The Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) presidential candidate, Obiageli Ezekwesili, has alleged that the federal government is conniving with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to rig the forthcoming general elections.
The candidate was reacting to the recent appointment of Amina Zakari as head of the centre for collation of presidential election results.
Ezekwesili, therefore asked the chairman of “the INEC chairman (Mahmood Yakubu) and the Presidency to reverse this shameful posting immediately and safeguard the integrity of the 2019 elections.
In a press statement, she said: “The INEC chairman appears to have bowed to pressure from the Presidency.”
She described Amina Zakari’s appointment as political corruption, “considering that having a relation of the President who is a contestant in the February 2019 presidential election amounts to an apparent Conflict-of-Interest situation.”
Ezekwesili further described as “repugnant deployment of Zakari to the collation centres suggests a brazen attempt to ease rigging for the APC’s candidate in the elections.”
To ensure peace and give all the candidates a level playing ground, the ACPN presidential candidate asked the INEC to restore confidence in the management of the collation process by reversing the appointment of Mrs Zakari as chairperson.
“Zakari can be assigned another task farther away from tasks that can hinder electoral integrity,” Mrs Ezekwesili added.
“The President and INEC chairman should know that this extremely repugnant and provocative act of political corruption that seeks to undermine our democracy and destabilise the country shall be resisted by all patriotic Nigerians.
“I caution the INEC chairman and the Presidency to reverse this shameful posting immediately and safeguard the integrity of the 2019 elections.
“Worse still, under President Buhari, the public has been alarmed at the gross misuse of security establishments to compromise elections in places like Osun and Ekiti states. Any attempt to repeat such abuse of state institutions in the 2019 elections for the benefit of the ruling APC must be averted to avoid throwing the country into political crisis.
“The President should lead a discussion among candidates and parties to set the rules that will guide the security forces in the 2019 elections.
“Ideally, the military and police establishments should be pulled out of the involvement in our elections, considering the damning evidences of how their personnel disenfranchised voters in Osun and Ekiti governorship elections.
“I call on the international community to join the Nigerian people and prevail on President Buhari to practise the Peace Accord, with exemplary actions, in order to build confidence in the process he ebulliently led.” Mrs Ezekwesili added,
“Nigerians want a new direction and the President must avoid actions that suggest he wishes to suppress the aspirations of the people in the 2019 elections.
“Any action of the President that aims at giving him an advantage in the February elections amounts to political corruption since he is using his political power for personal gain as a candidate”, the statement said.