Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the eight-man committee set up by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to investigate alleged existence of underage voters, particularly in Kano and Katsina states.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said the INEC panel lacks credibility.
The opposition party stated that the eight-man panel consists of members of the electoral commission, and noted that the committee have been detailed to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion aimed at exonerating INEC from any blame in the registration of underaged voters.
Besides, the PDP said it was worrisome that the scope of the investigations of the INEC panel does not include Kastina State.
The party added that the electoral umpire must extend its inquest to Katsina, as well as other states where minors were registered to vote in the 2019.
“In rejecting the composition of the committee, the PDP also repudiates the scope of the inquest, particularly the exclusion of Katsina State from the probe, despite vast evidence of underage voters in that state.
“Nigerians have been wondering why INEC is afraid of looking at its register in Katsina state. Is it because Katsina is the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari and a probe is likely to expose cans of worms?
“Is INEC afraid that a sanitised register would lead to a massive drop in the voting population in the state and cripple APC’s rigging plan?
“Nigerians are also wondering why INEC has vehemently refused to include other stakeholders, including political parties, credible non governmental organisations and civil society organisations in this important assignment to guarantee its credibility.
“We hold that by excluding other stakeholders, INEC is definitely not sincere with the sanitisation of INEC voters’ register in Kano, Katsina and other states where, out of intimidation, it is allowing the registration of minors.
“INEC, under Prof. Yakubu is already manifesting weaknesses and bias, which further confirms why it should not be trusted in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
“Consequently, the PDP and all aligning stakeholders will not accept any findings or recommendations from INEC’s in-house committee, as such will not reflect the reality on the ground regarding the contaminated register.
“Prof. Yakubu must understand that his allegiance is to Nigeria and not the APC.
“INEC under him must not lose its credibility or be reduced to an annex of the APC…as such would be resisted.”