The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has refuted allegations made against it by Nigeria’s ruling party, PDP, and asked the party to prove them.
The PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation, PDPPCO, had alleged that the commission was deliberately preventing valid voters in certain sections of the country from getting their Permanent Voter Cards.
The campaign organisation’s spokesperson, Femi Fani-Kayode, said at a press conference in Abuja on Wednesday that the PVCS were yet to be imported to Nigeria, and were still in China where they were produced.
Mr. Fani-Kayode added that INEC was deliberately distributing the PVCs in such manner as to disenfranchise many voters from North Central, South-East, South-South and South-West geo-political zones. He claimed those voters were supporters of the PDP candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan.
In his reaction, Kayode Idowu, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, told PREMIUM TIMES that the onus was on PDP campaign to validate its claims.
“It is they that should produce proof that we have not produced the cards, because INEC has produced those cards and put them in the public domain. Anybody who says it is not like that should produce proof,” Mr. Idowu said.
While speaking on the millions of registered voters who were yet to collect their PVCs, Mr. Idowu said, “We have extended the collection deadline and people need to make use of that opportunity to come out.”
“INEC cannot drag people out of their houses to collect their PVCs. It is for INEC and the media to continue to sound it in the ears of people that they need to make judicious use of this time; otherwise, anyone who does not collect his card will disenfranchise himself,” he added.
The electoral commission had said on Friday that over 70 per cent of the voters’ cards had been distributed.
The distribution of the cards was a reason the PDP and some parties and groups called for the postponement of the elections, initially scheduled for February 14 and 28.
Although the elections were eventually postponed to March 28 and April 11, that was mainly due to the statement by security agencies that they needed six weeks to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency before the elections are held.