Group Asks Mahmood To Resign Before March 11 Poll

Group Asks Mahmood To Resign Before March 11 Poll

 Group Asks Mahmood To Resign Before March 11 Poll

A civic group, Movement For Democracy, has knocked the Nigerian electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the poor conduct of the 2023 general election.

The group condemned INEC for lacking efficient plans to ensure the smooth conduct of Saturday’s poll despite budgeting N305 billion for it.

It, therefore, called on the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, to “immediately step down”.

“We have no confidence in him anymore in his capacity to conduct even the remaining State-level elections,” it said.

The group also asked that the elections held where the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines were “not used to upload and transmit results real-time be cancelled forthwith and re-done”.

This was stated in a statement jointly signed by the group’s stakeholders, worrying how Nigeria witnessed an alarming rate of increasing voter-apathy owing to near-total loss of confidence by Nigerians.

The statement reads: “Movement for Democracy is alliance of social movements, civil society, socialists, activists, trade union activists and pro-democracy activists.

“We stand at this difficult time in the history of our country’s political development, to raise our voice against the prevailing crisis and irregularities that have occurred in the Saturday February 25, 2023 general elections.

The group noted that Nigerians had hope that the election would be transparent because they believed that results would be electronically transmitted from polling units to the headquarters of the electoral body through the use of Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS).

“It therefore became imperative to call the press conference at this juncture, to let the world know that what happened on Saturday, 25th of February 2023, is not only shambolic but a clear orchestrated plan to deprive Nigerians their civil rights through a sham-election.

“To us, from the onset and contrary to the totally false and misleading dummies the INEC Chairman sold to the public, the Independent Electoral Commission INEC lacked efficient planning to conduct this election and transparently too, especially during critical stages of it. This was made manifest on Election Day in delayed polling processes and failure of the all-important BVAs amongst others.

“Clearly, these were totally avoidable pitfalls as INEC had all the time and resources it needed to do the right thing. For the records, INEC has a N40bn annual budget and an over N305bn to conduct the 2023 elections. It also set the frame by itself reiterating that it was ready and that everything was in place.

“We therefore hold the Independent National Electoral Commission squarely responsible for all the crisis, failures and irregularities that have surrounded the 25th February Election.

“There are evidences that seem to strongly point to the fact that the failures we saw with the BVAs were premeditated. We have had documented records of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, denying the allegations in November 2022, that he was planning to abandon the all- important electronic transmission of results as well as frustrate the use of BVAs to upload results at polling Units to the INEC’s Result Viewing Portal. He roundly denied these and restated that the electronic transmission of results was part of the legal requirements and shall be followed.

“The world can therefore see the monumental fraud that INEC has not only orchestrated, but perpetuated against the Nigerian people.

“As stated earlier, the two most important reforms introduced by the Electoral Act, 2022 are the use of BVAS for the accreditation of voters and Electronic Transmission of Results. How come that the same device worked effectively in most polling units for accreditation, but suddenly failed in transmission of presidential results? These are some of the questions begging for answer.

“Clearly the INEC Chairman is taking Nigerians for granted; the energy, the sweat and even the blood of Nigerians who defied all odds including violence meted out against them, to persevere and cast their votes is not what the Chairman of INEC should take for granted. You cannot accept the BVAS for accreditation and reject it for transmission of results. Not only that it does not make sense, it is against the rule of the Game.

“Already, there have been pockets of protests at the ICC national collation centre, in Delta State, as well as by women in Rivers State. This election is compromised, and therefore not the Will of the People irrespective of whoever is declared at the end of the collation that is going on. Electronic transmission of results was supposed to be the most important aspect of the electoral process.

“It was not only important for the right thing to have been done, but more importantly, for it to be seen to have been done. And the instant Electronic Transmission of Results from the Polling Units to the server, in line with the amended Electoral Act, 2022 would have ensured this.

“INEC repeatedly assured Nigerians on both. It is therefore not in INEC’s place to say it has changed its mind. Did it for one moment pause to consider the crisis of confidence or the quandary it will throw the Country into, as we are already witnessing?

“We condemn in strongest terms these observable sharp practices around the February 25th elections.

“As we speak, the European Union has also pointed out that Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election was ‘distorted’ and not credible, and so we are not even alone on this.

“Therefore, based on the foregoing, we unequivocally demand as follows; we demand that the INEC Chairman immediately step down. We have no confidence in him anymore in his capacity to conduct even the remaining State-level elections.

“That the elections where these BVAs were not used to upload and transmit results realtime be cancelled forthwith and re-done.

“That election where clear Voter-suppression, violence and intimidations occurred be immediately annulled and proper voting conducted.

“That the Independent National Electoral Commission be strongly reminded that SOVEREIGNTY belongs to the People, that INEC be guided by Law and the Rules of Engagement (it elaborated), and advised to desist from attempts to tamper with and/or truncate the will of the People in order to avoid throwing the Country into unmitigated and avoidable crisis.”

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