The Southern and Middle Belt Alliance has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and senior officials of the commission to resign if he cannot guarantee that Saturday’s governorship and states House of Assembly elections will be free, fair and credible.
SMBA, in a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Rwang Pam Jr., lamented that the alleged failure of INEC, police and Department of State Services to competently perform their constitutional duties during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly elections “has not only brought international disgrace to Nigeria, but equally failed to protect the mandate of millions of Nigerians.”
It said, “If the Inspector-General of Police feels that he is not well equipped or competent enough to safeguard the public, INEC staff and electoral materials on March 11, then he should resign and let someone else take over.
“If the INEC boss feels that he cannot conduct free, fair and credible elections, he should resign.
“If members of post-elections tribunals feel that they are not ready to be objective and to give Nigerians justice without fear, favour or compromise, such members should kindly resign.”
The group lamented that “after a week of such daylight destruction and intimidation, neither the NPF nor the DSS has paraded any of the political thugs or their sponsors as a demonstration of their commitment towards defending the integrity of the electoral process.
“Consequently, millions of Nigerian taxpayers and the international community are fast losing confidence in the sincerity of these security agencies.”
The group further berated the INEC chairman and his commissioners “who either by omission or commission or both have conducted an election that has been unanimously rejected as not being free, fair or credible by international observers and local observers as well as a majority of Nigerians.”
In a separate report, a coalition of 18 civil society organisations held a demonstration on Tuesday at the national headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission over the controversial manner in which it handled the presidential and National Assembly elections.
The coalition also called for the immediate resignation of the INEC chief 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, the coalition’s convener, Dada Olayinka, was quoted to have 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 the denial of voter’s rights, including reported compromise of the process by some ad hoc or INEC staff 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 take the people for a ride. INEC also openly violated its own rules and regulations, as well as the provisions of the electoral act. The 2023 election therefore cannot be adjudged to be free, fair, credible, and transparent.
“The Coalition of Civil Societies of Nigeria, an umbrella forum comprising 18 others, demands the immediate resignation of Prof. Mahmoud Yakub and also the entire cancellation of the sham results announced by him.”
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 Voter’s Rights Assembly.