Underaged Voters: PDP Rejects INECs Investigative Committee

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday rejected the eight-member committee set up by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to investigate the existence of underaged voters in its register. The Commission had set up the committee after the uproar that followed footage of underaged voters participating in the recently-concluded Kano state local council elections. The committee is only mandated to investigate the “allegation of underaged voters who voted using the commission’s register" according to the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

The PDP in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the committee is already biased and lacks credibility as it is comprised officials of INEC, which already is accused of complicity in the issue. The party said this only points to the fact that predetermined findings which “would exonerate the Yakubu-led commission and play down on the electoral implications of the existence of underage voters” would be arrived at. It questioned the exemption of Katsina state from the probe, which coupled with the support the Commission received from the APC, add credence to the belief that the electoral body is compromised.

"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 and cripple APC’s rigging plan?“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 said. The statement added that, “INEC under Prof. Yakubu is already manifesting weaknesses and bias, which further confirms why it should not be trusted in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.“Consequently, the PDP and all aligning stakeholders will not accept any findings or recommendations from INEC’s in-house committee, as such will not reflect the reality on the ground regarding the contaminated register.

"Furthermore, we insist that INEC must be bold enough to extend the inquest to Katsina state as well as other states where minors were registered unless it wants the world to believe that it had already caved into pressure ahead of the 2019 general elections. At any rate, who enjoys the company of fleas like one with an open sore.“Prof. 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 and it’s failed Presidency, as such would be resisted.“Indeed, Nigerians would not accept anything short of a credible, free and fair general elections in 2019 and any attempt by anyone to pander towards the rejected APC with a view to subvert the determined will of the people will have himself to blame.”

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