Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) cannot guarantee free and fair elections in 2019. This is the fear expressed by the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum.
The forum which cut accros all the regions in the South and Middle Belt noted the complaint of nepotism, sectionalism, tribal protection and religious intolerance that has bedeviled the Buhari administration. It claims that INEC is also plagued by same ills hence rendering it incompetent to deliver credible elections in the country.
In a press conference holding in Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital, and attended by Chief Edwin Clark, representing the South-South, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, South-West; Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, South-East; Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (retd.), Middle Belt; Air Commodore Nkanga Idongesit, South-South, and others, the forum demanded the removal of the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, noting that there were “accumulated indications” that he might rig the election in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari..
Idongesit, representing the South-South region, pointed out that since 1960 till date, only the current President, Muhammadu Buhari has been daring enough to pick only people who are either his relations or of the same ethnic group with him to lead the electoral body (INEC)
“The Balewa Government headed by a Northerner appointed Prof. Eyo Ita Esua from the South, who was in charge of the Federal Electoral Commission from 1960-66; Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba, set up the Federal Electoral Commission under Michael Ani (1976-1979). When Dr Goodluck Jonathan came in from the South-South, he appointed Prof. Attahiru Jega from the North-West (June 2010-Oct. 2015).”
it was only President Buhari who appointed his relation from the North-West, Mrs Amina Zakari, as the acting INEC Chairman when he became President in 2015 before he appointed Yakubu from the North-East as a substantive chairman.