.No plans to interfere in election – Presidency
AMAECHI PERCY ONYEJEKWE, Awka
A Rights Group , International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety ) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) conduct free, fair and transparent re-run elections in the six states declared ‘inconclusive’ by the electoral umpire in the March 9 governorship and States Houses of assembly elections.
The re-run election has been scheduled to hold March 23, 2019.
Intersociety expressed the fear that any presidential influence to rig elections in the six states might set out violence that would consequently, impact negatively on the country.
Board of Trustees Chairman of Intersociety, Emeka Umeagbalasi, stated this in an interview with Daily Champion in Awka, on Sunday.
Intersociety which described the Presidential and House of Representatives election as riddled with irregularities also urged INEC to allow the vote of Nigerians count.
“Having carefully followed and observed the totality of negative events that trailed the 2019 rigged polls including the “inconclusiveness” of six State Governorship polls and “suspension” of that of Rivers State; all caused by the integrity challenged INEC and the Buhari Government’s rigging machineries; it is our deepest fear that Kano, Sokoto, Benue and other northern States with “inconclusive” polls are likely going to be set on fire particularly on 23rd March 2019 or immediately after.
On the transfer of Kano State Commissioner of Police , Mohammed Wakili, the Rights group alleged that “Wakili was put on sudden transfer to Zamfara for being honest and refusing to be corrupted, resisting rigging and insisting on free, fair, popular and credible poll in Kano State. Despite being hailed by most Nigerians for making himself a beacon of democracy, “the presidential riggers council” thought otherwise and as widely expected; got him punished for preventing rigging. Yet the Buhari Administration is “fighting corruption” in Nigeria.
The group added that “the action of the Presidency is a further confirmation of undue interference and intensification of its alleged rigging roles in the 2019 General Polls. It is so bad that the Presidency has openly taken responsibility in the rigging of the 2019 Polls; yet the same Presidency “wants to leave a legacy of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria”.
Intersociety lamented that “till date, INEC is unable to explain to Nigerians and others why elections were declared “suspended” or “inconclusive” in the opposition strongholds while in the APC controlled areas, same polls were freely and conclusively declared. What has been irrevocably and irrefutably established from the just held 2019 General Polls is that the central ruling party was so unpopular and failed in governance that it was majorly rejected at polls across the country; forcing it to resort to quipping up religious sentiments and armada of rigging including brutal militarization and military aided ballot box and result sheet snatching and doctoring. But for allegedly quipping up radical Islamism sentiments in the North, the Party would have failed woefully in the Region during the Presidential Poll”
Meanwhile, the Presidency has pledged not to interfere in the gubernatorial elections, declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, as inconclusive, even though there had been subtle pressure for it to do so.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, gave the assurance on Sunday, in Abuja, where he also criticised political gladiators some of who have accused President Muhammadu Buhari of plot to interfere with the upcoming elections scheduled for March 8 23.
It would be recalled that since the announcement by INEC, declaring elections in states like Bauchi, Benue, Rivers, Adamawa among others as inconclusive, the Presidential Villa has been agog with high profile politicians from the ruling party, including governors of the party, apparently to court favour from the presidency.
Last week Bauchi and Adamawa state governors, Mohammed Abubakar and Bindow Jibrilla paid unscheduled visit to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, allegedly to lobby him to turn things in their favour.
Shehu, in his statement on behalf of the presidency, cautioned against a lot of the hate spewing, incitement to violence and the polarizing statements by so-called political leaders as a number of states brace up for supplementary elections prescribed by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
He said the Presidency also rejects unfair and ridiculous criticisms of President Buhari’s apparent disinterest in the upcoming elections in some states by party members who wrongfully assume that the President will abuse power by changing results to favour them.
According to him, past Presidents of Nigeria were known to interfere in inconclusive elections, and that is why party members appear to be upset that the same thing is not happening now, but President Buhari is a different kind of leader. He swore to defend the constitution and will not veer off from that.
He stressed that the constitution of Nigeria gives the President no such powers. It is unfair and ridiculous to criticise President Buhari for not going against the constitution.
“Party members in states where there will be supplementary elections then need to be reminded that they need to work hard to earn their people’s votes, rather than expect President Buhari to manipulate INEC in their favour.
“Interestingly, while members of the ruling APC party were criticising the President for not interfering on their behalf, members of the opposition were condemning the President based on their assumptions that he would definitely interfere, as many in the opposition did while in power.
“Under President Buhari, INEC had been and will be completely independent throughout the elections, free from any interference.
“President Buhari is a man of conviction, and the manipulation of election results goes against everything he stands for INEC is completely in charge, “Shehu noted in his statement.
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