Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was chastised by the All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party on Monday for urging Nigerians to abandon both parties in 2023.
Jega’s remarks were rejected as foolish by both the ruling APC and the opposition PDP in separate comments issued in Abuja.
They were both reacting to a BBC Hausa Service interview given by the former INEC chief on Monday, which was monitored in Abuja.
In the interview, Jega urged Nigerians not to put their faith in any party when it comes to power in 2023, claiming that they both failed when given the chance to serve.
Over the previous 20 years, he claimed, both political parties had been tested and failed to deliver.
On the problem of corruption, Jega compared both parties to Siamese twins, saying that the Nigerian country would be better off with a legitimate alternative platform like the Peoples Redemption Party’s.
The former INEC helmsman said, “The bad things these parties 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.”
He said that the two parties were two sides of the same coin because those who were previously condemned as corrupt inside the PDP just moved into the APC and resumed their old jobs.
Jega said, “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. I am now a PRP member looking for ways to help Nigeria.
He said, “Since 1979, I’ve 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.”
Jega’s prediction was condemned as incorrect by the APC in a statement headlined “Jega’s outbursts on APC erroneous, unsustainable,” written by Senator John Akpanudoedehe, the party’s Secretary.
He said, “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.”
The PDP in its statement titled, “PDP to Jega: APC and Buhari Failed Nigerians, Not PDP… says comparison a provocative disservice to Nigerians”, and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan.
“The PDP cautions former chairman of the INEC, Prof. Attahiru 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.
“The PDP asserts 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.”