The demand made by the Labour Party (LP), through its Director General of the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, for the resignation of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has been labeled as baseless and unfortunate by the Action Alliance (AA) and the Action Peoples Party (APP).
In a statement released Thursday evening, Barrister Kenneth Udeze, the National Chairman of the Action Alliance (AA), accused the Labour Party of unjustly attacking the INEC chairman after failing to prove their case at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal. Udeze stated that the Labour Party and its public representatives are attempting to divert public attention from the fact that their candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, did not win the 2023 presidential election and had no realistic chance of winning.
Udeze further emphasized that litigants in various election petition tribunals across the country rely on the electoral reforms implemented by INEC to present their cases. He pointed out the irony of the Labour Party depending on the innovations introduced by the INEC chairman while simultaneously criticizing and targeting him.
Udeze acknowledged that INEC, under the leadership of Mahmood, has implemented significant reforms to enhance the electoral process in Nigeria.
Similarly, the Action Peoples Party (APP) expressed disappointment in how INEC has become an easy target for the political class to manipulate or direct their grievances toward. The party’s acting National Chairman, Barrister Uche Nnadi, called on the Labour Party to await the decision of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) and avoid needlessly inciting the Nigerian public against an exceptional public servant, primarily due to their anticipated loss in the election.
Nnadi noted that INEC facilities were targeted and attacked during the election buildup, particularly in the South East region, with minimal response or condemnation from individuals like Mr. Osuntokun. While acknowledging a few instances where politicians influenced INEC staff to manipulate the process, Nnadi emphasized that the Commission has demonstrated a commitment to prosecuting those responsible for such acts once they have been established.
In summary, the Action Alliance (AA) and the Action Peoples Party (APP) criticized the Labour Party’s call to remove the INEC Chairman, considering it baseless and unfortunate. They highlighted the importance of the electoral reforms introduced by INEC. They defended the integrity of the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, stating that the Labour Party’s claims were unfounded and aimed at diverting attention from their electoral defeat.