The National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, said on Thursday that the leadership of the party and its governors had confidence in the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Mu’azu spoke at a press briefing in Abuja. The briefing which held at the national headquarters of the party, had in attendance some PDP governors, led by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State.
The position of the party and its governors as given by Mu’azu differed from the position of its campaign directorate, which had threatened to pass a vote of no confidence in Jega and his team.
The campaign team, through its Director of Media and Publicity, Femi Fani-Kayode, had complained about the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards, which it alleged was being skewed in favour of the opposition All Progressives Congress.
Mu’azu, curiously, differed on this at the press briefing, saying that the postponement of the elections would enable Jega and his team to distribute the remaining voter cards.
He said even President Goodluck Jonathan had expressed confidence in the chairman of the commission and that there was no way the party would disagree with the President’s position.
He said, “You asked if the party has confidence in Jega? My answer is not far-fetched.
“The President stated during his media chat last night (Wednesday) that he has confidence in Jega.
“We also have confidence in Jega and that he and his team will conduct free, fair and transparent elections.”
The PDP chairman also disagreed with Jega that the elections were postponed solely because of the security challenge in some parts of the country.
He said, “While we were cruising in the euphoria of the success of our campaign that was leading us to victory, INEC on February 7, 2015, relying on section 26 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) announced the postponement of the elections by six weeks, citing what it called security challenges.
“Although we tend to agree with INEC on the security reasons given for the postponement, we are nevertheless not unmindful of the fact that the commission on its own part was not fully prepared for the February 14 election date.
“Taking the INEC chairman, Jega, on his own words, for the 68.8 million registered voters, the commission had only printed and delivered 66.3 million Permanent Voter Cards with 1.3 million yet to be delivered and 1.1 million stolen cards yet to be replaced.
“Also according to Jega, 45.09 million voters cards were collected by prospective voters, representing 65.8 percent of the registered voters and 23.71 million PVCs, representing 34.2 percent, were yet to be collected as at February 7, which is exactly one week to the February 14 earlier scheduled date. Compare this anomaly with the 2011 elections where not a single eligible voter was disenfranchised.
“By this account, INEC could not sincerely claim to have been fully prepared for a desirable credible, free and fair election at the time when more than 23 million registered voters were going to be disenfranchised.”