Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has told the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Mahmood
Yakubu to first purge the electoral commission under him of partisanship and election manipulations before seeking the establishment of Electoral Offences Tribunal, saying; “INEC under the present dispensation is the number one electoral offender and that electoral reform without INEC neutrality is a mirage.”
He said any Electoral Offences Tribunal established under this present dispensation will only be used against opposition parties as the Department of States Services, Police, Armed forces and other agencies of the federal government were used during the Bayelsa and Rivers States elections.
Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere
Olayinka quoted the governor as saying that; “Even though
establishment of Electoral Offences Tribunal is not entirely a bad
idea, but INEC as presently constituted does not encourage free, fair and violence free election and it should worry Prof Yakubu that INEC
as at today, is being referred to as Inconclusive National Electoral
Commission because of the commission’s partisanship.”
The governor, who described electoral violence as a product of electoral injustice, said even President Buhari himself admitted his failure to conduct any free, fair and credible election since he assumed office.
He said; “During the Rivers State rerun elections that INEC has been
unable to conclude, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was missing on
result sheets of over 230 polling units and up till now, all what INEC
has been able to tell Nigerians was that the criminal omission of PDP
in the result sheets was due to printers error. Was that not enough to cause violence?”
While blaming President Buhari for eroding INEC independence, Governor
Fayose said; “The day President Buhari interfered with the internal
administration of INEC by appointing Madam Amina Zakari, a National
Commissioner, as Acting Chairperson of the commission, a title and
position unknown to the Constitution, INEC under the Buhari’s APC
government lost its independence and its credibility was eroded.
“The reality that INEC itself must therefore face is that members of
President Buhari’s party, APC have become so emboldened to unleash
violence on Nigerians during elections because they know that the
president won’t lift a finger provided his party members are the ones perpetrating evil.
“INEC must therefore seek to regain its lost independence and credibility before talking about punishing electoral offenders because as it is now, INEC is the number one electoral offender and promoter of electoral violence.”