Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), an NGO on Sunday rejected agitations that INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu should resign his appointment.
Its National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, stated in Lagos that the conspiracy against INEC after the Feb. 25 presidential and National Assembly polls was baseless.
“We have very closely observed INEC and the management of the election process from the period before and after the presidential and National Assembly so far.
“We are convinced that there were forces opposed to the commendable effort of INEC and we are aware there is a deliberate ploy to distract the electoral umpire.
“INEC has given the 2023 elections its best shot by training and retraining of election officials and using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) successfully in 90 per cent of cases.
“As with elections anywhere in the world, INEC could not have done a perfect job because in reality it cannot be completely infallible,’’ Shettima stated.
He noted that those calling for the resignation of Yakubu after the Feb. 25 presidential and National Assembly elections planned to destabilise the country.
Shettima noted that the field performance of INEC’s BVAS and the outcome of the polls should leave no-one in doubt that the Commission conducted near-perfect elections.
The AYCF’s national president said those crying wolf and alleging rigging at the Feb. 25 polls needed to have a rethink.
He explained that this was because Sen. Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost the presidential election in his assumed fiefdom of Lagos State where Labour Party won in many areas.
He added that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party lost his immediate constituency of Adamawa making it clear that the Feb. 25 presidential election was the most free and fair since 1999.
“It is pointless crying foul where there is none. We call on men and women of good conscience to support efforts by INEC to bequeath a good electoral legacy to the country.
“It is obvious that INEC officials made enormous sacrifices under the current economic and national security challenges to hold successful presidential and National Assembly elections,’’ he stressed.
Shettima said that the group would resist all the forces seeking to undermine the current democratic process as being upheld by INEC.
“We make bold to say that we are key stakeholders in the current democracy because of our history of struggle to end military dictatorship and sow the seed of civilian governance.
“We are also aware that forces working against INEC leadership do not mean well for Nigeria and we are prepared, any day, to stop them from their destabilisation agenda.
“INEC must be allowed to deliver on its mandate without any hindrance.
“We are also prepared to ensure that peace is preserved under a democratic atmosphere because we gave our mental and physical abilities to ensure that democracy is where it is today,’’ he stressed.
He stated that no-one should truncate democracy and commended the doggedness of INEC officials for delivering on their assignment.
“We reject any deliberate ploy to cause crisis in the name of unsubstantiated allegations of rigging.
“We urge the civil society to be careful about acting the script of candidates who lost at the just-concluded elections and are trying to engineer thuggery, killings and arson.
“We all have a duty as Nigerians to be patriotic enough to speak the truth and stand by peace, unity and national stability,’’ Shettima stressed.