The Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose has informed the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to in the first instance, purge itself of partisanship and election manipulations before seeking the establishment of Electoral Offences Tribunal.
He said, ‘INEC under the present dispensation is the number one electoral offender and that electoral reform without INEC neutrality is a mirage.’
Fayose further posited that any Electoral Offences Tribunal established under this present dispensation will only be used against opposition parties as the Department of States Services, Police, Armed forces and other agencies of the federal government were used during the Bayelsa and the Rivers States elections.
The governor in a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka while addressing the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu said, ‘Even though establishment of Electoral Offences Tribunal is not entirely a bad idea, but INEC as presently constituted does not encourage free, fair and violence-free election and it should worry Prof Yakubu that INEC as at today, is being referred to as Inconclusive National Electoral Commission because of the commission’s partisanship.
‘During the Rivers State rerun elections that INEC has been unable to conclude, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was missing on result sheets of over 230 polling units and up till now, all that INEC has been able to tell Nigerians was that the criminal omission of PDP in the result sheets was due to printers error. Was that not enough to cause violence?
‘The day President Buhari interfered with the internal administration of INEC by appointing Madam Amina Zakari, a National Commissioner, as Acting Chairperson of the commission, a title, and position unknown to the Constitution, INEC under the Buhari’s APC government lost its independence and its credibility was eroded.
‘The reality that INEC itself must therefore face is that members of President Buhari’s party, APC have become so emboldened to unleash violence on Nigerians during elections because they know that the president won’t lift a finger provided his party members are the ones perpetrating evil.
‘INEC must, therefore, seek to regain its lost independence and credibility before talking about punishing electoral offenders because as it is now, INEC is the number one electoral offender and promoter of electoral violence.’