BARELY 24 hours after the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, alleged that political parties set aside funds to bribe parties, the Peoples Democratic Party, on Tuesday challenged the INEC boss to name names.
The other parties, the Labour Party and All Nigeria Peoples Party denied being the parties Jega had in mind.
But while the ANPP said it had no capacity to offer bribes to INEC and security agents, it claimed that the PDP must be the bribe giver because “it (bribery) is clearly the practice act of the PDP.”
Jega, at the opening of a two-day roundtable conference with the theme, “Party Politics in Nigeria and Lobbying, the Lobbyist and the Legislature,” on Monday, in Abuja, had said that political parties in the country budgeted money with which to bribe security agents and officials of the electoral body during elections.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said that with the results of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, there was no way INEC could rig elections in the country.
Metu said, “We heard what the INEC chairman said that some political parties attempted to bribe INEC officials to help rig or influence elections, but our response to it is that the INEC chairman should be honourable enough to mention the names of the political parties involved.
“Under the circumstances of transparent and fair elections, INEC officials can no longer rig or influence elections as shown from the result of governorship elections that were held in Edo and Ondo states.
“We are therefore urging the commission to mention the names of political parties that offered bribes to it to enable the PDP reclaim the two states.”
Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the ANPP, Chief Emma Eneukwu, said the party had never set aside money for bribing INEC officials and would never do such.
He said, “If we are budgeting to bribe INEC, we will not be diminishing the way we are in some states.
“If there is any bribery, then it is done by the PDP, not our party. We only budget for our agents but budgeting for INEC, it is clearly the practice act of the PDP.”
In his reaction, the National Chairman of Labour Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, said that the allegation by Jega could be true, but added that the chairman of the commission should be able to “call a spade a spade.”
He said Jega must be referring to the big political parties “that have money and not small parties like Labour Party that are struggling to meet their obligations financially.
“For him to say such a thing means he must have been experiencing such pressures from money bags in the big political parties.”