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Groups deplore attempts to discredit INEC, security agencies

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[FILE PHOTO] INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Some civil society groups have expressed apprehension over reports that some political parties are plotting to cast a slur on the credibility of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies with the aim of discrediting the eventual outcome of the polls.

Prominent among such organisations that have raised the alarm is the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER), which urged political parties, to desist from trying to discredit the electoral umpire and security agencies ahead of the elections.
 
The convener of CODER, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, said the group’s attention has been drawn to the intense vilification and spirited efforts to discredit the umpire and security agencies by some political parties perhaps for selfish and dubious interests.

In a similar vein, the recognized governorship candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ogun State, Senator Buruji Kashamu, has urged the party’s National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, to stop blackmailing INEC over the party’s candidates’ list for the state.

The Ogun lawmaker said that Secondus’s ulterior motives to blackmail INEC was to discredit the possible outcome of the governorship election result in the state, peradventure he (Kashamu) wins on March 2.

Yet in another development, a coalition of civil society groups under the umbrella of Coalition Against Violence and Save Bayelsa, Save Niger Delta Group, led by Mr. Olufemi Lawson and Secretary, Atani Isaac, has alleged there is ongoing stockpiling of weapons and rising tension leading up to the 2019 election in Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta.

The groups lamented that nearly three years after a report on electoral violence, which it submitted to the relevant authorities, none of them, including INEC, the Federal Government, Bayelsa State government and other relevant security agencies as well as the international community are yet to act on the report, which detailed the atrocities and extreme rights’ violations witnessed during the election.

The convener of CODER said it is imperative at this critical point to remind all political parties and politicians that their unproven allegations against national institutions like INEC and security agencies have the negative tendency to cast doubt on the credibility of the coming election even before they are held.
 
According to Opadokun, “The regularly wide and unverifiable allegations against public institutions would be counter-productive and harmful to Nigeria and the politicians hereafter, because the unfounded allegations can make local and international public, including development partners to be suspicious of the credibility of the results of the coming elections.”
 
The group also urged current political operators to put national interest first before their personal and political interest so that Nigeria can earn her deserved respect, dignity as a democratic state in spite of the obvious inadequacies yet to be settled in the country in its march to statehood.
 
CODER also urged for genuine international development partners, especially, not to unduly take side in Nigeria’s electoral contest by their seeming indication of reading ulterior motive to the suspension of Chief Justice of the Federation (CJN), Mr. Walter Onnoghen, who has, in his own statement, admitted that he forgot to fill the mandatory Asset Declaration form as at when due.

  
The group also asked Nigerians to prevail on current political operators to play by the rules in making genuine complaints to improve the works of government institutions and not to destroy them for partisan purposes, as they seem to be playing out now.

Kashamu while reacting to a letter written by Secondus and the party’s National Secretary, Senator Ibrahim Umaru Tsauri, to INEC, asking the electoral body to recognize Mr. Ladi Adebutu, who emerged as factional governorship candidate from a parallel primaries described the letter as a tissue of lies meant to blackmail INEC and also aimed to discredit the possible outcome of the poll.

Kashamu, in a letter to PDP chairman titled: ‘Re-Final List of Nominated Candidates in Ogun State,’ accused Secondus of twisting facts to confuse INEC.

According to Kashamu, Secondus’s letter “drips with the usual lies and blackmail that you have always peddled to obfuscate obvious facts and issues that are glaringly in the public domain.”

He therefore urged Secondus to stop blackmailing INEC since the commission has acted in accordance with the facts of the court judgment before it to list him (Kashamu) as PDP gubernatorial candidate for Ogun.

He also advised Secondus to desist from dragging the name of the party in the mud and support him for PDP to win in Ogun State.

But the vice national chairman of PDP South West, Dr. Eddy Olafeso refutes the claim that Secondus was trying to blackmail INEC. He said the party’s challenges in Ogun would be address before the election.

While addressing the media in Lagos yesterday, the rights group said if the coming election in Bayelsa State would beheld and deemed credible and accepted, the rising tension in the state being created by desperate politicians ahead of the elections must be diffused.


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