The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission is now under the firm control of the All Progressives Congress.
It cited the piecemeal release of results of the March 19 rerun election in Rivers State by the commission, which it alleged was done to satisfy the ruling party, as an example.
The Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, made this allegation in an interview with reporters in Abuja on Wednesday.
He alleged that the electoral body was taking instructions from the ruling party on what to do with the outcome of the Rivers rerun which he claimed his party won convincingly.
Before the suspension of announcement of the results, the commission had released the results in nine state constituencies and one federal constituency.
But in the results made available on Tuesday in Port Harcourt and signed by the State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak, the PDP maintained its lead by winning three federal constituencies while it shared two state constituency seats with its main rival, the APC.
Secondus, who also appraised the conduct of elections by INEC since the assumption of office by the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, expressed concern that all the elections conducted by the electoral body since then were inconclusive.
He cited the Kogi, Bayelsa and the recent Rivers states’ rerun elections as examples.
Secondus said, “Now in Rivers, because the PDP won all the elections despite the intimidation by the military, the results are being released piecemeal because the APC has failed woefully in all the constituencies.
“It is apparent that the commission has become a department in the APC. The commission is being controlled by the APC. The commission has lost its independence and we have empirical evidence on this.”
Secondus further alleged that the commission had yet to fix a date for fresh election in the state in the areas that were cancelled because it “was waiting for instruction from the APC.”
He said, “They haven’t fixed a date for rerun because of the APC. INEC is now being supervised by the leadership of the APC and the Buhari administration.
“They are no longer independent and we are losing confidence in INEC. In the Federal Capital Territory, election date was announced but suddenly, because they knew the APC was going to lose, they postponed the election after we had spent money and time.
“All these show that INEC is now a parastatal of the APC. The danger is that this current leadership that will conduct the general elections in 2019 has been compromised.
“The forthcoming Edo and Ondo states’ governorship elections are in danger. With what happened in Rivers, Nigeria is in danger.
“There may be no election in 2019 with the way INEC is conducting itself as a parastatal of the APC.”
The commission has however dismissed the PDP allegation, saying it would not be forced to announce result of inconclusive elections.
The Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity at the commission, Mr. Nick Dazang, who spoke with our correspondent, also denied the allegation that the electoral body was being controlled by the APC.
He said elections were stopped in Rivers because of many reasons.
He said, “As of the time of the suspension of further action by the commission, the exercise was at different stages.
“For example, the elections had been concluded in some constituencies with the declaration of results and return of winners by the respective Returning Officers; results declared and/or returns made under duress or by unauthorised persons; collation had been concluded but no declaration or return made; voting had been concluded and collation was ongoing but yet to be concluded; voting concluded but collation yet to commence; and /or no voting at all or voting commenced but was disrupted before conclusion.”
He said these were the reasons why the election was stopped. Dazang called on the PDP, which he described as a formidable opposition, to stop peddling unfounded rumour.