information that the PVCs that Nigerians are scrambling for are not in Nigeria and will not arrive before the elections.
“These PVCs are still in China and Jega has strategically delayed their arrival to suit his electioneering permutations.”
Asked to provide proof about the alleged Dubai meeting, Fani-Kayode refused.
Fani-Kayode however said that Jega must also show Nigerians proof that the Chinese company printing the PVCs had been paid in full by disclosing the total contract sum and the amount paid to date.
He also demanded that Jega should show proof of arrival or expected date of arrival of all PVCs for the elections and that he should equally tell Nigerians how he could have distributed 23 million PVCs within five days to election if there hadn’t been postponement.
He said it was wrong for the commission to have claimed that the election was shifted due to insecurity, adding that the electoral body was not fully ready for the election.
“The matter is that INEC has failed in its responsibility to produce and distribute PVCs to about 34 per cent of registered voters who would require the cards to vote in the elections.
“This brings us to the issue of statistics of PVC distribution and collection which we believe Jega, as a person acting in concert with some forces of retrogression, is playing games with.
“We express our concerns today that Jega may have decided to aid the APC to rig the forthcoming elections through the manipulation of the production, distribution and collection of PVCs, such that emerging trends have consistently shown calculated attempts to deprive parts of the country that would traditionally vote for President Jonathan of their PVCs.”