***Accuses APC of campaign of calumny
MALACHY UZENDU, DEPUTY EDITOR, ABUJA
PEOPLES Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday said it would find it difficult to accept the results of elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the present acting chairman, Mrs. Amina Zakari
This is coming barely three days to the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the United States of America (USA).
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh who stated this in Abuja yesterday when he visited two American agencies – the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), expressed worries that the independence of INEC was about to be compromised with the appointment of Mrs. Zakari whom he said, has undeniable “consanguinity” with the president.
According to Metuh, PDP was not questioning the capability, qualification or the competence of the INEC chairman but her alleged relationship with President Buhari.
“That is the areas we want the international community to intervene. He is showing that he is president of only his political parties. He has shown his preference in travelling with only members of his party. We want the international community to help him realise and practice democratic tenetnts,” he added.
Metuh stated that democracy in the country is on trial and accused the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the presidency of intimidation and harassment of PDP officials and elected leaders
“Democracy is on trial in Nigeria. The APC is engaging on campaign of calumny and witch-hunting of PDP leaders. Government is influencing security agencies to frame elected leaders. We want President Buhari to be fair and father to all Nigerians irrespective of political parties,” Metuh added.
He said the Deputy President of Senate, Ike Ekweremadu was being intimidated and witch-haunted to get him out of office.
The PDP spokesperson alleged that the governing party was using the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) to interfere in election matters.
He said the purpose of the visit was to alert the international communities of issues capable of truncating democracy in Nigeria.
The NDI Resident Country Director, Jasper Veen and his IRI counterpart, Sentell Barnes who received the PDP spokesperson, stressed the need for strengthening of democratic institutions in the country.
They advised political parties in the country to work for internal party democracy and the independence of agencies that will deliver credible elections in the country.
”The quality of democratic process is the reflection of internal party democracy. This is because internal party democracy is the greatest weakness to political parties in Nigeria,” Veen added.
He also called for the parties to adhere to the provisions of the constitutions, which will help them overcome some of their challenges.
Veen also advocated for constructive relationship between political parties and civil societies and for training of journalists, which can help improve objective reporting.
Incidentally, the two agencies are used by the two most strong parties in America – the Democrat and the Republican – to promote and advance the cause of democracy in Nigeria.