INEC chairman threatens to sue PDP for defamation

CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has threatened to sue officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for libel.

Yakubu was reacting to a call by the PDP requesting him to step down on allegation of “criminal manipulation and alteration of election results” of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections in favour of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC).

According to the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, “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.”

However, the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a statement he issued on Friday, March 10, described the calls by PDP as “libellous allegations.”

Oyekanmi advised the Nigeria’s main opposition party to desist from maligning the character of the INEC boss or risk being sued for libel.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu

He said, “To be sure, the PDP failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the allegations of Yakubu’s ‘brazen violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines, and criminal manipulation and alteration of election results.’

“The PDP also did not give the evidence to prove its claims that Prof. Yakubu ‘sabotaged the uploading and transmission of results from polling units.’

“Besides, the ‘several evidences’ that the PDP claimed ‘abound in the six geo-political zones of the country where winning figures scored by the PDP were switched in favour of the APC’ were also not laid bare.”




     

     

    He noted that since the party rejected the outcome of the presidential election and has vowed to challenge it in court, “the path of honour for the party, therefore, is to pursue its case in court, armed with all the evidences at its disposal and wait for the court’s decision.”

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    Oyekanmi added, “To be sure, the Commission does not rig elections. Rather, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has, since its introduction, among other innovations, ensured the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring that only properly registered voters are allowed to vote on Election Day.

    “But going about canvassing the same issues the party intends to plead in court on the pages of newspapers and calling for the resignation of the INEC Chairman is like putting the cart before the horse.

    “More importantly, the PDP is hereby reminded that making libellous allegations against the person of the INEC Chairman is actionable. The party should henceforth desist from the practice.”

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    Sinafi Omanga is a journalist with The ICIR. His Twitter handle is @OmangaSinafi and Email: [email protected]

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