PER to Buhari: Investigate plot to remove INEC chair, suspend BVAS 

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Ahead of the 2023 general election, a frontline Civil Society Organisations, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER) has asked President Muhammadu Buhari, to urgently set up a team to investigate alleged plot by some politicians to suspend the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and remove the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmopd Yakubu.

The election monitoring body said the move becomes necessary bearing in mind the promise made by the President at an international stage recently that he will ensure a free and fair election in 2023 elections.

The call for investigation is coming following the recent revelation by the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) that some politicians who are not comfortable with the development in the process leading to the forthcoming elections were secretly working to frustrate it.

Addressing a press conference Tuesday in Abuja, Chairman of the body, Enzenwa Nwagwu, said politicians in collusion with even some elements within INEC and the security agents were behind the plot to scuttle the reforms already put in place by the current leadership of the electoral umpire.

According to Nwagwu, if the citizens are not careful our investment in consolidating this democracy can be reversed. And that for me is the big challenge for 2023. The threats of reversal of all the gains, incremental gains that we have made to restore power back to the citizens of the country, through the polling units.

“I think that the currents INEC leadership has, for me, put in place, a legacy hat you can’t erase, in the sense that it has played itself completely out of any relevance in determining who wins elections. It has successfully restored power back to the people. Power to elect has returned back to the polling units.

“But that has triggered a lot of reaction from politicians who are completely absent in any conversation about reforms. What that means is that there seems to be a spotlights on electronic transmission of results. There seems to be a lot of interests around the BVAS and these are the game changers for 2023. 

“The President and Commander in Chief has already said that he is going to leave a legacy of electoral integrity. If a congress of political parties make an allegation. I expect that the President should commission an investigation into those allegations. And make the outcomes public.

“So it is calling on the President to rein in the security agencies  to align them with his vision of a legacy of electoral integrity. He, himself being a beneficiary of that. He was a beneficiary of that. 

“From 2007 when President Ya’adua said the election that brought him to power was flawed, we started making an awkward journey of progress in our electoral cycle. 

“We are seeing real manifests vicious attack on those progress that we have made and we cannot keep quiet. The kind of breathing on INEC has never happened before. This is the INEC chairman that has been taken to the Code of Conduct, that has been invited to this or that. All of that is meant to harass them (INEC). In Imo state, INEC officials are being harassed, detained, sent to jail.”

While calling on Nigerians to speak out against those who were plotting to reverse all the gains made by the INEC, Nwagwu said: “Nigerians have a responsibilit to protect an institutions that have shown that they have capacity to guarantee free, fair, credible elections. And that is why I started by the fact that we have a responsibility to understand that the Mahmoud’s Commission has given Nigerians power and it is our responsibility to protect that power that has been given to us.”

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