Immediate past chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, has urged Nigerians not to vote for the ruling All Progressives Congress and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party in future elections.
He alleged that the two major political parties were like Siamese twins of corruption and it was high time Nigerians looked for a credible alternative.
“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 said.
Jega who bared his mind in an interview with the BBC Hausa which was monitored in Kaduna yesterday stressed that “the bad things these parties committed in the 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, they sneaked into the APC.
“We are hearing nothing. That is why I’ve since registered with the People’s 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.
The former INEC boss alleged that those in the major political parties had destroyed everything and had made the parties so stigmatized that whichever good person that joins them would be considered like them.
He said that was why “it has now become imperative to have a new platform where good Nigerians will constitute the membership.”
Jega also alleged that it was lack of good leadership in Nigeria that threw the nation into its current problems, which led to the series of agitations for the country to be balkanized.
“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, it is something to be afraid of,” he said.
Jega Trying To Launch Political Career In Mushroom Party – APC
Reacting, the governing APC upbraided Jega, describing his outburst as an attempt to launch his political career in a mushroom political party.
National secretary Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of APC, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, also told the former INEC chairman to engage in genuine scholarly research and come up with evidence-based conclusions on the progressive orientation of the APC.
He added that while the former INEC boss got his facts right on the PDP, it was wrong for him to have compared the APC with the former ruling party.
Akpanudoedehe said, “Our attention has been drawn to an uncontrolled, wrong and untenable political outburst by a former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega ,in which he lumped the All Progressives Congress (APC), together with the failed Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“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.
It’s an unpardonable comparison – PDP
On its part, PDP said it is unpardonable to compare it with the APC.
The national publicity secretary of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, cautioned Jega not to further infuriate Nigerians by trying to dry-clean “the rudderless, inept and debauched APC despite the unbearable devastation the APC has brought to our nation in a space of six years.”
Ologbondiyan in a statement said 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 Professor Jega.”
PDP added that it is worrisome that 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.
“It is indeed unfortunate that Prof. 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 turn our nation into the world poverty capital and a debtor country in a space of six years.
“Prof. 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 percent 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 liter and how the APC has hiked it to N165 per liter with attendant pressure on our economy.”
PDP charged Jega to note how the PDP ran an all-inclusive and transparent administration that guaranteed freedom of speech, equity, fairness as well as free and fair elections, which he attested to; and how the APC, had been running a “massively corrupt, insensitive, divisive and exclusionist administration that has destroyed our national cohesion and turned our nation into a battle field.”
Ologbondiyan added that as professor of political science, Jega ought to know that while the PDP is an ideologically based political party, the APC is just a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) operated on the basis of deception and that is why it has failed in all ramification and now fizzled in the eyes of the law.
He said Nigerians are already confronting the fact of the failures of the APC as well as President Buhari and would therefore not require a manipulative tendency of any individual seeking political relevance ahead of 2023.
“After all, the roles which Prof Jega played in bringing this failed party and administration into office are still fresh in the hearts of Nigerians,” PDP said.