A group, South-south Emerging Leaders’ Forum (SELF) has warned against a subterranean plot by some highly placed politicians to rig the 2023 general elections, beginning with the forthcoming Edo State governorship election.
The South-south forum, in a statement made available Wednesday in Abuja, by its Convener Barrister Preye Wilson, said the arrowhead of the plot has commenced moves aimed at compromising the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to return the APC to power in 2023.
He revealed that a renewal of tenure is being dangled before the Chairman of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu as bait to get him to play ball.
Prof. Yakubu was appointed as Chairman of the INEC by President Muhammadu Buhari on 21 October 2015. His tenure is due to expire on October 20 this year.
Section 3(1) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Establishment, etc.) Act 2010 (as amended) provides that “the chairman and members of the commission shall each hold office for a period of five years and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in their letters of appointment.”
The Forum further disclosed that credible intelligence available to them, a top member of the National Assembly leadership has held a preliminary session with the INEC boss to “discuss the proposal and present the terms.”
He said that the INEC boss has been requested to show commitment to the cause by returning the candidate of the APC as the winner of the September 19, 2020 governorship election in Edo state.
The group said the leader of the highly secretive plot has pledged to facilitate Yakubu’s reappointment as INEC boss for another term of five years after he must have delivered Edo state to the APC in demonstration of good faith.
“There is a plot by some politicians in the ruling party to ensure the return of the INEC chairman for a second tenure.
“They have held a meeting with the INEC chairman where it was stated that his tenure would soon be over but will be allowed to have a second term on the condition that he returns the APC in 2023.
“To be sure that he would not renege on the agreement, they have asked the INEC chairman to deliver Edo state in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
“This will prove that he will play ball in 2023 and as such, he will be recommended to the President, General Muhammadu Buhari, through his Chief of staff to be allowed to come back for a second term.
“With this information at our disposal, it is clear that the INEC chairman is already compromised and to this effect, the Edo State Governorship election is compromised.
“We, therefore call on Nigerians at home and abroad, the international community, United Nations, United States, United Kingdom, European Union, etc., to be vigilant and impress it on the APC government that they will one day be held accountable for their actions. We are watching!”