The All Progressives Congress, APC, has said the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to summon INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega to a meeting that was not attended by other political parties in Abuja on Tuesday is part of ongoing moves to compromise the integrity of the electoral commission, which is expected to be fair and neutral.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said it is wrong for the President, who himself is a candidate in the forthcoming elections, to be summoning the electoral umpire at will, especially when such meetings are populated by his appointees.
”Without the representatives of other political parties attending such meetings, irrespective of whether or not it is aimed at briefing security chiefs on the preparations for the polls, the ruling PDP and its presidential candidate are seeking to gain undue advantage over others ahead of the elections.
”It is like the referee in a football match meeting with key officials of one of the teams ahead of the match. This is against the spirit of transparency and fairness and must stop forthwith.
”Had the representatives of other political parties apart from the PDP (the President is the leader of the PDP) attended the meeting, the widespread speculation that Jega’s life and job were threatened if he fails to drop the use of the card reader, as well as circulating reports that he will be removed before Saturday, would not have happened,” it said.
APC said whatever briefings must be given by the INEC chairman on the elections must have in attendance the representatives of all the political parties that will participate in the elections.
It also decried clandestine meetings between some key presidency and INEC officials with a view to rigging the elections, warning the presidency to steer clear of the electoral officials if indeed they are desirous of a free, fair, credible and peaceful elections.
Meanwhile, the party has said the Presidency and the PDP cannot and must not be allowed to profit from their sponsorship of ethnic militias, including MASSOB and OPC, to create chaos and violence before, during and after the elections.
It said the plot by the duo is to make the country so unsafe before the polls that members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), who are supposed to serve as electoral officials, will simply say they can no longer participate in the elections because they fear for their lives.
”This will simply truncate the elections and trigger a constitutional crisis, the exact scenario being plotted by the Jonathan Administration and the PDP to allow them to either perpetuate themselves in office or install an interim government,” APC said.
It said another booby trap on the path of holding the elections as rescheduled are the pending court cases against the use of the card reader by INEC.
”Nigerians should note that nothing is yet guaranteed as far as the holding of the rescheduled elections is concerned. The Jonathan Administration and the PDP are still shopping for a court judgement to declare the use of the card reader unconstitutional, just because they are now painfully aware that Nigerians have rejected them and their party
”We are therefore calling on all our compatriots to be more vigilant in the next few days to the elections. We are also alerting local and foreign observers, and the international community, to the ongoing shenanigans by the Jonathan Administration and the PDP to scuttle the polls,” APC said.