OPPOSITION Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), yesterday said it would boycott the Kebbi State governorship re-run election slated for tomorrow.
It accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of colluding with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), especially in ensuring that the PDP retains its seats in all the states and constituencies where they lost at election petition tribunals.
Addressing journalists yesterday at the party’s secretariat in Abuja, CPC secretary, Buba Galadima, also accused INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega of disregarding CPC’s request for more time to pick its gubernatorial candidate for the Kebbi governorship election rerun, following the surprise withdrawal from the race and eventual defection of its candidate, Abubakar Mallam to the PDP.
“It is very clear that INEC was better under Prof. Maurice Iwu than what it is now under Attahiru Jega. In Iwu, you know where he is going to, but in Jega, you can see a chameleon. He is very deceitful; he is always working hand in gloves with the PDP,” Galadima said.
Corroborating Galadima’s views, the Deputy National Chairman of the party, Saliu Mustapha revealed that the party decided to boycott the Kebbi re-run election following INEC’s refusal to grant it time to find a replacement for its former candidate, adding that it has also instituted a legal action in Abuja to challenge the election, which it noted section 35 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) has provided to facilitate smooth withdrawal of a candidate.
“INEC has perfected its plans to ensure that the sacked governor of Kebbi State is returned unopposed in its planned weekend election by turning down our constitutional request for more time to replace our candidate who the PDP has forced to abandon his mandate after we fought at the Supreme Court to actualise it,” Mustapha said.
Meanwhile, an election observation group, Project Swift Count (PSC) is to deploy 627 observers for the re-run election.
It called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to publish and display the voter’s register in the voting centres to enable voters identify where they would vote rather than searching endlessly for their names and centres.
Briefing journalists yesterday in Abuja, the first Co-Chair of Project Swift Count, Dafe Akpedeye (SAN), urged INEC to conduct the election in line with its own guidelines to forestall complaints of bias, simultaneous accreditation and voting as well as personal initiative such as extension of time, which is contrary to the guidelines.
He appealed to the commission to ensure that electoral officials and materials are deployed early enough to the polling units so that the accreditation and voting process could begin as scheduled.
On his part, the second Co-Chair of PSC, Mashood Erubami identified among others, failure of elected leaders to offer credible leadership to the people as well as the inability of political parties to play by the rules, as some of the reasons for the current voter apathy.