INEC Replies Obasanjo: We’re not under pressure to compromise polls

From left: Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; INEC National Commissioners, Mr Festus Okoye; Dr Mustafa Lecky and Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, during the visit of Long Term ECOWAS Observer's delegation to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00705/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN
FILE: From left: Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; INEC National Commissioners, Mr Festus Okoye; Dr Mustafa Lecky and Mrs May Agbamuche-Mbu, during the visit of Long Term ECOWAS Observer's delegation to INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday (21/1/19). 00705/21/1/2019/Hogan Bassey/BJO/NAN

The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, said that the commission was not under pressure to do what was wrong.

A former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, had on Sunday, expressed doubt about INEC’s integrity to conduct free, fair and credible elections.

Mr Obasanjo had also attacked President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing him of plotting to rig the general elections.

Mr Buhari is seeking re-election on the platform of his party, the ruling APC.

In an open letter titled “Point for Concern and Action” which he distributed to journalists at a press conference held at his house at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, Mr Obasanjo also alleged that the president was acting like a former military dictator, Sani Abacha.

“Buhari has succeeded in deceiving us the first time and we will be fools to allow ourselves to be deceived the second time,” Mr Obasanjo wrote inter alia.

Mr Yakubu, in obvious reference to the concerns, made the clarification at a meeting with the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, and other senior police officers on Monday in Abuja.

“This is to be expected in an election year when people make all sorts of insinuations.

“I want to tell you that we as a commission have never been under any pressure to do what is wrong.

“We will never compromise our integrity to do what the law says that we shouldn’t and for the 2019 general elections, I want to assure and reassure Nigerians that votes and nothing but votes will count.

“With this level of cooperation from the security agencies, I want to assure you that Nigerians will have a pleasant voting experience in 2019,” he said.

He said that the nation was looking forward to INEC and the Nigeria Police Force to conduct credible elections.

Mr Yakubu said that the media would be provided unimpeded access to the commission during the elections.

He called for a close working relationship between the commission and the police at all levels.

“The more we collaborate with the police, the easier the prosecution of election offenders.

“We are going to consult the security agencies for the deployment of personnel for the elections.

“We must work in partnership to give Nigerians a pleasant election in the upcoming elections, our responsibility is to serve the Nigerian people,” he said.

Earlier, the Acting IGP said that the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), has been directed to set up special investigation teams.

He said that the teams would take into custody and undertake detailed investigation of all arrested electoral offenders across the country.

Mr Adamu said the teams shall liaise with INEC towards the prompt processing of the case files of the offenders for prosecution.

He said that the police would respect and protect the rights of all citizens of the country regardless of their socio-economic status.

The presidential and National Assembly elections come up on February 16, while the governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections will hold on March 2.

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