Posted by News Express | 4 January 2019 | 709 times
Prominent non-government organisation and a pro-democracy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has condemned as reprehensible and the clearest signs that the forthcoming presidential poll has already been technically manipulated, the appointment of Mrs Amina Zakari, a biological relation of President Muhammadu Buhari, by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Yakubu Mahmood, to head the core committee to coordinate the collation of the results of the general election in which her uncle and the incumbent President Buhari is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
HURIWA rates the job of Head of Collation Committee as same with the centrality of the role of a central referee in a football game.
The rights group therefore asked the National Assembly to declare a state of electoral emergency and pass a vote-of-no-confidence on the hierarchy of the INEC which would translate into the dissolution of the election management board and the appointment of a brand new team of impartial and patriotic Nigerians to head the electoral umpire and conduct free, fair, transparent and unbiased presidential and general election next month. This, the rights group opined, is the only way to insulate the election from the already compromised preparation put in place by the President Buhari’s handpicked INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood.
In a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said: “We have just ended a six hours long national emergency parley in Abuja of our core national leaders and the leaderships of over 35 non-governmental organisations and our attention dovetailed into the emerging but very extensively ethically damaging national emergency now occasioned by the illegal and immoral appointment of Mrs Zakari, the biological blood relation of President Buhari to head the collation of results team for the most strategic national election in Nigeria’s nascent democracy in which her uncle President Buhari is desperately interested in winning a second tenure and is hotly contested by some distinguished Nigerians. This aberration of this heavily compromised INEC is like making a sister of a goal keeper of one of the two competing football teams as the central referee of the most competitive finalists’ match and you expect that there will be fair play and justice.
“Doing such a morally damaged action is like match fixing. What has happened today in INEC with the ill-advised decision of Yakubu Mahmood to give the most sensitive appointment to the biological blood sibling of a major contender in the same electoral contest amounts to the electoral equivalent of match fixing just like how some rogue elements fix football matches with very extensively damaging implications for the game of professional football.
“This current Chairman of INEC is surely an agent of destabilisatoon and electoral manipulation. We have on many occasions asked for the removal of the duo of the Chairman of INEC and the niece of the President, Mrs Amina, who is a National Commissioner in INEC because we have always maintained that she has played less than dignified roles as INEC’s National Commissioner in the last three years to such an extent that almost all of the elections conducted within the period in which she played pivotal supervisory roles, have always ended up been manipulated in favour of the political platform of her uncle and his political party, the APC, which tendencies have whittled down the integrity and credibility of the electoral process in the country.
“We are giving the Chairman of INEC 48 hours to rescind this toxic decision or the organised civil society community will meet and take a range of actions to draw the attention of the global community to this criminality and outright rigging that has already started to unfold.”
HURIWA called on Nigerians of good conscience to reject this latest appointment by INEC and on the National Assembly to rescue the February presidential election “from the clutches of hawks in the Presidency bent on rigging the election by all means and foisting an unpopular winner on Nigerians,” adding that unless this is done, the election and its eventual result may snowball into long drawn civil strife with dire consequences for the survival of constitutional democracy.
The rights group noted that Nigeria is “about to be destroyed through carefully choreographed electoral heist and the world watches without acting to stave off the danger which could constitute the greatest threats to Africa and the world.”
Meanwhile, the main opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has described Zakari’s appointment as “outright manipulation.” PDP also challenged the President to excuse his niece from such a critical assignment if he’s actually committed to free, fair and credible elections.
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