11th March, 2023
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has threatened to sue the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for defaming his character.
The PDP had called for the resignation of Yakubu for allegedly violating the provisions of the Electoral Act and alleged manipulation and alteration of the February 25 presidential election results.
The PDP also demanded that the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Directorate of State Services immediately commence investigations into the electoral violations and manipulations by INEC with the view to prosecuting Yakubu and other INEC officials for electoral offences.
PDP’s spokesman, Debo Ologunagba said, “The PDP demands that the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, immediately steps 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.”
But the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi said the PDP should go to court and present the bagful of evidence it claims to have rather than subjecting the process to a media trial.
He said the latest call by the PDP, just like it did previously for the resignation of Yakubu as Chairman of the INEC was misplaced, saying interestingly, the PDP did not provide any convincing evidence to back up all the spurious allegations it listed as Prof. Yakubu’s ‘infractions’.
Oyekanmi said to be sure, the PDP failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the allegations of Yakubu’s ‘brazen violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines, and criminal manipulation and alteration of election results.
He added that the PDP also did not give the evidence to prove its claims that Yakubu ‘sabotaged the uploading and transmission of results from polling units.
Oyekanmi stated that the ‘several evidences’ that the PDP claimed abounded in the six geo-political zones of the country where winning figures scored by the PDP were switched in favour of the APC, were also not laid bare.
“To be sure, the Commission does not rig elections. Rather, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS has, since its introduction, among other innovations, ensured the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring that only properly registered voters are allowed to vote on Election Day.
“It is common knowledge that the PDP has rejected the outcome of the presidential election and has vowed to challenge it in court.
“The path of honour for the party, therefore, is to pursue its case in court, armed with all the evidences at its disposal and wait for the court’s decision,” he said.
Oyekanmi said going about canvassing the same issues the party intended to plead in court on the pages of newspapers and calling for the resignation of the INEC Chairman, was like putting the cart before the horse.
He said the PDP is hereby reminded that making libelous allegations against the person of the INEC Chairman is actionable and warned that party should henceforth desist from the practice.