When the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum last issued a communiqué, it was demanding President Buhari to sack INEC chair as the group believes the close relationship with the President will hinder the body from delivering a credible, bias-free election come 2019.
The group also noted that at no point in Nigeria’s history was the chairman of INEC of the same athnic stock the President except at this administration.
This time around, The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum has raised the alarm that the Independent National Electoral Commission has been involved in the registration of foreigners, especially from Niger Republic, to pave the way for electoral malpractices in 2019.
The forum, which stated this in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday, alleged that registration of foreigners could be one of the reasons why the Federal Government was in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi in the Niger Republic.
The leaders from the Middle Belt, South-South, South-East and South-West had met in Lagos on Friday and issued the communiqué titled, “Our case against 2019 elections preparations” on Sunday.
The leaders, who expressed concern about the 2019 general elections, restated their demand for the suspension of the current Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, pending the investigation of the underage voter scandal in Kano.
They restated their lack of confidence in the INEC chairman “whose conduct over the scandal of underage voters in Kano has shown a gross betrayal of public trust.”
The leaders alleged that intelligence report at their disposal had shown that INEC was registering Nigeriens and other foreigners for the purpose of voting in the 2019 elections.
They stated, “Equally worrisome is the intelligence report at our disposal that a large number of mercenary voters have been registered from neighbouring countries especially from Niger Republic under the continuous voter registration which could have been one of the reasons why the Federal Government is in a haste to construct a rail from Kano, through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic. Money has been appropriated for this in the 2018 budget.”
INEC has been embroiled in under age voter’s registration in Kano with pictorial evidence which the electoral body didn’t dispute and promised to investigate.