Call for INEC Chairman’s removal unnecessary, IPAC tells protesters
Says President Shouldn’t Appoint RECs
Following the conduct of the 2023 general elections, the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has described the call by protesters for the sack and arrest of the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as unnecessary.
The organisation noted that going by the manner, which the electoral body is constituted, no single individual could perform as its head effectively.
Recall that since the conduct of the presidential and national assembly, angry protesters have continued to ground some parts of the country demanding the sack of Yakubu.
Speaking at a press conference after the council’s General Assembly meeting held to review the election in Abuja, Chairman of IPAC, Yabagi Sani, insisted that INEC cannot effectively perform its constitutional responsibilities if not unbundled.
According to him, the appointment of RECs should not be done by the president, adding that there is need for the country to reorganise the Commission.
He said, “Those protesting and asking for the head of institution, whose head are they going to ask for? Can even a single individual control all the gamut of the organisation? That is why we are asking for the Balkanisation of the commission.
“Appointment of RECs should not be done by the president or politicians. The RECs most time, feel like they are also appointed just like the INEC’s chairman. The issue is what are we then doing as a nation in taking a look at the make up of that organisation? Can it meet up to its responsibilities?
“Names are complied by politicians for INEC to recruit as adhoc staff. No human being as INEC chairman can really perform with the way the body is organised. It is not humanly possible for one individual to run that system.”
Sani also called on the Judiciary to save the nation’s democracy by ensuring that candidates who were cheated during the elections are given back their mandates.
He maintained that IPAC would resist any attempt to subvert the people’s mandate freely given to any political party and its candidates.
According to him, the ballot is sacrosanct and must reflect the will and mandate of the electorate in a free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful election.
Sani continued: “We cannot but agree that there are a lot infractions in the conduct of the elections and as one of the key stakeholders, we cannot pretend about what happened. What we are saying is judiciary must ensure that stolen mandates are returned to legitimate owners. When votes in some places do not count, it means stolen mandate. We cannot say specifically which elections whether presidential, national assembly or governorship but some are already in court.
“IPAC urges the Judiciary to be decisive and uphold the rule of law in adjudicating on various election petitions before it as the last hope of all aggrieved citizens, aware that time is of the essence and justice delayed is justice denied. All stolen mandates must be retrieved to uphold the sanctity of the ballot box.”
He urged INEC to sit up and take its constitutional duty seriously to avoid the preventable glitches and hitches with its Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) that questioned its readiness to conduct the 2023 elections and authenticity of results declared particularly in Presidential and National Assemble elections.
“More importantly, the Commission must be transparent and upholds its neutrality and integrity as the electoral umpire and discharge its duties without fear or favour as it would be held responsible and accountable for the success and otherwise of the elections it conducted.
“Council condemned in strong terms that violence, killings, arson, kidnapping of electoral officers, intimidation and suppression of voters that characterised the 2023 General Election. They are outrageous, despicable and unacceptable in the quest for sustainable democracy in Nigeria and must stop forthwith. Vote buying, snatching of ballot papers and boxes remain the bane of the nation’s electoral process.
“Accordingly, Council demands the immediate prosecution of electoral offenders and their sponsors to serve as a deterrent to those who desire to subvert the will of the people. It is the only way to sanitise the country’s electoral processes and procedures, and ensure that the people’s votes count. It will also spur citizens’ participation in future elections unlike the unprecedented voter apathy witnessed in the 2023 governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
“IPAC urges INEC to start preparations for the off-season gubernatorial elections, put its act together and ensure future elections in the country meet international standards. The integrity of the Commission is at stake each time it conducts flawed elections. The expectations of Nigerians are high and must be met in our collective resolve to build a strong, virile, united, progressive and just democratic nation,” he added.