With a plan to collate results of tomorrow’s presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday set the stage for a dispute – according to the Federal Government.
The opposition party said it had put in place a Parallel Voting Tabulation (PVT) system to collate results. It is deploying 40 million of its members for the job.
But the All Progressives Congress (APC) said it was all a plot to rig the election.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the only authority for the collation and announcement of results.
The PDP’s campaign spokesman and chairman of its Strategy Committee, Osita Chidoka, told a news conference in Abuja described PVT as a “scientifically proven and a best-practice technique” designed to keep umpires on their toes.
Chidoka, specifically said the PDP would be transmitting the results as certified by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) officers at the polling units.
“The PDP has pivoted from recruiting first-time polling agents to recruiting high quality, educated individuals, whose maturity and experience will help them manage and mitigate against challenges on election day,” Chidoka said.
Reacting, Information, Culture & Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed said the PDP was planning to create chaos by creating a parallel electoral umpire.
The PDP’s plan is a flashback to the June 14, last year governorship election in Ekiti State. Former Governor Ayodele Fayose was announcing results from the Government House on the state-owned television and radio stations. He claimed to be relying on results collated by PDP agents from the polling units.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) shut down the stations and penalised them. They were re-opened after paying fines.
The Minister said the opposition resorted to the tactic, having realised that it could not win free, fair and peaceful elections. He spoke in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, after an interactive session with retirees and pensioners.
Mohammed added that the alarm “is in line with the warning we have been issuing all along, that the PDP, jittery at the fate that is about to befall it and desperate to grab power at all costs, will seek to scuttle the elections, failing which it will work to discredit the results”.
The latest manifestation of this desperation was revealed at a news conference by the PDP on Wednesday, during which the party said it would set up a parallel electoral body, under the tag of Parallel Voting Tabulation (PVT) system.
“The PDP said clearly that PVT is a tool that will determine whether or not it accepts the results of the elections. Now, this is anarchy.
“Yes, it is standard practice for political parties to have their own monitoring systems during elections. What is not standard is to set up a pseudo electoral commission and imbue it with the power to collate and announce results. That’s precisely what the PDP is doing under the guise of PVT. And this is totally unacceptable.
“Whereas the PDP’s presidential candidate says his ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerian, his party has been doing everything possible to instigate anarchy and in turn put the lives of Nigerians in danger.
“The PDP has been building up to this crescendo all along. The party has consistently attacked the two institutions that are pivotal to the elections: the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police. The strategy is aimed at eroding the credibility of the two key institutions as a prelude to discrediting the elections. We warned about this, and we have now been vindicated.
“At this stage, we believe that INEC is the only body that has the statutory role of collating and announcing the results of national elections. Any attempt by any individual or organisation to usurp this role is a recipe for chaos.
“We are, therefore, using this occasion to warn the PDP that there will be dire consequences, should it proceed with its plan to usurp the role of INEC. We call on the security agencies to ensure the sanctity of the polls by providing a safe and secure environment for Nigerians to cast their votes.
“We also appeal to Nigerians to feel free to exercise their franchise without fear. We also wish to alert the international community to the evil plans by the PDP, which has been threatening fire and brimstone, if its candidate fails to win on Saturday. We want to remind all Nigerians that the country’s unity and survival are more important than the ambition of any candidate.”
Also yesterday, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) said that the PVT system could undermine tomorrow’s election.
Besides, the move is a ploy to rig the election, create a credibility crisis and ultimately spark chaos after the poll, it said.
Reacting to what the PDP described as its five strategies to checkmate rigging, which includes “a state of the art” Parallel Voting Tabulation System, the pro-Buhari group quoted the PDP as saying that it will reject the 2019 presidential election if the results collated by INEC does not tally with its PVTS.
In a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, the BMO said that the template being created by the PDP was borne out of the realisation that its “sham” campaign; “a campaign lacking in strategy and execution, is not going anywhere”. The group says it believes that this strategy will also fail.
The BMO spokesmen said: “We know that it is the usual template for PDP to create various scenarios in build-up to elections. Sensing defeat, they begin to create imaginary, unsubstantiated and unscientific claims and stories.
“We urge them to be careful so they do not impose the conclusion of their mental gyration on Nigerians, especially when Nigerians have decided for President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We find it laughable that just a while ago, Osita Chidoka claimed they – the PDP – have mobilised 40 million people as PDP’s independent election monitors. Now if we may ask, how many voters are there that they need 40 million election monitors? Are they mobilising to rig the election because we do not know anywhere in the world where election monitors are up to 40 million?
“Who could be more fitting as a rigger than the PDP which, for 16 years, hatched several flawed electoral process that even its former president admitted openly to?
“We know that it is deeply engraved in the culture of the PDP to be scammers, from the Maurice Iwu days to the employment scam of 2014, to this bogus claim that they have mobilised 40 million election monitors. Such claims ought to be disregarded as Nigerians focus on the polls on Saturday.”