THE Peoples Democratic Party has on Thursday said that it would reject any election conducted by the Acting Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Mrs. Amina Zakari.
Despite them rejecting any election conducted by Zakari, this only would be limited to elections in which the party did not win. “It will be very difficult to accept any result of the election conducted by Amina Zakari. It will be difficult for the PDP to accept result of election if we lose under Zakari,” the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metuh, said.
This is even as the party told the international community to caution President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress over what the opposition PDP described as “draconian and authoritarian rule by the present government.”
Oliseh Metuh spoke when he paid a visit to the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute in Abuja.A PUNCH correspondent learnt that the visit by Metuh was not unconnected to the planned visit of Buhari to the United States of America on Sunday.
Speaking during the visits, Metuh alleged that the INEC acting chairman was a ‘daughter’ to Buhari; hence she would not be fair in the discharge of her responsibilities as the nation’s electoral umpire. Zakari was appointed into the INEC five years ago as a national commissioner by former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Jonathan, who was the presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2015 elections, was defeated by President Buhari of the APC. Metuh said, “We have INEC and the idea is that people heading it should be above board, but the present ruling party has appointed the ‘daughter’ of the President to head the position. “There is nowhere in the world where such has happened, a person who has a relationship with the President. “I am drawing the attention of the IRI to this. Buhari has appointed his ‘daughter’ as INEC chairman; we believe there will not be fairness.” But the APC, in its reaction to the PDP position, said under Nigeria’s laws, elections could not be invalidated “just because one of the political parties has refused to recognise the law.” The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, told our correspondent on the telephone that his party would only wish the PDP well in its adventure. He said, “Under our law, elections are not invalidated just because one of the 29 political parties has refused to recognise a commission properly constituted by the law. “If the PDP says it won’t recognise the head of the commission, who was even appointed into the commission by the PDP government, we can only wish it well.” The PDP spokesman also decried Buhari’s style of leadership, alleging that the President had been sidelining PDP governors in running the affairs of the country. He said that under Jonathan, governors from the opposition parties always accompanied the former President on foreign trips. He alleged that Buhari had been working hard to silence the opposition by “harassing, muscling and intimidating them.” He cited the issue of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, adding that the Presidency had been using the security apparatus to intimidate the deputy senate president. He said, “I want to alert the international community on issues that, if they are not handled very well, may truncate our democracy. We have witnessed a remarkable change in the past few days. “We encourage freedom and in just two months in power, we have witnessed organised witch-hunt by the leadership of the APC in trying to muscle our people.” Responding, the NDI Resident Country Director, Jasper Veen, noted that anywhere in the world, the most important area to tackle was the political party itself. He noted that the way Nigerian political parties recruit people for key positions was a reflection of the political system. He drummed up support for internal democracy, consoling the PDP that to be in the opposition was not easy. The Resident Programme Officer of the IRI, Sentell Barnes, on the other hand promised the PDP to take up the information shared by Metuh. He said that there was strong commitment between the US government and Nigeria, insisting that the US would ensure that democratic tenets reigned in Nigeria.