The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the composition of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) committee set up to investigate the existence of underage voters in some states.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had constituted the eight-man in-house committee following the alleged registration of underage persons in Kano and Katsina states.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan on Sunday, the PDP noted that the committee lacked credibility.
“The panel constituted by INEC lacks credibility as it comprises of members of the same indicted INEC,” the party said. “They have been detailed to arrive at predetermined findings and recommendations aimed at exonerating the Professor Yakubu-led commission and play down on the electoral implications of the existence of underage voters.”
The opposition party also took a swipe at the All Progressives Congress (APC) for its reaction to the allegation.
They also condemned the scope of the inquest, particularly the alleged exclusion of Katsina State from the probe.
“Nigerians have been wondering why INEC is afraid of looking at its register in Katsina State. Is it because Katsina is the home state of President Muhammadu Buhari and a probe is likely to expose cans of worms? Is INEC afraid that a sanitised register would lead to a massive drop in the voting population in the state?” PDP questioned.
“Nigerians are also wondering why INEC has vehemently refused to include other stakeholders, including political parties, credible NGOs and Civil Society Organisations in this important assignment to guarantee its credibility.
“We hold that by excluding other stakeholders, INEC is definitely not sincere with the sanitisation of INEC voters’ register in Kano, Katsina and other states where, out of intimidation, it is allowing the registration of minors,” the party alleged.
It further accused the electoral body of manifesting weaknesses and bias, doubting its credibility in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
The PDP, however, noted that it would not accept any findings or recommendations from the committee, claiming that such would not reflect the reality on the ground.
It also maintained that INEC must be bold enough to extend the inquest to Katsina State as well as other states where minors were allegedly registered.
The opposition noted that failure of the commission to do so would amount to caving into pressure ahead of the forthcoming general elections.
It further asked the INEC chairman to immediately disbanding the committee and set up a panel made up of political parties, credible NGOs and CSOs, as well as extend the inquest to Katsina and other states.
“Professor Yakubu must understand that his allegiance is to Nigeria and not the APC. INEC under him must not lose its credibility or be reduced to an annex of the APC.
“Indeed, Nigerians would not accept anything short of credible, free and fair general elections in 2019,” the party added.