By Victor Akaa
Joint Forum of 60 presidential Candidates and National Chairmen in the 2019 presidential elections under the aegis of G-60 has commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) saying the election that produced President muhammadu Buhari is credible and fair.
Addressing newsmen at a joint world press conference in Abuja, the chairman of the forum Alhaji Shitu Mohammed said the innovation employed by INEC during the election such as simultaneous accreditation and voting,no use of incidence form among others helped the electoral body to produce a credible results for the country.
“Gentlemen of the press, having gathered as Presidential candidates and political party leaders, we thoroughly x-rayed the 2019 election, the unfavourable and hostile environment the election management body operated under, and the extant laws under which the elections were conducted, have come to the emphatic conclusion that the INEC performed creditably well and we hereby unequivocally reaffirm our confidence in INEC for its performance against all odds in the conduct of the 2019 General Elections.”
Earlier is his speech, the concerned of the forum Chief Perry Opara has cleared the air over the INEC server controversy between the Commission and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Opara said that PDP is heating up polity with server’s story, wondered why the party that was part of the meeting where INEC informed all political parties in the election following the non-passage of the Electoral Act that it would not deploy the electronic transmission of results since it would not be lawful to do so,and will in turn be causing confusion about the same matter.
He then accused the party over the INEC Server controversy as a deliberate ploy to destroy the integrity of the electoral process as well as cause intrigues in the polity.
He explained that in the build-up to the elections, all as Presidential candidates and their political parties held several meetings with INEC. And the umpire made it clear that the delay in finalizing the electoral legal framework deprived the nation of the much-needed reform of our electoral process.
He further said the electoral Umpire had earlier informed all the political parties in the meeting which PDP was fully represented that the server was introduced as a pilot scheme to test run the governorship elections in the states of Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun ,however the electoral body would not deploy the electronic transmission of results since the Electoral Act has not been passed into law.
The forum further condemned the report of the European Election Observers on the 2019 election saying the commission has implemented all it’s guidelines adopted and agreed upon by the 91political parties to the latter.
“INEC consulted widely and extensively, and together with stakeholders of which we are a part of, came up with the guidelines for the conduct of the 2019 general elections, which the Commission followed to the letter.
“We recall that nine out of the eleven points for consideration we raised as candidates under the auspices of the IPAC and CUPP respectively were adopted by the Commission. How then can the EU-EOM accuse the Commission of a lack of transparency in putting up guidelines for the elections? They questioned.
“Parties agreed on a lot of issues with the Commission and those were implemented. It is worrisome that only one political party out of 91 is saying a different thing on the Presidential election while at the same time praising its performance on the other elections, especially governorship, conducted by the same INEC,”
They called on the 9th National Assembly to revisit the Electoral Bill passed by the 8th National Assembly and resend it to the President, as the amendment will strengthened ,improve and give more confidence to the nation’s electoral system and its processes.
The forum therefore called for the immediate sanctioning of all security personnel who are found wanting during the previous election to serve as a deterrent to others.
Among the political parties represented in the meeting were, Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD),Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN),Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA),among others.