The People’s Democratic Party has explained how the Independent National Electoral Commission deceived Nigerians in the 2023 general election when it promised to use technology.
This was made known by the acting National Chairman of the Party, Umar Damagum in Abuja, on Thursday, while receiving in audience a delegation from the Kukah Centre led by its Executive Director, Atta Barkindo, accusing Independent National Electoral Commission of selling a dummy to Nigerians when it promised far reaching improvements to the electoral process using technology ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He said that the party gave the electoral management body the benefit of the doubt by making plans based on the promise that it would provide a level playing field for all parties and candidates to compete for votes.
Speaking at the event, Damagum said, “It was a free and fair election that made PDP lose power in 2015 but since these people came into power, they have been making promises that never see the light of the day.
“Let’s take the recent election for instance. All the modifications and electoral transformation, technology-driven and whatever; we were very sure it was a genuine thing, without knowing they were selling a dummy to us.
“We relaxed and we were caught sleeping. We won an election that was manipulated. However, the party is mindful of following the legal process. That is why we still have relative peace in the country today because everybody knew what happened. We will continue to seek redress through the constitutional process.”
He made it clear that the PDP‘s symbolic umbrella was providing a shade for smaller opposition political parties to also thrive as part of its contribution to the development of democracy.
Damagun said, “Our democracy is developing. Smaller parties are springing up and they had some of their members elected recently.
“During the internal election at the National Assembly, we were able to carry them along. You can see the Labour Party, the New Nigeria People’s Party, and so on. During the election, were able to carry them along and conceded to them some deputy positions.
“If we wanted to take all the minority seats, we would have done so because we are more than them in number, but we conceded two seats to them each.”
Explaining that individuals elected into the various minority positions in the National Assembly elections, he said those elected were made aware of the fact that they may have their respective personal interests, the interest of the party remains supreme.
He said, “We have told them clearly. You know when you are electing a leader, there are so many interests. They may have their personal interest and what have you but while they may be doing this, the position of the party is supreme.
“They should be able to carry other smaller parties along. Very soon, you will start hearing noises from the National Assembly from the way they are going now,”
Also, National Organising Secretary of the PDP, Umar Bature, stressed the party has always promoted the principle of inclusiveness to give vulnerable groups such as persons living with disabilities and women, a genuine sense of belonging.
Bature said, “We gave them waivers on the purchase of forms. The Governor of Akwa Ibom is an albino (Damagum chips in). In fact, one of our governors said every vice chairman of a local government must be a woman.
“These are some of the things we encourage. We expected the youths to take advantage of the opportunities here rather than just sit down and type on the computer,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks, Barkindo told the PDP, NWC that he and members of his team were at the party’s national secretariat to discuss ways of improving internal democracy, enhancing pluralism as well as ensuring equity in the nation’s political system.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba and the Acting National Secretary, Setonji Koshoedo were on the PDP team.
Members of the Kukah Centre on the delegation include Program Manager, Esrom Ajanya, Communication and Research Director, Mackit Rendep, Stephen Klanzama, and political expert, Emeka Diru.