THE Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Monday, charged the Independent National Electoral Commission, to assert its independence by ensuring that the full weight of the law is brought to bear on parties that have introduced the illegal “place holder“ candidate into the nation’s political lexicon.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, said this in a telephone interview with the VANGUARD, in Abuja.
He explained that actual voting on Election Day was a culmination of a process which begins with the announcement of a time table / timelines for activities by INEC to the nomination of candidates by parties and all other activities in between.
The PDP spokesperson however expressed sadness that the ruling All Progressives Congress has been allowed to force INEC into bending over backwards to accommodate its growing acts of impunity with a lack of respect for INEC time-lines for scheduled activities.
This, he said, should not be allowed to continue because the nation’s electoral process must be allowed to grow .
He said, “Place holders is a new lexicon introduced into our electoral process by the APC. I recall that when the issue came up on Saturday, my friend and brother, Felix Mouka, the APC National Publicity Secretary said that nobody can stampede the party into naming a candidate. I said the impunity which the party and this regime is irresponsible. If INEC has come up with its guidelines and timetable based on the rule of law, the APC believes it can truncate it without repacautions.
“The greatest challenge we have in this country is that institutions are abused by people who claim to be in authority who ought to be the custodians of these laws.
“These people go in at will to violate that process because the APC is a lawless party, this should not be allowed in the interest of our democracy.
“The INEC set its schedule of activities in order to plan as provided for in the Electoral Act as passed by the National Assembly so that it can have sufficient time to set things right.
“Elections is about processes but because the APC cannot operate when there is an orderly process, they go all out to distrupt the process.
“They started by forcing the process of party primaries to be chocked up. We must have a system in place where any party that does not obey the processes set up by INEC must be sanctioned.
Speaking on the issue of the extension of the voter registration period, Ologunagba said although he was yet to study the court judgement,
“The PDP as a law abiding party will support any lawful act that will provide an opportunity for more Nigerians to participate in the electoral process. Democracy is about popular participation.”