The Peoples Democratic Party has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of being responsible for the registration of underaged voters in Kano State.
Pictures and videos of the voters recently went viral on social media shortly after the conduct of local government election in the state on Saturday.
Because of the alleged registration of underaged voters, the PDP says Nigerians have lost confidence in INEC.
It added that the Comission cannot, therefore, be trusted with the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The former ruling party alleged that the documented “massive underage voting that characterised the exercise” was an indication that the Commission was “part of the exercise.”
The party said it was INEC that registered the minors as voters in the first place and as such, should not, in any way, attempt to exonerate itself of involvement in the electoral fraud, simply because it did not directly conduct the elections.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said the press release by INEC, wherein it tried to exonerate itself from culpability in the participation of minors in the Kano election, clearly showed that INEC, under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, would completely be unreliable and cannot be trusted.
The statement said, “We ask: Who is fooling whom? Is it not INEC that registered the minors and issued them with Permanent Voters’ Cards to participate in elections as clearly documented in the Kano council election?
“Can INEC truly absolve itself as the original culprit who set the stage for the eventual participation of the minors and overall rigging of the elections?
“By resorting to lame excuses and trying to exonerate itself at a time it should be taking decisive steps to protect the sanctity of its sensitive materials such as the PVC, this INEC has shown that it cannot be relied upon as a responsible and trustworthy electoral umpire.
“Indeed, if this INEC was serious about the sanctity of sensitive electoral materials, by now, it should have ordered the immediate review of its voter register in Kano and Katsina states, fishing out and prosecuting those who registered the minors and clean up the electoral system in the affected states.
“Viewed alongside a series of numerous other irregularities being allowed by INEC to favour the ruling APC, including alleged conspiracy with APC-controlled security operatives to intimidate opposition members and manipulate elections as witnessed in the last Saturday’s Mashi/Dutsi Federal Constituency Supplementary election in Katsina State, any reasonable person will decode that INEC, as presently constituted, has serious questions to answer, especially as we approach the 2019 general elections.”
Ologbondiyan added that while the party would now hold the statement by INEC as part of its strong evidence of irregularities and violations in the elections, he charged the Commission to redeem its name by immediately reviewing and sanitising its voter registers in affected states, particularly, Kano and Katsina, adding that, that was the only way it could demonstrate its dependability to Nigerians.
He warned that Nigerians would not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general election in 2019.
“The commission should therefore ensure that it does not allow itself to be used by the APC against the will of the people, particularly in the 2019 elections, as such will be highly resisted,” he added.