CSOs protest, demand INEC chair’s resignation

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A coalition of 18 civil society organisations on Tuesday held a demonstration at the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission over the controversial manner it handled the presidential and National Assembly elections.

The coalition also called for the immediate resignation of the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for rushing to announce the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as the winner despite knowing that the elections were flawed following allegations of rigging and pockets of violence.

Addressing newsmen during the protest, convener of the coalition, Dada Olayinka, stated that the masses would not accept foisting of any president-elect who benefitted from a compromised election.

Olayinka also called for an independent probe to find out the actual reasons the commission under the leadership of Yakubu, failed Africa’s biggest democracy at the last poll after assuring Nigerians that their staff were well-trained and that election results would be transmitted electronically to their server from the polling units.

He said, “INEC claimed the BVAS technology was going to be effectively deployed to forestall rigging and over voting. In places where BVAS worked efficiently, there were reported cases of over voting in many centres leading to denial of voter’s rights including reported compromise of the process by some adhoc/staff of INEC and ballot snatching. Many votes didn’t count.

“It is safe therefore to conclude that INEC did not only conduct the worst election so far in Nigeria’s history but blatantly took the people for a ride. INEC also flagrantly disobeyed its own rules and regulations and disregarded the provisions of the electoral act. The 2023 election cannot therefore be judged to be free, fair, credible and transparent.

“The Coalition of Civil Societies of Nigeria, an umbrella forum comprising 18 others demands immediate resignation of Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu and also entire cancellation of the sham results announced by him.

“We align with the observations of foreign missions particularly the EU, AU, ECOWAS and others who have all ascertained that INEC failed to meet the credibility required in discharging her duties. The UK, US and other advanced democracies/governments and all lovers of democracy have also willingly expressed their views that the election fell short of a remarkable credible test.

“Nigerians are discontented with the poor and unprofessional handling of sensitive assignments such as this which empowers them to freely choose leaders of their choice and enthrone popular government.

“We also demand a probe of possible reasons INEC under Prof. Mahmoud Yakub failed Nigerians and Africa’s biggest democracy. Nigerians will not accept any foisting of a compromised election on the nation.”

The membership of the coalition included Civil Society Forum of Nigeria, Nigeria Youth Development Forum, Democratic Youth Initiative, Forum for Social Justice, Movement for the Development of Democracy and Safeguard Nigeria Movement.

Others are Alliance for People’s Welfare, Forward Nigeria Movement, Human Right Crusaders, Defenders of Democracy, Democratic Rights Assembly and Voters Rights Assembly.