The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has rejected any plan by the Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) to use incident forms in the February 16 presidential election.
In a statement issued by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, the former vice president said the use of incident forms in the conduct of the election would be an attempt to toe the line of President Muhammadu Buhari, who had refused to sign the amended Electoral Act, three times.
Atiku noted that data from the 2015 elections show that 75 per cent of the almost 14 million people who voted without biometric accreditation in 2015, were linked to President Buhari.
“There are no reliable and accurate means of knowing who those voters were and whether they were genuine voters or sham voters.
“This disproportionate number of voters who voted without biometric accreditation in 2015 affected the integrity of those elections and we hold the INEC to its oft-repeated promise not to use anything but the smart card readers and PVCs for the 2019 elections,” he demanded.
Atiku alleged that the Muhammadu Buhari administration has been desperate to avoid the use of smart card readers and permanent voters cards (PVCs) for the 2019 elections, adding that INEC’s reported volte face could “only raise concerns about the voice of Jacob and the hand of Esau.”
He charged the commission’s Chairman and board, to place national interests above narrow oligarchic interest.
“We further remind the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu of his promise to Nigerians at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room National Stakeholders’ Forum on Elections which held in Abuja on December 10, 2018, where he said as follows:
‘The commission assures Nigerians that the smart card reader has become an integral part of the electoral process and will be deployed for the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
‘The commission has taken onboard the challenges and glitches faced in the use and deployment of smart card readers in 2015 and has made significant improvements and upgrade to the said smart card readers,’” Atiku said, and wondered what has changed since then.
The former vice president noted that ₦143 billion INEC budget was more than enough funds for the INEC to acquire and distribute smart card readers.
“The job of the INEC is to give Nigerians a level playing field and an election that reflects the will of the people and not that of their oppressors. These reports do not incite hope. Not at all.
“We once again want to sound the alarm that only the strict use of smart card readers and PVCs can guarantee free, fair and credible elections that will be accepted by Nigerians and the international community,” Atiku emphasised.