Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP publicity secretary

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of succumbing to the blackmail of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig this month’s presidential election.

PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, at a press conference yesterday, said the presidency has threatened to give the INEC Chair-man, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Justice Walter Onneghen’s treatment if he refused to rig the election in favour of the APC.

But Rotimi Oyekanmi, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, noted that for the past 20 years, the commission had ensured that no member of any political party was engaged to participate in the conduct of elections.

“I therefore call on any political party or individuals with information on how the commission plans to or has engaged members of any political party as ad-hoc staff for the upcoming general elections to make such information public and mention specific names.

“It is not enough to make wild allegations. It is incumbent on those who make such allegations to also provide the proof,” he challenged them.

Oyekanmi added that INEC would not allow itself to be dragged into unnecessary controversies by political parties,and assured Nigerians of the commission’s commitment to conducting free, fair and credible 2019 general elections.

PDP had alleged that INEC has collected a list of people that would serve as electoral officials, including ad-hoc staff and returning officers at the polling units, from APC state governors and candidates, across the country, on the directives of the Buhari presidency.

“The PDP is already privy to how the lists were populated with APC members and agents of the APC candidates, after clearance by the APC leaders in various states,” Ologbondiyan said.

He accused INEC of violating section 29 (1) of the Electoral Act (as amended), which states that person to be appointed as electoral official shall not be a member of any political party.

To this end, he called on the commission to publish the list of ad hoc staff who will serve during the elections within the next 48 hours.

“Any delay or refusal by INEC to publish the list of ad hoc staff with 48 hours will be a clear acceptance that it has been compromised by the APC and this could lead to a very serious crisis with very dire consequences as the PDP will never allow anybody to rig it out in this election.”

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