Accuse South East, North West APC Govs of intimidating Commission’s leadership.
Coalition of United Political Parties, Chairmen of political parties (registered and deregistered), and heads of political associations on Wednesday alleged that plans were being hatched by the ruling All Progressive Congress to intimidate the Independent National Electoral Commission into abandoning the use of electronic transmission and uploading of election results, and to deactivate the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machine from the commission’s server.
The political parties in a joint press conference in Abuja claimed they had intercepted intelligence of an alleged fresh plot against the 2023 election and this time being coordinated by leading figures of the ruling APC, APC Governors led by a South East APC Governor and another from the North West who are working with their colleagues to perfect a plot to intimidate INEC leadership.
Speaking on their behalf, CUPP spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere, said the plot involved the use of security agencies, the Senate, and the court to cause a leadership crisis and change that will see to the removal of the Commission’s top leadership led by Mahmud Yakubu and the appointment of a compromised acting Chairman who will ruin the credibility of the 2023 election.
He said the party chairmen will storm USA, UK, and other foreign embassies to submit petitions and alert them of the alleged new conspiracy, adding that any plan to remove Mahmud Yakubu and top officials of INEC will be vehemently resisted.
Ugochinyere said, “We, the Chairmen and leaders of different political parties here (AA, Labour, PDP, ADC, APP ETC), candidates of different parties, CSOS, and leaders of Opposition Coalition CUPP categorically state that any plan to destabilize INEC and force the top officials of the Commission including the INEC Chairman out of office, whether with trumped-up charges, manipulated security report, instigated or coordinated parliamentary investigation, a hurriedly obtained injunction from the court, a Code of Conduct Bureau inquiry or an arrest and hurried arraignment will not be accepted. We repeat, these will not be accepted by Nigerian political parties, party leaders, civil societies, and the generality of Nigerians.
“Any further actions in this direction will be playing with fire and a direct affront and challenge to Nigerian voters and the entire political parties, and it will be resisted vehemently. Read the mind, eyes, soul, and heart and hear the voice of the opposition. It will not augur well for anyone who continues with this alleged evil plot. We are also informed that there is a plot to cause a leadership change in the Commission’s top hierarchy and cause a sweeping change with less than 140 days to the elections. We have been tipped off by our intelligence both inside APC and the camp of the Governors in the conspiracy, and we can state that the opposition is in receipt of information that the INEC leadership, especially senior officials, are being put under immense pressure to abandon the use of the BVAS machine.”
The CUPP threatens to immediately approach the Court to seek judicial redress to ensure the electoral process is not derailed, adding, “the suit, when filed, will restrain the Federal Government, DSS, Nigeria Police, National Assembly, ICPC, CCB, EFCC, CCT, and Attorney General of the Federation, from stopping the use of BIVAS, deactivating BIVAS from the INEC Server, removing of the INEC Chairman, arresting or using an ex parte injunction to suspend him, suspending him from office under any guise or any form of detention with the intention to remove him from acting as INEC Chairman.
“The BIVAS is an electronic machine that will be used to electronically accredit all voters for the 2023 general election and also be used to transmit election results from the Polling Units direct to the INEC central server.
“The BVAS had been deployed in the last three cycle governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun States and has been observed to have generally improved the credibility of the elections as the perennial problems associated with snatching of result sheets and changing of results at collation centres has been solved,” the CUPP said.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Tinubu/Shettima Campaign Organisation and Minister of State, Labour, Festus Keyamo, has dismissed the allegations.
He dismissed the opposition accusation that APC is mounting pressure on INEC to stop the use of BVAS saying, “That is nonsense talk. There has been absolutely no occasion where the APC either by the NWC or any of its levels of leadership put any kind of pressure on INEC. Those who are sensing defeat are already looking for reasons for that defeat. But I tell you that it is one of the excuses they are trying to generate to accommodate their defeat but you know their defeat is imminent.”