The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lambasted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for claiming that it is the most improved public service institution in Nigeria, describing the assertion as outrageous.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, made the claim during a review meeting of the 2019 general elections with Electoral Officers from the 17 southern states on Wednesday in Abuja.
But in its reaction via a statement issued by Kola Ologbondiyan, its National Publicity Secretary, on Thursday, the PDP described the electoral umpire’s claim as false, alleging that it is the most debased and corrupted institution in the country.
According to the major opposition party, INEC’s shortcomings as a service provider was fully exposed during the 2019 general elections, in which it allegedly oversaw the irregularities, violation and claims of rigging that characterised the polls.
The PDP noted that the electoral commission made such “reckless claims” at a period when its reputation as an independent, impartial umpire is being purportedly doubted by Nigerians and the international community.
The statement read: “It is indeed outrageous that while Nigerians are hurting over the subversion of their mandate, the INEC Chairman, who ought to be apologizing is rather insulting their sensibilities with his provocative claims.
“Prof. Yakubu cannot claim that INEC under his watch is the most improved service institution when all indices show that it performed far below the bar in the 2019 elections.
“How can anyone in good conscience make such spurious claims when the massive irregularities that defaced the 2019 elections is responsible for the unprecedented 766 election petitions across the country as against 297 petitions filed in the 2015 elections?”
The PDP alleged that the INEC Chairman has insulted the sensibility of Nigerians over his claim, describing it as an “unpardonable affront.”
The opposition party said Yakubu should explain to Nigerians what metrics he employed to make such declaration when the commission’s preparation for the 2019 polls was purportedly shoddy with incidents of missing electoral materials, as well as poor treatment of ad-hoc staff engaged for the elections.
The statement read: “Moreover, is it not completely preposterous for Prof. Yakubu to claim that INEC is the only agency which has offices in all LGAs and whose staff work exceptionally hard when there are many more agencies with offices in all the LGAs that engage in very tedious national assignments, even with far less allocation than INEC.
“Furthermore, if INEC is the most improved institution and has nothing to hide as Prof. Yakubu claims, why is it afraid to allow an inspection or judicial audit of the sensitive materials and devices it used in the 2019 general elections, including its server?”