Prof Attahiru Jega, the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged Nigerians to vote against the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the general elections of 2023.
Jega said the two major parties had failed to foster good government and development in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service yesterday, which our reporters were able to observe.
He argued that since the return of democracy in 1999, after many years of military rule, PDP and APC which have run the country failed to live up to expectations.
PDP governed Nigeria from 1999 to 2015, while APC took over from 2015 to date.
Jega said, “Failure to bring the desired growth and development in Nigeria within the past 20 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.
“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.
“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 have since registered with the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and I am now a PRP member looking for ways to help Nigeria.”
You got it wrong — APC
But reacting, the APC said Jega got his facts wrong, and asked the former INEC helmsman to engage in genuine scholarly research and come up with evidence-based conclusions.
Secretary of the APC Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Sen John James Akpanudoedehe, in a statement yesterday said the APC-led government was clearing the “massive mess left behind by the PDP.”
“Professor Jega got his facts wrong and mixed up in his baseless comparison of the PDP with 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,” APC said.
You are ignorant of our milestones — PDP
Also, PDP in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said that Jega was ignorant of the “significant milestones” it recorded during its reign.
The party said, “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.
“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.”
By Saawua Terzungwe, Hamisu Kabir Matazu, Dalhatu Liman (Abuja) & Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna)