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South, Middle Belt leaders raise alarm over alleged plans to rig 2019 poll

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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has raised concerns that there are indications to rig the 2019 elections in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

This has stirred calls for the removal of Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu.

Urging Nigerians to be vigilant and frustrate such efforts, they said Yakubu’s choice as INEC Chairman and the service chiefs who ought to have retired, was very suspicious and tallies with the narrative that they were poised to play partisan roles in favour of the incumbent.

In a statement by Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, the forum said from 1960 till date, only President Muhammadu Buhari has been audacious enough to pick only people who are either his relations or of the same ethnic group with him to head the electoral body.

Nkanga said President Buhari was the first to appoint his relation, Mrs. Amina Zakari from the Northwest as Acting Chairman when he became President in 2015 before he appointed Professor Mahmood Yakubu from the Northeast as substantive chairman.

“The relationship between Zakari and Yakubu is so strong that it has the tendency to influence the outcome of the election in favour of the appointee,” he said.

He pointed out that past heads of state: Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, appointed heads of the electoral body from other ethnic groups.

While stating that the INEC Chairman was yet to release the report of the committee set up to investigate alleged underage voting from results of the 2015 elections in Kano, he added that Yakubu may not be able to discharge his functions impartially since he came from the same region as the President.

He also cited the case of Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, in relation to the 2015 elections in Kano when he was Commissioner of Police (CP) in the state.

Nkanga noted that the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) who would have been questioned over the outcome of the election was found dead with his wife and two children in a mysterious inferno.

“Idris, however, after being promoted to IGP over his superior officers whose careers were abruptly terminated, explained away the deaths within a few hours without any serious investigation.

“Discipline has been eroded under the IGP, as we saw in a policeman who should be guarding a bank in Lagos getting recruited by a politician in Ekiti State where he shot people at a campaign rally,” he added.


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