INEC chairman's prosecution demanded

INEC chairman’s prosecution demanded

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INEC chairman's prosecution demanded

INEC chairman

INEC chairman’s prosecution demanded. The opposition parties demanded the resignation of Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, on Thursday, citing the European Union Election Observer Mission report, which rated INEC poorly in its handling of the general elections.

The Labour Party and the Peoples Democratic Party stated the EU election assessment reinforced their positions that the 2023 polls were neither transparent or trustworthy, but INEC and the All Progressives Congress denied the parties’ accusations against Yakubu.

The electoral agency had declared the APC standard bearer, Bola Tinubu, the winner of the presidential election but the verdict was challenged by the LP, PDP and other opposition parties.

Tinubu received 8,794,726 votes, defeating the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and his LP counterpart, Peter Obi, who received 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes, respectively.

Atiku and Obi, on the other hand, rejected the results, stating in separate press conferences that the election was marred by violence and huge rigging.

Consequently, both candidates headed for the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to seek redress.

Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, Member of the European Parliament, who presented the preliminary findings of the EU EOM report in Abuja on June 28, observed that shortcomings in law and electoral administration hindered the conduct of well-run and inclusive elections and damaged trust in INEC.

He also stated that a lack of openness and operational flaws undermined trust in the process and called into question the right to vote.

The EU report, on the other hand, was roundly criticized by the Presidency and the APC, even as some party faithful condemned the EU EOM’s attitude.

But addressing a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, the Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun, called for the immediate dismissal and prosecution of the INEC chairman over the role he played in the 2023 presidential elections.

Osuntokun also demanded that a forensic financial investigation should be conducted on all the expenditure and donations received by INEC before, during and after the polls.

The demand was made by the campaign director at an international press conference held at the party’s campaign headquarters in Abuja.

“We also demand unequivocally Prof Mahmoud Yakubu’s immediate removal from office and prosecution, as well as the launch of a forensic financial investigation into the expenditure of budgeted disbursements and donor funds received by INEC,” he said.

“This is in addition to the N300 billion appropriated from the national purse and other funds and materials received from international donor agencies.”

In his response to the ongoing election appeal, Osuntokun stated that all of the evidence provided by both the PDP and the LP validated their initial suspicions that the election was plagued by anomalies.

While urging punitive measures against INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, and other top administrative and field staff for their alleged complicity, he also warned against further intimidation of European Union and other election observers over their reports on the poll.

“The Labour Party and the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organization vehemently condemn the negative and jaundiced responses on the EU report and other election observers’ reports by the spokesperson of the APC administration and other ill-informed persons, which are totally at odds with the mood of the nation at this time and also present an embarrassing contrast to their selective celebration of the 2019 election reports from these same observers,” Osuntokun stated.

“It is now only logical, as supported by the final observer group reports, for the international community to take immediate and appropriate punitive action against Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, Barrister Festus Okoye, and other top administrative and field staff of INEC who were directly complicit in the desecration of these elections.”

”We advise those who have sent hired ‘protesters’ to the EU offices in relation to their election report to stop wasting public funds because the goal of intimidation is without foundation and has failed from the start because the irregularities in the election were so glaring with bitter personal and reported experiences by the overwhelming majority of Nigerians.”

Furthermore, the LP chieftain stated that the EU observer group report was consistent with the reports of other international and domestic observers who had been duly accredited by INEC, as well as with public opinion and the experiences of the majority of Nigerian citizens who participated in or observed the polls.

‘’At this juncture, there is no doubt that Nigerians and the International Community expect the judiciary, to critically examine the evidence, the law, and the processes of these flawed elections, in arriving at a legally correct, and overwhelmingly acknowledgeable verdict,’’ Osuntokun added.

Aligning with the LP, the PDP backed the call for Yakubu’s suspension to allow for a forensic assessment of the electoral body’s election spending.

In an interview with The PUNCH, the party’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Abdullahi, said the INEC chairman should stand down so that a more qualified person can run the organization.

“Yes, he should step aside,” he responded. We were the first to demand that the inept fellow be fired for alleged corruption and legendary insincerity.”

In contrast with this stand, the All Progressives Grand Alliance faulted Osuntokun’s call, noting that INEC was not Nigeria’s problem.

In a phone discussion with our correspondent, APGA Deputy National Chairman Uche Nwegbo stated that his party would not be forced to join issues with the LP.

“The APGA has made its position on the 2023 elections clear.” There is no need to join forces with anyone demanding for the suspension of the INEC chairman. Nigeria’s problem now is not INEC, but rather a structural one. We have maintained this position for a long time and that is still our position today,” he said.

In his reaction to the attack on his principal, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, advised the LP to desist from making ridiculous demands.

e said, “The latest and familiar call by the Labour Party for the dismissal and prosecution of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu is misplaced. The reasons adduced by the party for making the demand are not only illogical, but also ridiculous.

“To be sure, election observers, both local and international, are accredited by INEC to observe elections under specific rules and regulations. Under these rules, they are required to submit their respective reports to the commission. Such reports may or may not include their recommendations.

“As a result, it is not within the purview of any election observer to indict INEC.” They are to observe and, if necessary, make recommendations, but never to indict. ”It is also outside the Labour Party’s jurisdiction to demand the expulsion and prosecution of the INEC chairman over the outcome of an election in which the party fielded candidates.”

“Interestingly, the Labour Party has now produced one state governor, eight senators, 35 House of Representatives members, and 38 members of the state Houses of Assembly as a result of the same 2023 general election,” Oyekanmi noted.

“It is suprising and strange that a political party that is in court to challenge the outcome of the 2023 presidential election would still go about openly advocating the issues before the court at press conferences, which it knows is sub judice.

“The Labour Party is one of 18 political parties in Nigeria that are registered and regulated by INEC.” The party will do well by restricting itself to activities permitted under the rules and regulations governing the conduct of political parties.”


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