The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) believes that public criticism of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ahead of the 2015 general election is not intended to castigate, weaken or destroy the electoral process but to assist in deepening democracy so that at the end of the day, Nigerians will be the ultimate winners.
Olisa Metuh, PDP national publicity secretary who released a statement on Sunday, also urged political parties and other relevant stakeholders to relegate all narrow group interests and join hands with INEC to guarantee the success of the election.
He implored all parties to come together in the interest of the nation and ensure that measures that create the environment for credible, free and fair elections are firmly put in place.
“The responsibility of building a united, strong and prosperous nation anchored on democratic principles lies on all of us collectively. We therefore charge all political parties, other relevant groups and all stakeholders in the electoral process to jettison all personal/group interests and put that of our nation and its people ahead of all,” he said.
“The future of our nation is determined by what we do or say at this point in time. We must therefore resolve to work together as patriotic citizens and join hands with INEC and relevant institutions of government to ensure credible, free and fair elections devoid of rancor and avoidable disagreements.
“At this point, what should be paramount is the well being of our people and the survival of our dear nation and its democracy. We must therefore close ranks as brothers and sisters and resist the machinations of enemies of our country who do not wish us well.
“In this regard, we must redirect our political discourse and energies to productive issues that promote national development, reinforce our unity and engender mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence of our people. It is only through this that we can create the enabling environment for peaceful general elections and guarantee the overall stability of our country.
“Nigeria is a great nation. We must appreciate the resilience of our people and their resolve to succeed. In the last four years, through the meticulous application of policies by the President Goodluck Jonathan-led PDP administration, our economy has grown to become the largest in Africa and the third fastest growing in the world, a feat that would not have been possible without the support of hard working Nigerians who have excelled in business and economy.
“Indeed, we cannot afford to fail our citizens at this time of our national life. We must work hard to continue to ensure that the environment that contributed to the successes we have recorded is adequately maintained and enhanced.”
The party called on INEC to gird its loins and appreciate the fact that it is “saddled with an enormous responsibility and that Nigerians expect nothing less than a transparent electoral process”.
“INEC should work harder and effectively use the period provided by the shift in the dates of elections to perfect all arrangements, including its processes and equipment for credible election. It must understand that observations by stakeholders are not intended to castigate, weaken or destroy the electoral process but to assist in deepening democracy so that at the end of the day, Nigerians will be the ultimate winners.”
PDP urged the electoral umpire to adequately test-run its equipment in a mock election session, within two weeks to demonstrate and ensure their practicability and reliability in the field.
While commending INEC for sacking its two officials involved in denying non-indigenes of their voters cards in Lagos, it noted that such practices were still going on in various parts of Lagos and other select states. It therefore urged the commission to ensure that the trend is completely checked and that all registered voters are given their PVCs to participate in the elections.