… Describes Imo Gubernatorial Poll as ‘African magic’
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria HURIWA has called for a comprehensive overhaul of INEC’s legal framework to ensure its independence from government interference.
This is following the electoral malpractices witnessed during the recent off-cycle polls in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi states which it described as African Magic.
HURIWA in statement signed by its national coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, that cautioned the shameful electoral heist witnessed in last week polls could lead to voter apathy unless the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is reformed.
The right group also advocated for transparent appointments of INEC commissioners through public scrutiny by an independent body comprising individuals drawn from both private and public sectors.
The right group cited reports by YIAGA Africa which monitored elections in Imo state indicating cases of unverified results uploaded by INEC. The group claimed that these incidents were prevalent in Orsu, Okigwe, Oru East, and Orlu Local Government Areas (LGAs).
Yiaga reported that polling units did not hold elections in several areas including nine sampled polling units in Orsu LGA where voters were not informed about changes made to their polling unit location.
According to HURIWA: “INEC is populated by far too many electoral robbers so much so that it will take clinical overhauling of the personnel and injection of incorruptible managers for prospective voters not to boycott en masse any other election conducted by this same corrupt INEC.”
The group urged all committed patriots and lovers of constitutional democracy to call for immediate unbundling and reforms within INEC before irreparable damage was done.
HURIWA condemned what it described as a sham gubernatorial election held recently in Imo State where there was evidence suggesting All Progressives Congress (APC) had bought votes instead winning them fairly.
They questioned why security operatives colluded with non-state actors to truncate voting processes while calling on the hierarchy at INEC explain discrepancies surrounding pre-written result sheets circulated prior to Saturday’s poll.
Regarding Kogi State governorship election won by APC candidate Ahmed Usman Ododo despite acknowledged cases involving pre-recorded ballots before voting commenced;
HURIWA expressed shock at how quickly Returning Officer Prof Johnson Urame declared him winner even though initially considered declaring inconclusive due irregularities particularly around Ogori Magongo local government area where exercise faced suspension.
The Rights Group then wondered subsequently why fresh election dates had been set when earlier envisaged rerun aimed allowing 15k+ voters cast votes put aside following overwhelming support garnered Ododo making rerun theoretical exercise with APC candidate declared winner/governor-elect after leading surpassing margin required under Margin Lead Principle applied on returning officer’s discretion.
HURIWA urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu & National Assembly prioritize delivering critical reforms needed now more than ever especially since repeated misconducts may drive away registered voters permanently ending democratic process forevermore if left unchecked.