Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has been asked to step down by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over claims that he manipulated the results of the presidential election on February 25, 2023.
In the close election, the party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, came in second place behind the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. The party also asked the police and the Department of State Service (DSS) to arrest and investigate Yakubu.
This comes just a few days after leaders of the PDP, led by Atiku, and their supporters marched to the INEC headquarters in Abuja to show how displeased they were with how the election turned out.
The commission said Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) got 8,794,726 votes, more than Atiku and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who got 6,984,520 and 6,101,533 votes, respectively, to come in second and third.
But Atiku and Obi refused to accept the results, saying there were problems with how the election was run, like INEC’s refusal to post the results on its website before announcing a winner. They have gone to the Presidential Election Tribunal (PET) to get the results overturned.
Debo Ologunagba, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, said at a press conference on Friday, March 10, 2023, that the party had enough proof to show that Yakubu had manipulated the election results to help the ruling party.
He said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (INEC), the police, and the DSS should all investigate the Chairman. He also asked that the international community punish Yakubu for “undermining democracy.”
Ologunagba said, “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has further reviewed the widely-condemned infractions, brazen violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 and criminal manipulation and alteration of election results by the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to subvert the Will of Nigerians in the February 25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
“The PDP has also reviewed the latest scheme by INEC to reconfigure the BVAS devices, erase and destroy evidence of its manipulation of the Presidential election, deny Nigerians and political parties, especially our Party and Candidate, access to relevant information required to prosecute our case at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
“From all indications, the INEC under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu was compromised to rig the election by brazenly violating the provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as INEC’s Regulations, Guidelines and Manual issued for the election.
“It is also obvious that the Commission under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu deliberately sabotaged the uploading and transmission of results directly from the Polling Units to give room for the criminal mutilation, alteration and switching of election results across the nation in favour of the APC as now abundantly exposed in the pictorial and video evidence of compromised results sheets in many parts of the country.
“Several evidence abounds in States across the six Geo-Political Zones of the Country where winning figures lawfully scored by the PDP were switched in favour of the APC; where results sheet from polling centres won by the PDP were destroyed and replaced with fake results sheets in which APC was allocated unearned winning figures.
“This further explains why the INEC Chairman rushed to announce and declare manipulated results that were not transmitted directly from the Polling Units to INEC’s Server/Website and ignored the objections and complaints raised during the collation of results in deliberate violation of the provisions of Section 64 (4) (a) and (b), 64 (6) (a)-(d), and 65 (1) (c) of the Electoral Act. 2022.
“For emphasis, while Section 64 (4) (a) and (b) expressly require the INEC Chairman as the Chief Returning Officer to announce only results that were transmitted directly from the Polling Units, Sections 64 (6) (a)-(d) and 65 (1) (c) compel INEC, in the case of disputes, complaints or objections regarding a collated result or the result of an election from any Polling Unit, to take steps including the review of collation where they are made contrary to the provisions of the Law, Regulations, Guidelines and Manual issued for the election.
“By flagrantly violating these provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 as well as INEC’s Regulations, Guidelines and Manual for the election, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu is not only culpable of serious electoral offence but also betrayed, thrashed and threw overboard the trust, confidence and hope Nigerians reposed in him and the Electoral Commission to deliver a free, fair and credible election in the country.
“The continuing stay of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu in office as Chairman of INEC is therefore vexatious, injurious to the integrity of the Electoral Commission and an unpardonable assault to the credibility of our electoral process, the sensibility of Nigerians and the International Community.
“Moreover, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s stay in office is capable of paving the way for the suppression, tampering and destruction of critical evidence required to further expose the infractions and violations by the commission at the Presidential Election Tribunal.
“This fear is evidenced by the desperation by INEC to reconfigure the BVAS devices to erase vital data contained therein.
“Consequently, the PDP demands that the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, immediately step down from office, having abused the confidence and dashed the hope of millions of Nigerians as well as political parties and the International Community for a free, fair and credible election.
“Nigerians no longer have faith in Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s capacity and integrity to manage a democracy institution as sensitive as INEC.
“Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s exit as Chairman of INEC will be the first step towards sanitizing the Electoral Commission and restoring the confidence of Nigerians, especially as the nation prepares for the rescheduled March 18, 2023, Governorship and State Assembly elections.
“Furthermore, the PDP demands that the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) immediately commence investigations into the electoral violations and manipulations by INEC with the view to prosecuting Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and other officials of the commission for electoral offences.
“In the same vein, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should open investigation into allegations that certain top officials of INEC were heavily compromised financially to manipulate the electoral process.
“The PDP notes the reports of various International Bodies in disapproval of actions by the leadership of INEC in undermining democracy in the conduct of the February 25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly elections.
“In that regard, the PDP calls on the International Community to immediately impose sanctions including travel restrictions on the INEC Chairman and other top officials of the Commission over their roles in compromising democracy in Nigeria.”