Peeved by the call for the resignation of the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu by the People's Democratic Party, PDP, National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman and Vice- Presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria, ACPN, Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima in this interview stressed the need for all political parties to cooperate with INEC for a free, fair and credible election in 2019. Excerpts:
You are the National Chairman of ACPN and also the Presidential running mate. Why?
The Presidential election is a path we are familiar with in ACPN. We ran in 2015 and our impact was strongly felt. Even though our party didn't win the election, but we made a landmark. With Dr. Oby Ezekwesili's determination to make me her running mate, I believe we are going to make a huge impact by winning the 2019 election.
What is your take on PDP's calls for the resignation of the INEC Chairman?
We in ACPN have not seen anything wrong that will warrant Professor Mahmood Yakubu's resignation. PDP may be having their own reason at this crucial period. Is the most important thing for the INEC Chairman to resign? No! We don't want that. We have constant and close working relationship with the INEC.
We are aware that INEC has put in place machinery to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in 2019 even if there are some things that are supposed to be added but this cannot be the fault of the electoral umpire. For any party to be calling for the resignation of the INEC Chairman is a misplacement of priority!
If Professor Yakubu resigns, who will conduct the election? If you are passing a vote of no confidence on Prof. Yakubu that means you are passing a vote of no confidence on the whole electoral process and we have just about three months to the election. It's a misplaced propaganda on the part of the PDP and ACPN is not part of it. If you force Yakubu that has a tenured appointment, then who will conduct the election if they want election to hold in 2019?
How will you describe the INEC Chairman's relationship with other political parties in Nigeria?
As a party, we have been relating with Professor Mahmood for the past two years and I see him to be a very transparent person, different from the past INEC chairmen that we had in this country. Mahmood most times calls us to seek for our opinion and we have enjoyed wonderful working cooperation with him. As the national chairman of ACPN, I think I have confidence in him until the contrary is proved.
But the the PDP Chairman doubted Professor Yakubu's transparency recently and gave reasons why he should resign...
They should give him the benefit of doubt. You don't poison the well and allow people to drink from it. You cannot say because you have been put at the helm of affairs you now want the structure to be destroyed. No! It is left for all of us to give him the desired cooperation he needs for him to give us a free, fair and credible election in 2019. However, apart from the PDP, I have never heard any other party calling for Mahmood's resignation as INEC chairman. Let's give Mahmood a chance to prove himself as he has said it repeatedly that he does not have interest in the system.
Don't you think the authenticity of the election result will be faulted if it's conducted by Professor Yakubu?
When you say somebody should be removed, that means you are doubting the integrity of that person! But not at this crucial point in our transition, it is uncalled for and it is unwarranted, except they do not want election to hold in 2019. If you are afraid of the coming election, you will want all the system destroyed and collapsed. We want election to hold, It is through the 2019 election that we can prove our capacity to Nigerians but if the elections do not hold, it will be chaos.