The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to resign from his office with immediate effect.
The opposition party alleged that the INEC chairman brazenly violated the provisions of the Electoral Act and manipulated the election results thereby subverting the will of Nigerians in the 25th February 2023 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
In a statement signed by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Hon Debo Ologunagba, the party said it has further reviewed the latest move by INEC to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) devices and believes that it is an attempt to destroy all evidence of manipulation of the presidential election and deny Nigerians and political parties access to relevant information needed to prosecute a case at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
The party alleged that the INEC chairman was compromised to rig the election in favour of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), claiming that results, where PDP won massively, were altered.
It said: “From all indications, the INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was compromised to rig the election by brazenly violating the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as INEC’s Regulations, Guidelines and Manual issued for the election.
“It is also obvious that the Commission under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu deliberately sabotaged the uploading and transmission of results directly from the Polling Units to give room for the criminal mutilation, alteration and switching of election results across the nation in favour of the APC as now abundantly exposed in the pictorial and video evidence of compromised results sheets in many parts of the Country.
“Several shreds of evidence abound in States across the six Geo-Political Zones of the Country where winning figures lawfully scored by the PDP were switched in favour of the APC; where results sheet from polling centers won by the PDP were destroyed and replaced with fake results sheets in which APC was allocated unearned winning figures.
“This further explains why the INEC Chairman rushed to announce and declare manipulated results that were not transmitted directly from the Polling Units to INEC’s Server/Website and ignored the objections and complaints raised during the collation of results in deliberate violation of the provisions of Section 64 (4) (a) and (b), 64 (6) (a)-(d), and 65 (1) (c) of the Electoral Act. 2022.
“For emphasis, while Section 64 (4) (a) and (b) expressly require the INEC Chairman as the Chief Returning Officer to announce only results that were transmitted directly from the Polling Units, Sections 64 (6) (a)-(d) and 65 (1) (c) compel INEC, in the case of disputes, complaints or objections regarding a collated result or the result of an election from any Polling Unit, to take steps including the review of collation where they are made contrary to the provisions of the Law, Regulations, Guidelines and Manual issued for the election.”
“By flagrantly violating these provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as INEC’s Regulations, Guidelines and Manual for the election, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu is not only culpable of serious electoral offence but also betrayed, thrashed and threw overboard the trust, confidence and hope Nigerians reposed in him and the Electoral Commission to deliver a free, fair and credible election in the country,” the party said.
The party argued that the continued stay of the INEC chairman in the office is “injurious to the integrity of the Electoral Commission”, the credibility of the electoral process, and “assault” to “the sensibility of Nigerians and the International Community.”
“Moreover, Prof Mahmood Yakubu’s stay in office is capable of paving the way for the suppression, tampering and destruction of critical evidence required to further expose the infractions and violations by the Commission at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
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“This fear is evidenced by the desperation by INEC to reconfigure the BVAS devices to erase vital data contained therein.
“Consequently, the PDP demands that the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu immediately step down from office, having abused the confidence and dashed the hope of millions of Nigerians as well as political parties and the International Community for a free, fair and credible election,” the statement added.
The party said Nigerians no longer have faith in the capacity and integrity of the INEC chairman “to manage a democratic institution as sensitive as INEC.”
It further said that the INEC chairman’s exit “will be the first step towards sanitizing the Electoral Commission and restoring the confidence of Nigerians especially as the nation prepares for the rescheduled March 18, 2023, Governorship and State Assembly elections.”
The PDP called on the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) to immediately begin investigations into the alleged electoral violations and manipulations by INEC “with the view to prosecuting Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and other officials of the Commission for electoral offences.”
It also charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to launch an investigation into allegations that certain top officials of INEC were heavily compromised financially to manipulate the electoral process.
The party said that it noted reports of international bodies disapproving the actions of the INEC leadership in the conduct of the 25th February election and the effect on the country’s democracy, and called on the international community to “immediately impose sanctions including travel restrictions on the INEC Chairman and other top officials of the Commission over their roles in compromising democracy in Nigeria.
“The PDP calls on Nigerians to remain calm but very alert as our Party continues to take steps to retrieve our mandate at the Presidential Election Tribunal,” the statement added.