22 January 2019

Nigeria: We Agree With Obasanjo On Credible Elections, Says INEC

Photo: Premium Times
President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo attending the African Union summit taking place at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ahead of this year's general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the commission agrees with former President Olusegun Obasanjo's views on the polls, saying his letter was well received.

Speaking yesterday on Channels TV programme, Lunch Time Politics, Chief Press Secretary to Chairman of INEC, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said, "We all read the statement issued by the former president yesterday. I think Obasanjo is entitled to his own opinion, but one thing is clear, the allegations against INEC in the statement do not reflect the true position of today's INEC.

"Today's INEC is not in the business of rigging elections and we have demonstrated that with over 190 different elections we have conducted since 2015. The 2019 election is the most well-planned in the history of the commission and we have a good reason; we are coming from 2015 where we had a good election and we have been building on the successes of that exercise."

On the use of card readers to authenticate voters and identity cards to be issued by INEC to party officials, he said: "As far as conducting credible election is concerned, we are on the same page with Obasanjo.

"In our guidelines, smart card readers must be used. The guideline we issued recently clearly stated that and all electoral officials know that the smart card readers must be used to authenticate the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) at the polling units. You cannot vote if you don't have a PVC and you cannot vote if your name is not on the register."

On calls for National Commissioner, Amina Zakari, to step aside, Oyekanmi said, the agitation was coming from only one zone, adding: "We have explained over and over again that Zakari is an INEC National Commissioner, appointed by the Federal Government following National Assembly's advice.

"There are processes for removing national commissioners, which is similar to the processes of removing a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC). It is beyond INEC powers to remove a national commissioner.

"The Chairman has the power to assign any of his appointees to specific roles and we are not going to share that role with anybody. I think the misinformation about Zakari is unfair and we have taken time to explain the role she is going to play during the general elections," he stated.

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