In the aftermath of the Ekiti State governorship election on July 14, National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, has said the party is considering whether it will participate in the 2019 general election or not as it has lost faith in the Independent Election Commission (INEC) and security agencies.
Secondus said he does not know whether they would be unbiased in the contest.
He stated this, yesterday, when he addressed a joint delegation of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) at the PDP national secretariat, in Abuja.
The PDP had protested the declaration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate in the governorship poll, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as winner, alleging that its candidate, Prof. Kolapo Olusola Eleka was robbed of victory.
The PDP chairman said the outcome of the July 14 Ekiti governorship election has eroded the opposition party’s confidence in INEC.
“Ekiti election is strategic to the general election in 2019 and, from what happened, we are consulting with our people, to see whether we would participate in the election or not.”
“The election in Ekiti was so important to the nation because that was to be a test case; to know if 2019 elections would hold well. They did what they did, INEC and the security agents and we have rejected the result of the election.”
Secondus claimed that his party’s agents were beaten up and sent away from polling units by security operatives, “to pave way for agents of the ruling party to operate as they wished. He disclosed that the party has protested to the National Assembly and INEC immediately they discovered that electoral officials and security operatives sent to Ekiti for the election were compromised.
“Our opinion is that INEC and security agents are directly involved in this manipulation. As a matter of fact, we did not contest against the APC, we contested against security agencies and INEC.”
The PDP leader further said that the opposition party had, prior to the Ekiti election, charged the electoral body to make sure that the poll was free, fair and transparent in line with country’s constitution.
He, however, said from their experience in Ekiti, “it is obvious that some INEC staff have already been compromised.
“Moving forward, if nothing is done to stamp out and restore the confidence of ordinary Nigerians and other political parties, then, it may be difficult to accept the result of the 2019 general election, no matter what the outcome may be; unless it is transparent, free and fair.
“For us, as an opposition party, we have lost confidence in INEC and the security agencies.
“We believe that if we are not sure that both INEC and security agencies will be transparent and that they will not take side, we are consulting as to whether we shall participate or not because you are participating against security agencies and INEC, who have colluded to alter the figures even after you have voted. So, we are in dilemma.”
Speaking earlier, leader of the NDI/IRI delegation, Dr. Pauline Beckamp, expressed delight for the opportunity to meet with the PDP leadership, and noted that “we are here to hear from you the challenges and opportunities on the upcoming election and, most importantly, what challenges you encountered so that we can discuss with INEC.”