By Henry Umoru
FORMER acting National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party PDP, Prince Uche Secondus yesterday lampooned the 2019 Election time table released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, saying that the Commission had already begun the rigging process for the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
Prince Secondus who was reacting to Thursday’s release of timetable for the 2019 general election said in a statement he personally signed and released in Abuja yesterday that Nigerians need no further proof to establish that the Electoral body has been designed to do the ruling APC bidding all the way.
According to Secondus, the present INEC as composed, does not have the wherewithal to conduct what he described as unbiased election, just as he called for an immediate dissolution of Professor Mahmood Yakubu led INEC and reconstitute a new one with men and women of integrity as a measure to save the present democracy, adding that the APC is desperate.
Secondus said that INEC in its determination to carry out an APC designed agenda rolled out the timetable without carrying out the necessary due diligent that includes adequate consultations with critical stakeholders like the political parties and civil society groups whose input is always sought and accommodated before the final decisions are taken.
INEC had on Thursday through the National Commissioner in charge of the South West, Prince Solomon Soyebi, released a timetable where it fixed Saturday, February 16, 2019 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections and the Governorship/State Assembly/Federal Capital Territory Area Council Elections to hold Saturday, March 2, 2019.
Speaking further, Secondus who noted that the commission has shown enormous arrogance and lack of democratic principles in its affairs in rushing to release the timetable for the election that is 24 months away when it has many urgent and unfinished matters before it, said, “It is curious that an electoral commission that is yet to be properly constituted and has before it many unfinished matters including voter education and enlightenment, had to rush out date for 2019 general election in full disregard of rule guiding it.
“As we speak, Anambra state gubernatorial election is due later this year and the state has no Resident Electoral Commissioner REC to carry out all the needful as enshrined in the constitution before the election
“Since last year, Nigerian Senate had raised alarm over the implication of non constitution of INEC but while the National Commissioners are filled, over 30 seats of Resident Electoral Commissioners remain vacant.”
Secondus said that statutorily the President has the responsibility to appoint the RECs subject to the confirmation of the Senate in line with Section 153 of the 1999 constitution as amended, Part 1 of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, which established INEC; and Section 14(1) and (2) of the Third Schedule, which established the office of the National Chairman of INEC, the 12 National Commissioners as well as the RECs.
He said, “Is it not curious therefore that INEC that is rushing to release 2019 timetable operates currently without RECs in the following states, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Edo, Enugu, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Imo, Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Plateau, Nasarawa, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara.
Secondus who described as worrisome the character exhibited by the electoral body since Prof Mahmood Yakubu took over the leadership of the commission and doubt his ability to conduct free fair and credible poll, said, “From Kogi, to Bayelsa, Imo to Edo and Rivers states this commission under the watch of the current Chairman has failed to establish itself and engender the people’s confidence that it would be able to conduct unbiased election.
“If it is not inconclusive election, hacked website, it’s result falsification and result padding in connivance with the ruling APC”
The former Acting National Chairman of PDP who charged Nigerians especially critical stakeholders in the nation’s democracy project to view the rush by INEC to release 2019 as an action pregnant with agenda set out to Favour the ruling APC.