The former chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has called on Nigerians not to vote for the All Progressives Congress ( APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party( PDP) in the 2023 general election. This is because, in his view, the two major parties are like Siamese twins of corruption, hence it was high time Nigerians looked for a credible alternative.
Speaking in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa programme on Monday, the Professor of Political Science noted: “Nigerians should dump the two parties because of their bad antecedents over the last 20 years.
“Looking at their inability to change the economic fortunes of Nigeria for 20 years now, it is now apparently clear that they would not do anything, even if Nigerians vote for any of the two parties again,” he alleged.
“The bad things these parties have committed in those past years, Nigerians should never give their trust to the parties again. It is now very clear that these parties would never change, even if they are given another chance.
“The APC and PDP have formed governments, we were all witnesses. They did not come with a good intention to make amends. If you look at the fight against corruption, all these corrupt people that were supposed to be prosecuted, sneaked into the APC.
“We are hearing nothing. That is why I have since registered with the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP)..I am now a PRP member looking for ways to help Nigeria.
“That is why we believe now is the time to establish a platform where every good Nigerian should join and contribute towards building the nation on the right path,” he said.
Jega also alleged that those in the major parties had destroyed everything and made the parties so stigmatized that whichever good person joined the parties would be considered like them.
“It has now become imperative to have a new platform where good Nigerians will constitute the membership,” he stated.
He also alleged that it was the lack of good leadership in Nigeria that threw the nation into its current problems, which had led to the series of agitations for the country to be balkanised.
“Since 1979, I have been teaching in the university for 40 years now. So, from what I read and observed, when I was Chairman of INEC, honestly the way I see our politicians conducting elections and from the manner they represent their people when elected, honestly, it is something to be afraid of,” he said.
Reacting through the National Secretary Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) APC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, in a statement, said the judgment of Jega lacked scholarly research and was not evidence-based. The APC said Jega got it wrong to have said the ruling party had failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians just like its predecessor in office, the PDP.
The statement read in part: “While the PDP failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians as a government and opposition party, the APC is thriving, healthy and assiduously cleaning the massive mess left behind by the PDP which failed to deliver democratic dividends to the people of Nigeria after being in charge of the country for 16 years.
“While Professor Jega is right about the PDP, a party under which he served as the Chairman of the nation’s election management body, we reject his comparison of the APC with the PDP. Professor Jega got his facts wrong and mixed up in his baseless comparison of the PDP with the APC.
“While we do not intend to join issues with Professor Jega, we encourage him to engage in genuine scholarly research and come up with evidence-based conclusions on the Progressive orientation of the APC.
“It is, however, instructive to note that having recently abandoned his academic pursuit and blindly plunged into the arena of PDP’s brand of politics, the erstwhile electoral umpire as a politician can make such political statements occasionally while trying to launch his political career in a mushroom political party.
“The APC is a strong, united, popular and focused political unit. Hence, the Professor should note the political lesson that maligning the APC would not provide him a springboard to achieve his desires. Nigerians are wiser and remain the ultimate judges.”
The PDP cautioned Jega, not to further infuriate Nigerians by trying to dry-clean why it called “the rudderless, inept and debauched APC, despite the unbearable devastation the APC has brought to our nation in a space of six years.”
In a statement by Kola Ologbondiyan, its national publicity secretary Monday, the PDP asserted that trying to compare “the incompetent and decadent APC to the highly productive and development-oriented PDP is an unpardonable disservice to our nation and calls to question the sense of judgment of Profession Jega.”
The PDP further noted that it is worrisome that Prof. Jega, who only recently and rightly so, described the APC and the Buhari administration as a failure, “is now attempting an image laundering with such a warped comparison, just a few weeks after he was offered a juicy appointment as Chairman of Governing Council of University of Jos by President Buhari.”
The PDP added: “It is indeed unfortunate that Professor Jega, as a professor of political science, could portray an ignorance of the manifest contrasts between the robust fortunes of our nation under the PDP and the wasteland she has become under the APC.
“Perhaps the professor needs to be reminded of how the PDP worked hard to revamp our nation’s economy, paid off our huge foreign debts and went ahead to grow the economy to become the largest investment hub in Africa as well as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with Fitch B+ rating; only for the APC to wreck the economy and turned our nation into the world poverty capital and a debtor country in a space of six years.
“Professor Jega must also be reminded how the PDP reinvigorated the private sector with new businesses and employments springing up in critical sectors of telecoms, aviation, agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas, education, retailing, hospitality, healthcare and banking among others.
“Today, under the APC and Buhari, these gains have been wrecked with massive closure of businesses, which saw over 60 million Nigerians losing their means of livelihood, with alarming 33.3 per cent unemployment rate and over 82.9 million more and about 25 million families not being able to afford their daily meals as our country ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index, due to the obnoxious policies of the APC and President Buhari.
“Perhaps the former INEC chairman has forgotten how the PDP stabilized our fiscal economy and handed over our naira to the APC at N160 to a dollar only for the APC to wreck our currency to a dismal N510 to a dollar.
“He may have also forgotten how the PDP handed over the cost of fuel at N87 per litre and how the APC has hiked it to N165 per litre with attendant pressure on our economy.
Source: Nigerian Tribune