IPAC raises alarm over attempt to destabilize electoral system through judiciary

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Wants investigation of $2 billion bribe allegation against INEC boss be properly done

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja 

THE Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, on Friday, raised the alarm over alleged plot by some persons to use the judiciary to destabilize the electoral process. 

IPAC also claimed that some elements were working towards frustrating the screening of Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu. 

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari had recently reappointed Prof. Yakubu for another five year tenure after the expiration of his first tenure and has forwarded the name to the senate for screening and confirmation. 

The reappointment has attracted mixed reactions among the political class and has even divided the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC as some members have kicked against it, while some have applauded the reappointment. 

Meantime, IPAC has described as fake news the report by an online media platform alleging that the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan received the sum of $2 billion from Prof Mahmood to aid his appointment. 

Briefing journalists in Abuja, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, Chairman of IPAC, warned against heating up the polity, saying that it would not serve the nation any good. 

Dr. Nzenwa said Nigerians have the right to question, complain, investigate, query activities of INEC and Prof. Yakubu’s tenure but also advised that such should be done in a proper manner. 

He said, “On February 10, 2020 when we took the bold step of rallying ourselves together to promote the mutual interest of the 18 registered  political parties after the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC de-listment we were resolved to ensure that stakeholders and forces bent on eroding gains made in the electoral process and system are checked and made to align  with broader effort to improve the electoral process and ensure that we continue to have inclusive, peaceful, credible, free, fair and transparent polls in the country.

“We were clear, firm and resolute that we would work harmoniously with all stakeholders including the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, and this informed why when we observed the rancorous build up to the Edo and Ondo Gubernatorial Polls we alerted the nation on August 11, 2020, calling on Nigerians to eschew electoral violence and stop the politics of kill and Go.

“It is gratifying to note that the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC call was heeded by both INEC, on the need to conduct credible election, especially in  Edo, and on politicians and other stakeholders to stop overheating the polity. We have never ceased in doing this.

“Events in the last few days in our polity demands intervention of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC to support in steering things aright, and also to alert Nigerians of the insidious plot to unsettle the polity through destabilizing the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and scuttle the reform instituted by the former National Chairman, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu who has stepped down from the Commission but who President Mohammadu Buhari re-appointed and transmitted confirmation to the Senate.

“What we can’t take away is that the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC under Professor Mahmood Yakubu achieved respectable results during his first tenure. 

“The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC was happy with Mahmoods’ reappointment and made this clear in its congratulatory message on October 30, 2020. We noted unambiguously that the positive technology and digitization trajectory he set for the Commission remains impressive with reformation agenda he plans for the political process and system before expiration of his first tenure. However, these laudable achievement is being disparaged by forces who will stop at nothing to ensure that the country do not move forward.

“We have reached the point where we must jettison political differences and stand for Nigeria. The dishonorable tendency to pull every thing down if it does not favour ones predilection or suits ones’ whims and caprices is leading many to indulge in acts that mocks the senses and drains the soul. Some Nigerians are it again to unsettle the polity and halt screening of the INEC Chairman Nominee, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

“Following announcement of the reappointment of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu for a second term in office as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which received widespread support across party lines, little did we know that a few desperate stakeholders including anti –progressive politicians were not happy and have conspired amongst themselves to hijack the legislative powers of the Senate to screen and confirm the nominee. 

“Same forces set afoot a deadly plot to procure a midnight court order to destabilize the electoral stability of the country and throw the electoral body into leadership vacuum. 

“This gambit spearheaded by those who claim to be  loyalists to Mr. President in the day time but wear a treacherous dress to undo the President and sabotage his agenda in pursuit of a desperate ambition to be president and governors in 2023. It is all about 2023 and how to hawkishly destroy in anything in sight that will stay in their ways.

“On 18th November, 2020, two hired hands purportedly filed a matter in the Federal High Court aimed at stopping the Senate from screening the nominee and nullifying the appointment made by the President citing that until the Police completes an imaginary criminal investigation, the screening should not take place. 

“This would seem normal to the ordinary eyes but it has been confirmed that the matter was filed, processed, assigned and dispatched to the judge on the same 18th day of November, 2020 that it was filed. Legally, these are processes that ordinarily take 2 weeks to complete. How fast our justice system now moves.”

He further said, “They had earlier surreptitiously filed a suit to seek an order to stop the screening at an FCT High Court but the courageous jurist before whom it came while rejecting their evil Exparte Motion to stop the screening of the INEC nominee restated the fact that no law court can stop internal parliamentary functions which have not been completed. 

“Having failed, they went to market again claiming to be shopping for any rogue judge who would accede to their evil plot.

“They have now filed same suit at the Federal High Court and got it processed, assigned and dispatched within minutes to another Judge court hoping to continue to pursue this diabolic mission. These elements and their backers want confusion and crisis to engulf our electoral space. 

“We are deeply concerned that moves of these nature should not swept under the carpet and be dismissed with a wave of the hand as doing so in the past have led to disastrous consequences for the polity. 

“Nigerians will recall that just before the 2019 elections, a former Chief Justice of Nigeria was removed in similar circumstances with an Exparte order filed, processed and heard on the same day by even a tribunal that only has quasi criminal jurisdiction. 

“We counsel strongly against this move as the country is still reeling from #ENDSARS protest that claimed many lives and destruction of several properties across the country.

“Efforts have been made in the past to reach out the Council in this bid to disavow Prof. Mahmood Yakubu nomination but we declined because we are convinced the stability of the electoral process and ongoing reforms by Prof. Yakubu are very promising and when fully implemented as it holds the key to unlocking our nation’s electoral challenges.

“Whilst IPAC will not stand in the way of any politician or stakeholder that desire to pursue his or her electoral ambition in 2023, the brutish manner many of them including very senior and close ministers and top aid(s) of President Mohammadu Buhari has become worrisome; everything is being thrown now to derail the polity even if it is to destroy the respectable achievements made by the electoral umpire and the scuttling of the screening of Prof. Mahmood Yakubus by the Senate. 

“IPAC also frown at use of media houses especially Sahara Reporter and others had on the same 18th day of November, 2020 mobilized the fake news online portal to publish very bland and unfounded allegations of bribery and corruption against Prof. Yakubu. 

“The Fake news portal alleged that the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan received the sum of $2 Billion from Prof Mahmood to aid his appointment. Overheating the polity in this manner will not serve the nation any good. 

“Nigerians has a right to question, complain, investigate, query activities of INEC and Prof. Mahmmood tenure but we call for this to be done in a proper manner. It is Nigeria’s right to do this

“We as the body of all registered political parties have unanimously accepted Prof. Mahmoods’ nomination and agreed to a speedy screening and nothing can change that.

“We therefore call on the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to personally investigate the processes filed in this case, the circumstances of the lightning speed processing and assignment of this case within minutes and order the transfer of this matter to any other judge of the Federal High Court as the events following the filing showed that the suit was guided to its present destination.”

IPAC called on the Senate to save the country and all its institutions, saying,” these present plots of desecration by speedily reconvening to consider, screen and confirm the nominee, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. This is needless tension that the non-confirmation has caused.” 

It further said, “We do not need these distractions that are capable of casting doubt credibility of the 2023 general election. This evil plot to hijack the Election Management Body prior to a general election is novel in our political atmosphere. We must not let this to happen. 

“The President has made a nomination which has enjoyed widespread applause both locally and internationally and the best we all can all do is to give support and not let these undertakers to have a job to do.” 

Vanguard News Nigeria 

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