By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
ABUJA- The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has passed vote of confidence on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on its preparations for the 2023 general election.
Yabagi Sani, National Chairman, IPAC, said this at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, at the end of an emergency general council meeting.
Sani, represented by IPAC National Secretary, Yusuf Dantalle, said that the meeting discussed crucial national issues and evaluated emerging threats to the 2023 general election.
He said that the issues included plots to remove INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, from office on frivolous allegations, as well as various attacks on INEC’s offices in the country.
Sani said that the attacks had led to destruction of sensitive, non-sensitive electoral materials and other property including Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), ballot boxes, voting cubicles etc.
He said in spite the unprecedented attacks on INEC facilities and the huge costs of replacing them, INEC had remained resolute in deploying technology in the conduct of credible and inclusive general election for peaceful transfer of power.
“INEC’s position on deployment of technology in the conduct of the 2023 general election is in tandem with the stance of IPAC.
“Accordingly, the entire political Chairmen under the umbrella of IPAC reaffirms its confidence in the INEC led by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to conduct the 2023 general election.
“IPAC is satisfied with the preparations, arrangements and measures taken so far by the commission to conduct free, fair, credible and transparent, inclusive, peaceful and generally acceptable election.
“This is particularly its decision to deploy the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), an electronic device designed to read permanent voter cards and authenticate voters using the voters’ fingerprints,” he said.
He said IPAC was in support of INEC determination to make use of BVAS and eliminate incident forms during accreditation on election day, which he said had prevented electoral malpractices.
Sani said that the attacks on Yakubu and INEC facilities were apparently carried out by those who benefited from grossly flawed elections and want to maintain the status quo that impeded the nation’s democracy and impoverished the populace.
He said that several attempts had been made to remove Yakubu from office following his determination to conduct credible election.
He said that the latest was the failed originating summon at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by one Somadike Uzoabaka against the INEC Chairman.
Sani commended the judiciary for upholding the rule of law and for quashing the “frivolous, spurious, unsubstantiated, wide and baseless allegations’’ against Yakubu by political hirelings and their sponsors who were afraid of free and fair elections.
“IPAC warns these reactionary forces to desist from their plots to truncate the nation’s emerging democracy. National interest supersedes primordial interests.
“IPAC will resist any attempt to jeopardize the ongoing electoral process that will deepen and strengthen our civil rule.
“All patriotic Nigerians are in support of INEC’s efforts to sanitize the nation’s electoral process and conduct credible elections that will reflect the will and mandate of the people.
“The era of election rigging, vote buying, ballot snatching and stuffing and falsification of results is over as we collectively take steps to protect and defend our hard earned democracy since May 29, 1999.
“ This time, every vote must be counted and count in the overall result. We must get it right and move the nation forward in the quest for sustainable democracy in Nigeria,” he said.
Sani expressed concern over security challenge in the country as well as alleged using of touts to destroy campaign materials and opposition party offices by some governors in their states.
He called on security agents to be proactive and ensure adequate protection of lives and property before, during and after the election.
“The heightened politically motivated killings and attacks are worrisome and should stop immediately for citizens to discharge their civic duties. Security agents should fish out the perpetrators of these heinous crimes and their sponsors to face justice.
“ The need for enhanced intelligence gathering, sharing and utilization amongst security agencies to curb acts of political violence cannot be overemphasized in this crucial general election that will redefine the destiny of the nation,” he said.
He urged Nigerians to collect their Permanent Voter Cards and vote wisely in 20223 general election. (NAN)