By Kayode Sanni-Arewa
The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was rather Machiavelian and raised further doubts about its sincerity in the electoral process, the manner it postponed the governorship and state assemblies elections three days after it secured a court's approval to reconfigure the Commission's Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS.
“PANDEF notes that it was less than 72 hours to the scheduled governorship and State Assembly elections before the Court of Appeal, Abuja, granted INEC the relief they sought, on the grounds that if not given they will not be able to hold the elections.
“They gave the impression the elections would hold as was scheduled, but after the judgment, they suddenly shifted the elections; this has created room for more misgiving
PANDEF recalls that various reputable organizations, both local and international, had scored the performance of the INEC in the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election as ‘far below expectations'.
“PANDEF cites that reports of BVAS defects, INEC's failure to promptly upload results to its portal from the various polling units across the country, with excuses of technical glitches, undermined the outcome of the electoral process.
“PANDEF insists that these occurrences are totally unacceptable, particularly, given the repeated assurances of President Muhammadu Buhari and INEC of free, fair and credible elections.
“Though the same election has resulted in a National Assembly that somewhat reflects the new political outlook of the country.
“Accordingly, with the huge amount of tax payers' money that was disposed to the process, the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, should be personally held responsible for the observed lapses and inconsistencies.
‘PANDEF further notes that Forum's preferred candidate in the presidential election, His Excellency, Peter Obi, of the Labour Party (LP) has also expressed dissatisfaction with the results declared by the INEC, and is already in court
“We shall, therefore, withhold further comments on the subject matter, until a final decision is made by the courts.
“Meanwhile, PANDEF urges all who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the February 25 election to seek judicial redress, and not take laws into their hands, in order not to exacerbate tension in the country.
“PANDEF hopes that the courts would dispense justice without fear or favour. Nigeria is greater than any individual or group.
“Finally, it is pertinent to demand that the INEC should reassure Nigerians of its readiness to ensure that the lapses and inconsistencies observed during the February 25 election will not reoccur in the Governorship and State Assembly elections, now shifted to Saturday, March 18.”