Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) on Wednesday, said by keeping sensitive and non-sensitive election materials with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission has made its credibility and neutrality doubtable ahead of the February 25 and March 11 general elections.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, said it is a known fact that the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele is a registered member of the ruling All Progressives Congress and some proxies had obtained form for him to participate in the presidential primary of the party last June.
INEC Chairman, INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, on June 4, 2022, had subsequently said sensitive electoral materials would in the meantime no longer be routed through the CBN due to “current circumstances”.
However, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Festus Okoye, reportedly told The PUNCH that the commission has printed and delivered most of the sensitive materials, such as results and ballot papers, and kept them with the CBN for movement to the commission’s local government offices across the country.
He said INEC has taken delivery of the full complement of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System for the 176,606 polling units in Nigeria and this would be deployed across the 774 local government areas of the country.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “How does INEC expect Nigerians to trust them regarding their pledge to make election free and fair when it has swallowed its vomit not to deal with a politically tainted CBN whose governor is APC card carrying member? This volteface is shameful and should be challenged by the political parties through the courts.
“HURIWA in strong terms rejects the plan by INEC to keep election items like the BVAS in CBN’s custody. Nigerians cannot trust the results of such elections because the custodian of sensitive and non-sensitive election materials is a known APC member. All the other 17 opposition political parties should reject this plan by INEC and demand that the items be kept under a neutral entity to avoid a compromised poll.
“INEC should not make it easier for election-riggers to perpetuate their goal of sabotaging the electoral process and swaying the tide to their end for selfish victory. The time to act is now!”
February 15, 2023
Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko
National Coordinator – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA.