Former Aviation Minister, Chief Osita Chidoka has called on Nigerians to uphold electoral integrity and to remain steadfast in the journey to save the soul of the country.
The call followed conduct of the Saturday, November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.
In a statement by his Special Assistant (Media) Ikechukwu Okafor, former Corps Marshall, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) said he had submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the conduct of the governorship poll in the three states.
He said the INEC had already acknowledged his FOI Request, while his lawyers had pledged a pro-bono service to compel the electoral umpire’s compliance.
He said he was prepared to initiate legal proceedings in the event that INEC did not respond substantively within the seven-day period mandated by law.
The statement reads in part, “In a significant stride towards electoral transparency, Chief Osita Chidoka, Founder and Chancellor of Athena Institute and a concerned citizen dedicated to the enhancement of our electoral process has officially submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the conduct of Saturday, November 11, 2023 governorship election in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States.
“This request which has been officially received and acknowledged by INEC seeks comprehensive accreditation data from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used in the election in the three States.
“The acknowledgment of this request by INEC marks a crucial step in our collective pursuit of an accountable electoral system as it embodies our unwavering commitment to ensuring that our democratic processes reflect the people’s true will.
“Against this backdrop Chidoka called on Nigerians to remain steadfast in this journey to save the soul of our country.
“Let us not waver in our resolve. The request to INEC and its acknowledgment of the letter is the first step in our quest to reimagine Nigeria.
“We are hopeful that INEC’s response will be a beacon of hope, signalling that our voices are heard, and our efforts are recognized. It is a testament to our collective power to enact change and fortify the pillars of our democracy.
“I stand determined to fully pursue justice and transparency. Should INEC not respond substantively within the seven-day period mandated by law, I am prepared to initiate legal proceedings”, Chidoka said.
He added, “Some lawyers are on standby to pursue a legal enforcement of his right to information under the FOIA if necessary.
“I am bolstered by the solidarity of esteemed lawyers who have generously pledged to provide their services pro+bono to support this cause, should it be necessary.
“This is not a lone battle but a shared endeavour for all Nigerians who yearn for an electoral system they can trust. Let us unite in this effort, for the integrity of our democracy is at stake.
“We will remain vigilant and proactive, ready to take the necessary steps to protect the sanctity of our votes and the democratic values we hold dear.”