The southern and middle belt leaders forum are demanding the removal of Mahmoud Yakubu, INEC chairman, for “fear of rigging the election” in favour of President Buhari in 2019.
The group alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would not deliver free and fair elections in 2019 noting that “the bug of nepotism and sectionalism that this administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the commission.”
The forum said this at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday. Among those who attended the conference were by Edwin Clark, representing the south-south; Ayo Adebanjo, south-west; Chukwuemeka Ezeife, south-east; Dan Suleiman, middle belt; and Nkanga Idongesit, south-south.
Idongesit, the chairman of the Pan Niger Delta forum, who delivered the group’s position, argued that retaining the service chiefs who ought to have retired and keeping Yakubu as INEC chairman were suspicious. He added that this was in tandem with the narrative that they would play partisan roles in favour of the president.
“From 1960 till date, only President Muhammadu Buhari has been audacious to pick only people who are either his relations or of the same ethnic stock with him to lead the electoral bod. The Balewa government headed by a northerner appointed 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 from 1976-1979. ”When Dr Goodluck Jonathan came in from the south-south, he appointed Prof. Attahiru Jega from the north-west from June 2010-Oct. 2015.”
The group contended that it was only Buhari who appointed his relation from the north-west, Amina Zakari, as the acting INEC chairman when he became president in 2015.