Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has said that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, not President Muhammadu Buhari, should be held responsible if anything go wrong in the country following its alleged inability to follow its own guidelines for the 2023 general elections.
The CNPP, in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, noted that President Buhari has done everything humanly possible to ensure a free, fair, and credible general elections but the failure of INEC to follow its electoral guidelines.
The CNPP spoke while reacting to the verdict of the Court of Appeal, Abuja granting approval to INEC to reconfigure the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for the governorship and state house of assembly elections and the eventual postponement of the state elections earlier scheduled for March 11, 2023.
The CNPP noted that “if INEC ends up tampering with the information in the BVAS machines or erases evidence of what actually transpired during the now contentious presidential election, it may lead to a disaster the country should not be allowed to happen to Nigeria and Nigerians.”
According to the CNPP, “INEC should have foreseen the fact that since it the introduced technology in the conduct of the 2023 general elections, litigants would always apply for the inspection of materials used in the conduct of elections.
“For INEC to seek an order of the Court to reconfigure the BVAS machines without due inspection of their raw data and certified true copies (CTC) of them issued to parties wishing to obtain the information is a recipe for avoidable crisis.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has not blame if anything goes wrong as a result of the move by INEC. The chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu should be solely held responsible.
“It is strange that INEC, which failed to upload election results from the polling units to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) would seek to reconfigure the BVAS while litigations are being initiated by disputing political parties that felt cheated by virtue of the failure of the Commission to upload results of the elections in real-time from the polling units”.
On the postponed governorship and state legislative elections, the CNPP wondered why INEC rushed to conduct the presidential and national assembly elections “knowing that it will be unable to upload the results from the polling units.
“We call on Nigerians and the International Community to hold INEC to account for whatever crisis that may emanate from its actions and/or inactions as President Buhari did his part by signing the amended electoral 2022 and deploying all the security agencies to ensure that we held the elections in peaceful environment.
“INEC Chairman’s CHATHAM House lecture expressly assured Nigerians and the International Community of the Commission’s readiness to ensure a free, fair and credible elections but the same INEC has continued to create doubts about its lack of adequate preparations for the 2023 general elections.
“Unfortunately, INEC failed to halt the collation of results of the 2023 presidential and National Assembly elections even when Nigerians complained that the result were not being uploaded to the INEC IREV portal in real-time. The commission went ahead to manually collate and announce the results and took a whole week to slowly upload many mutilated results, creating wide suspension that the outcomes were doctored. And to make matters worse, INEC sought to reconfigure the BVAS amid allegations of rigging”, the CNPP stated.