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PDP’s women leader doubts commission’s neutrality


 Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu

Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu

How neutral would the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) be in next week’s governorship polls?

This is the question before the women coordinating the campaign of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu.

The Director General of the organisation, Mrs. Philomena Ihenyen, yesterday expressed doubts over the INEC’s neutrality at the polls.

She spoke at a meeting of various women groups, where the recent political developments in the state were addressed.

According to Mrs. Ihenyen, the postponement of the election was the first signal of the commission’s perceived bias, despite its earlier pledge of readiness to hold the election.

She said: “The global practice for elections all over the world, especially in the more developed countries which we seek to emulate, is that an electoral body is unbiased and non-aligned.

“The INEC must show every voter, the Nigerian nation and the international community that it is indeed independent. The commission cannot be seen to be playing the script of any political party, if the elections of September 28 must progress without hitches and rancour.”

The women coordinator wants “All ad hoc staff of the commission to be neutral and non-aligned individuals with proven evidence of non-partisanship.”

She also urged the police and other security agencies to live up to their expectation on the election day.

Mrs. Ihenyen explained: “Members of a particular political party (not the PDP) have been under financial inducement to surrender their permanent voter card (PVC), as a way of either dis-enfranchising them or coercing them to vote against their choice.”

“Purchasing of PVC is a criminal offence under the electoral law and is punishable under the Electoral Act,” she said.

She said the governorship election is a litmus test for President Muhammadu Buhari, warning that the people of the state were ready to defend their mandate.

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