A pro-democracy group, the Southern and Middle Belt Alliance, has asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to resign if he cannot conduct free, fair and credible elections.It also called on heads of security agencies responsible for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections to resign with immediate effect if they do not have the capacity to assure Nigerians that the Saturday governorship elections would be free, fair and credible.
In a statement signed by the group’s spokesman, Prince Rwang Pam Jr, it specifically charged the INEC boss, the Inspector-General of Police, Director of the Department of State Service and members of the various election tribunals to reassure Nigerians or quit honourably.
“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 statement partly read.
The group bemoaned the failure of INEC, the police and DSS to “competently perform their constitutional duties” during the February 25, presidential and National Assembly elections”, saying the developments have not only brought international disgrace to Nigeria but equally failed to protect the mandate of millions of Nigerians.
The statement added, “It is therefore expected that the commission should by now publicly expunge its temporary and permanent staff and agents who are suspected to have been either compromised or incompetent.
“Bold actions like these are likely to assure Nigerians that their votes would count during the March 11, 2023 state elections. INEC has a moral responsibility to buy back the confidence and trust of the Nigerian electorate.
Merely stating that those bad eggs within INEC or its representatives will be taken off the electoral process indicates that the commission is yet to appreciate the magnitude of its failures during the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“INEC must prove to Nigerians and the international community that it had not deliberately compromised the presidential elections by explaining convincingly and truthfully, why results in isolation failed to upload on the INEC server as repeatedly promised by the commission – what the problem was and steps it has taken to ensure that all results will be uploaded during this weekend’s elections.
“At this point in Nigeria’s history owing to current realities on ground, this country cannot afford any deliberate action that has the tendency to derail the successful conduct of free, fair and credible elections. If the IG 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.”