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SDP knocks President over statement on Ekiti poll

By Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja), Ayodele Afolabi (Ado-Ekiti) and Waliat Musa (Lagos)
31 May 2022   |   2:43 am
Social Democratic Party (SDP), yesterday, declared that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in his promise to ensure a free and fair election.

INEC holds mock accreditation as Yakubu okays BVAS efficiency
• CSOs ask the electoral body to extend continuous voter registration

Social Democratic Party (SDP), yesterday, declared that President Muhammadu Buhari has failed in his promise to ensure a free and fair election.

It noted that the President’s statement that All Progressives Congress (APC) would win the forthcoming Ekiti governorship election might affect the credibility of the electoral process.

SDP National Chairman, Shehu Gabam, stated this at the inauguration of the party’s National Convention Organising Committee (NCOC), ahead of its presidential primary election slated for June 8 in Abuja.

A former governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, heads the committee.

Gabam, while responding to questions from journalists, said: “I am confident that what the President said is a distraction to the APC and not the SDP. SDP will win Ekiti State. Buhari has no right to intervene in other states and who becomes governor. The citizens of that state will determine who becomes their governor.”

He added: “This same Buhari has said more than 10 times that he wants to leave a legacy of free and fair elections. So far, that legacy has not been displayed anywhere, even within APC.

“The crisis in the APC is because there’s a lack of transparency. For the President to make that remark, maybe it’s simply because we will not allow his party to rig in Ekiti State. So far, they are not close to where we are in Ekiti State.”

THIS was as Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in Ekiti State, yesterday, conducted mock accreditation, using the Bimodal Voters Authentication System (BVAS).

The exercise was conducted in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, Ikere-Ekiti and Igede-Ekiti under the supervision of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and other management staff.

The event, aimed at ensuring a hitch-free election, saw voters at the three locations submit their cards for authentication, with fingerprint and facial recognition.

Addressing newsmen in Ikere-Ekiti, Yakubu expressed satisfaction with the performance of the BVAS, noting that the result has cleared doubts about the efficiency of the machines.

MEANWHILE, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has called on INEC to extend its Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) and online pre-registration to make room for more eligible voters.

This was contained in a statement jointly signed by Kenneth Eze, Executive Director, Speak Out Africa Initiative; Kabibeeb Adewale, Team Lead, YVoteNaija; Daisi Omokungbe, Executive Director, PROMAD Foundation; Eme Lekuwa, Team Lead, Civily; Ebenizar Wikina, Founder, Policy Shapers; Ephraim Okenwa, Executive Director, LEAD Africa and Omowumi Ogunrotimi, Executive Director, Gender Mobile Initiative.

The statement reads in part: “Rising from the influx trailing the recent turnout of Nigerians willing to perform their civic duties in off-cycle elections, vis-a-vis the odd against them regarding time, – especially “first-time voters”, it is unavoidably pertinent that the electoral umpire considers the extension of the deadline for continuous voter registration earlier slated for June 30, 2022, and online pre-registration for May 30, 2022, to enable more enthusiastic eligible voters to be accommodated democratically.

In what many people see as having played to the gallery of political parties cum politicians regarding INEC’s one-week extension of party primaries, the more widely acceptable option would have been an extension for the continuous voter registration cum online pre-registration deadline to give room for more Nigerians to exercise their franchise.”