A chieftain of Labour Party (LP), Dr. Alex Obiechina, has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), of been responsible for the unease in the polity.
He claimed that the refusal of INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, to look into complaints of infractions during the collation of results after the presidential elections and haste to declare a winner invested helplessness on the judiciary.
Obiechina, in a statement on Friday, contended that the issues of failed transmission of polling unit level results to the INEC server and mutilation of results sheets were enough red flags to halt further action on collations.
Obiechina, who is also the spokesperson of North, South and Middle Belt Support Groups for Obi-Datti,(NSMBSG4O), remarked that when taken together and with the benefit of the hindsight, the actions of the INEC chairman gave the obvious sad impression that Prof. Yakubu sacrificed the expected constitutional independence of the electoral body on the altar of partisanship.
Obiechina stated: “You found that instead of asserting the independence of INEC, the INEC chairman became aloof in such a manner that suggested that he was favourably disposed towards the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Prof. Yakubu may not be a card-bearing member of APC, but his body language all through the presidential and National election gave him out as an APC apologist. Two developments exposed Mahmood.
For instance, the one week shift in the date for the governorship election was for the APC governors to reach out to Electoral Officers after the Supreme Court ruled on the use of old naira notes.
“Secondly, the hide and seek delay in the collation of Enugu State governorship election over complaints of over-voting and by pass of BVAS at Nkanu East Local Government are ready instances of INEC chairman’s bias and vagueness.”
He wondered why the INEC chairman could serve as a tribunal by allocating and subtracting votes in the contentious Nkanu East Local Government result, but could not listen to complaints by political parties midway into his hurried collation of presidential election.
“Worse still, Prof. Yakubu’s INEC spurned decided cases in previous presidential elections, which upheld the centrality of winning 25% of votes cast in the FCT by a prospective president-elect and declared a controversial winner at mid-night.
Obiechina, who is also a former governorship aspirant in Enugu State, said despite the efforts by desperate politicians and unscrupulous electoral officials to destroy the incremental reforms in the electoral system, there is still hope that a new Nigeria is possible.
He, therefore, called on the nation’s judiciary to rise to the occasion with patriotism to salvage the tense political situation in the country, even as he urged the National Assembly to look into the possibility of reforms in INEC, especially on the qualifications and appointment of its chairman.
He regretted that instead of apologising to Nigerians for betraying their hopes and aspirations, INEC and Prof. Yakubu had the boldness of approaching the tribunal to defend its shameful conducts.