The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has argued that the confession by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that its card readers were being circumvented confirmed its position that the November 16 elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states were manipulated.
The party said the governorship polls in the two states as well as the Kogi West Senatorial election, “were all manipulated and therefore fraudulent”.
INEC National Commissioner in-charge of Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye Esq, was reported to have at a program organised by the Situation Room on Wednesday, said that Smart Card Readers were no longer useful in the electoral process.
But INEC in a statement on Thursday, claimed that Okoye was misinterpreted. The commission said its national commissioner spoke in the context of attempts by some political interests to willfully by-pass the Smart Card Reader during elections to inflate their votes.
However, the PDP, also in a statement on Thursday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the confession by two INEC commissioners; Okoye and Haruna Mohammed, that the card readers were circumvented in elections conducted by the commission did not come to it as a surprise.
“The PDP had always held that no matter how much falsehood appears to thrive, the truth will always catch up with it.
“The confession by the commission vindicates the position of the PDP and majority of Nigerians that there were manipulations, alterations and circumventing of genuine data captured by the card readers and that actual results transmitted from polling units were tampered with.
“The admission also brings to light why INEC had no convincing defence at the tribunal in the face of overwhelming discrepancies in the figures it declared in the presidential poll,” the party said.
It added that the alleged confession by INEC had not only vindicated the party, but had placed a huge burden on the chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
“It is indeed unfortunate that INEC can suddenly claim that it has just realized that the card readers have lost steam in our electoral process after they have been used to manipulate voting processes.
“Prof. Yakubu is now faced with the burden of how our electoral system has been corrupted by the manipulations in his INEC, all in the bid to serve group, rather than national interest.
“The INEC chairman should accept his failures and vacate office without further delay. This is because there is no way Nigerians can continue to repose confidence in the commission under his watch.
“Of course, not under an electoral commission that condones the invasion of polling units, suppression of voters and stuffing of snatched ballot boxes; an INEC that cancels results in places where election held peacefully while announcing fabricated results allocated to its favored political party as valid votes,” the PDP said.