By Gabriel Kekong
A group of pro-democracy and human rights communities under the various civil society groups have warned those they addressed as ‘failed politicians’ to desist from a continuous campaign of calumny against the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu.
The group also comprised those accredited for Election Observer Mission by the UK Electoral Commission. Equally some of us served as Members of INEC Monitoring and Observation Board Anambra and FCT Area Council Election 2010 said the way blackmailers are going about their campaign of calumny against Yakubu well-meaning Nigerians must raise their voices against them.
In a statement issued on Sunday and jointly signed by Comrade Wale Adegoke of Herald for Anti Corruption and Public Morality, Comrade Farouk Umar of Transparency Center Network, Comrade Tony Chigbo of Conscience Group and Comrade Musa Abdullahi of Citizens League for the Protection of Democracy, the group condemned the campaign against him, adding that the allegations against him are being orchestrated as part of a grand design to prevent his second confirmation by the senate.
The group said only a few serious minded democrats can continue to ignore the tantrums being propagated by desperate political elements in continuation of their dirt fight against Prof Yakubu for refusal to compromise with them.
The statement reads in part, “From all available information, it has become clear that purveyors of campaign of distraction against Prof. Yakubu are in cahoots with some forces nursing a dark agenda to subvert the electoral process as we are gradually building up to the 2023 general election.
The group noted that the blackmailers are doing that with the view to forcing him out of office therefore undermining the credibility of the recent electoral system anchored by Prof Yakubu
“We contend that the recent onslaught against Prof Yakubu is nothing but a hoax disguised as a clarion call to duty. It is part of the larger agenda by cash and carry politicians to smuggle their anointed candidate through the back door as an election rigging instrument.
“ It is on record that Prof Yakubu’s ingenuity and unreserved commitment towards electoral fidelity and excellence remains the driving force of INEC under his leadership.
“Their game plan is to sow the seed of discord in order to impose a lily livered character ready to compromise the interest of the country with powers. The idea for the installation of a puppet is to create an avenue for the foreign powers to have access to the electoral data base and fingerprint of all registered voters in Nigeria, they believe that Prof Yakubu can never patronize such an unpatriotic agenda of pretender kings desperately craving for imaginary empires.
The group insisted that contrary to insinuations and deliberate misconceptions being orchestrated by agents of stagnation and distraction, Prof Yakubu instituted a culture of openness, due process and transparency in the Commission beyond reproach.
It could be recalled that, majority of Nigerians, stakeholders in the electoral process and Chairmen of various Electoral Commission across West Africa have described Prof Yakubu as a reformer imbued with competence and efficiency worthy of emulation, having held him in very high esteem and considered him eminently qualified of such positions.
“We feel duty bound, as citizens of Nigeria to challenge his blackmailers to state the reason why they are advertising ignorance and being allergic to innovative ideas enriched by Yakubu that seek to render growth?”
The group continued, “As an educationist and strict disciplinarian, the electoral management body under his watch exhibited excellent character for the good of the beloved country. It is principle that rules his engagement in the day to day administration of the Commission consisting men of wavering and time tested human rights crusaders and experts in the field of electoral righteousness in the person of Barr Festus Okoye and Prof Sam Egwu among others.
“The merchants of blackmail are up in arms with intent to circumvent efforts by Prof Yakubu to further bring sanity and due process in the process of revolutionising the day to administration of the electoral umpires.This, we found very disturbing, despicable, and unwarranted.
“We resolve to keep the records straight and to call the politicians to discard their revisionist, unpatriotic and COVID-19 inspired game plan forth with.
However, the group said that it is against this background that they have to pass a vote of confidence in Prof Yakubu in view of revolution and transparency he has instituted in the Commission.
“We are, therefore, seizing this medium to encourage the Senate of the Federal Republic to confirm his reappointment without further delay. We urge him never to give up reformist agenda and never to get distracted on his duty post,” the statement concluded.