A group, Good Governance Initiative (GGI), has lent its voice to the call for resignation or sack of chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, before the 2019 general elections.
At a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, chairman of the group, Anosike Nwosu, stated that the 2019 polls would not be free and fair with Yakubu in the saddle as chairman of INEC, expressing the fear that he would compromise the results.The fear of the group, according to Nwosu, stems from what he described as Yakubu’s ethno-religious relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari, the ground on which he alleged that plans had been concluded to manipulate the exercise in favour of Buhari.
“Our fear stems from his relationship with the president, both of whom are from the north east with same religion. This makes us fear that despite series of assurances by the commission of free and fair elections, we are still not convinced of a free exercise,” the group said.Nwosu described the headship of the various security agencies in the country by northern Muslims as a deliberate plan by the president to silence some sections “as being witnessed today.”
The group warned that should the leadership of INEC not be reorganised, GGI would adopt other measures to take to the world the message of the president’s deliberate measure to rig himself back to power in 2019, “ having been aware of his waning popularity.”
In a swift reaction, the Chief Press Secretary to Yakubu, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, said the GGI and others were free to express their opinions.According to him, INEC would remain focused on its mandate to continually deliver free, fair and credible elections. Any organisation or individual that wants to succeed cannot afford to be distracted by irrelevant things, Oyekanmi stated.
Meanwhile, INEC has expressed worry that 1.4 million voters in Lagos State are yet to claim their permanent voter’s cards ahead of next year’s elections.This was disclosed by the Director of Voter Education, Mr. Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, while speaking on Sunday Politics, a live television programme aired on Channels Television.On voters’ turn-out all over the country, Osaze-Uzzi declared that many voter’s cards were yet to be claimed, citing Lagosl as a point of reference.
“The reality with voter’s cards is that despite our efforts at sensitization, many people are still not interested in picking up their cards. In Lagos, there are about 1.4 million PVCs which are yet to be collected and this does not portend well for voters turn-out,” he said.But when countered on INEC’s role in simplifying the process of obtaining the PVCs as officials of the electoral body only attend to voters during busy hours, Osaze-Uzzi said efforts were ongoing to make the process more accessible to office-goers.He stressed the need to continuously educate citizens on the need to exercise their voting rights, noting “many who collect their PVCs collect them for other reasons aside voting.”