A coalition of Civil Society Organizations under the aegis of the Democracy Protection Coalition (DPC) has demanded for the immediate resignation of the national Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, over his failure to comply with copious provision of the Electoral Act in the conduct of the February 25, 2023 Presidential election.
According to the DPC, which made the demand at a media briefing in Ikeja, Lagos where it presented its observations and recommendations on the disputed election, Prof. Yakubu’s immediate resignation as INEC boss has become very necessary “in order for him not to erode the people’s confidence in the forthcoming Governorship and State Assembly elections now postponed to March 18, 2023.”
In his opening remarks at the press conference, DPC Convener Eze Eluchie, Esq. advised that, “if the INEC boss fails to resign, efforts should be harnessed by the INEC Board to, in a manner similar to how the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Sokoto State was suspended, likewise suspend Mr. Yakubu from office until further notice.”
According to Eluchie, “In view of his lack of remorse in the face of deliberate flagrant nonconformity with the Electoral Act and INEC’s Regulations for Elections regarding the BVAS machines; deliberate falsehoods and lies to Nigerians regarding the sanctity of the electoral process; and audacious display of impudence against Nigerians and Nigeria; the INEC Chairman, Mr. Mahmood Yakubu, has lost the confidence of Nigerians and Civil Society regarding his ability to continue as an impartial umpire in the electoral process.
“Considering that people’s confidence, trust and belief in the electoral system and electoral umpires is an integral component of elections, and that such confidence, trust and belief in INEC and its current Chairman, haven been irrevocably eroded, the INEC Chair, Mr. Yakubu, should immediately, resign his position as Chairman of INEC.
“To avoid further tainting the sanctity and integrity of the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections, Mr. Mahmood Yakubu should totally forthwith recuse himself from participating in any manner whatsoever, in the processes and administration of the forthcoming Gubernatorial and State Houses of Assembly elections. “
DPC said that “in the event of Mr. Yakubu’s failure to resign from office of his own accord, efforts should be harnessed by the INEC Board to, in a manner similar to how the INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Sokoto State was suspended, likewise suspend Mr. Yakubu from office until further notice, by which time the manipulations and untoward actions of the said Mr. Yakubu would have been addressed and rectified. Alternatively, the people of Nigeria in whom ultimately power resides, should rise and effectively demand the exit from office of this INEC Chairman who has displayed gross incompetence, lack of capacity and a penchant to be deceptive and dubious in the discharge of the highly sensitive functions of Chairman, INEC.”
Therefore the coalition advised INEC, to, “in the light of its alleged ‘collapse’, compromise and failure of the BVAS machine process and systems in the course of the 25th February elections, to collate and declare the results of the said elections by the summation of Polling Unit results from each of the polling units across the country.”
“These results,” DPC noted, “are already within the purview of INEC and the political parties. The mostly grossly distorted, mutilated and concocted documents belatedly uploaded unto the INEC IReV, days after the elections were held, should be discountenanced as manipulation of desperate politicians.
“In line with its self-correction of errors it made in other elections, such as with regards to the case of the Doduwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency of Kano State, where INEC reversed its earlier declaration of the current Leader of the House of Representatives (Mr. Ado Doguwa) as winner of the House of Representative elections, INEC should likewise correct the monumental error of historical proportions it has committed by its wrongful declaration of a non-winner, Mr. Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressive Congress (APC), as winner of the 2023 presidential elections. INEC may rightly say, as it has already stated in the Doduwa/Tudunwada Federal Constituency elections, that it had made that declaration either under duress or under false pretenses.”
DPC, “sequel to the admission of the INEC Chairman that several INEC staff and some politicians colluded to compromise the electoral process”, called upon the law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies to, “as a matter of urgency, apprehend, investigate and prosecute all individuals and entities, irrespective of position occupied inclusive of the INEC Chairman, who/which participated in thwarting the elections held on the 25th of February 2023.”
“Considering the high number of security personnel (soldiers, the Police and other security agencies) who participated in election related crimes, such as snatching and destruction of election materials including ballot papers, a Judicial Panel of Inquiry should be instituted to inquire into and gauge the involvement of security personnel in election-related offences with the view of ascertaining if such security personnel involvement was as a result of systemic, hierarchical and institutionalized interventions or ad-hoc and unrelated malfeasance perpetuated by individual security personnel and their cohorts.
“Whilst applauding the various domestic, regional and international election observers (inclusive of International Observer Missions from the Africa Union, ECOWAS, European Union, Commonwealth Secretariat, and the United States) for rightly stating that the 25th February elections fell far, far short of domestic and international standards, and even the standards INEC had set for itself, we call on all friends of Nigeria to be on the side of the Nigerian people by impressing on INEC and State authorities, the importance of allowing the will of the people freely expressed via the ballot box, to be upheld. The various Observer Missions should impress it upon their principals that condemnation and effectively ostracizing characters who seek to attain political power via stealing votes, nips in the bud the need to condemn violent and unconstitutional putsches,” DPC further said.
“The people of Nigeria,” according to the group, “must come together, as we all did on the 25th of February 2023, devoid of ethnic, religious and other primordial sentiments, to decisively insist on the actualization of the mandate given via the ballot during the Presidential elections. We must all in unison insist that the votes cast during the said elections are declared as counted at the various Polling Units, and that the winner of the said elections is rightly declared as the President-elect of the Federal Republic.”