INEC shifted primaries deadline to benefit APC — Kperogi
Reactions have trailed the sudden buckling of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which, on Friday, extended the deadline for political parties to concluded their primary elections.
INEC had previously insisted that its earlier fixed date was sacrosanct, but the umpire later said it bowed the persistent demands from parties to grant an extension.
But, the US-based Nigerian critic, Prof Farooq Kperogi, disagreed with INEC, saying the electoral umpire as only doing the biddings of the ruling party, the All Progressives congress (APC).
According to Kperogi “The only major political party that INEC’s 6-day extension of the primary election timetable is designed to benefit is APC. There’s no question about that. PDP has already screened its presidential contestants and is ready to conduct its primary election this weekend.
“APC, on the other hand, hasn’t screened its contestants even when it publicly said it would conduct its primary election on Sunday. It keeps shifting the goalposts while the game is on. Buhari curiously left the country and wasn’t scheduled to be back when something as momentous as the presidential primary election of his party was supposed to be conducted.
“This at once shows awful irresponsibility, impunity, and an indication that APC knew it could manipulate INEC at the last minute to bend to its wishes.
“APC has always wanted PDP to first elect its candidate so that it can determine how it will choose its own. If PDP nominates a northerner, it will nominate one, too. If it nominates a southerner, it will nominate one, too. It just got its wishes on a platter because INEC has shown itself to be a spineless and feckless toady of the party in power.
“INEC is evidently in bed with APC and can’t be trusted to conduct a fair, credible, and transparent election.
“If rules made months ago can be changed so whimsically to pamper the irresponsibility of a political party, what’s the point of making them? We might as well be conducting primary elections until Election Day in 2023.
“Mahmood Yakubu obviously hasn’t learned anything from his disastrous conduct of the 2019 election. He is determined to replicate it in 2023, and that’s such a shame.
“In addition to a barefacedly partisan INEC whose conduct has already signaled where its loyalties lie before Election Day, the conduct of primary elections so far have made it clear that politics is now a brazen transaction. Party delegates openly haggle over and sell their votes to the highest bidders, and the highest bidders get to fly their parties’ flags in the general election.
“This is the lowest point in Nigeria’s democracy. We had never seen anything like this. The mercenariness of the electoral process used to a little subtler and a little more “dignified.” Now, there’s no pretense. It’s in your face,” he wrote in a Saturday column.
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