The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has condemned smear campaign by some faceless group against the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Yabagi Sani, National Chairman, IPAC, said this at INEC quarterly meeting with leaders of political parties in Abuja on Wednesday.
Sani passed a Vote of Confidence on INEC and reiterated IPAC continuous commitment to the longstanding cooperation and mutually beneficial relationship with the commission.
“I want to use this occasion to also reaffirm the confidence of IPAC in the leadership of INEC for its consistent demonstration of diligence, uncommon zeal and patriotism in the pursuit of the agency’s statutory mandate.
“On the basis of our evaluation that INEC has been well on track, the leadership of IPAC additionally, wishes to use this occasion to condemn the emerging antics and smear campaign by certain shadowy and cowardly figures.
“Figures who clearly have embarked on the treacherous and unpatriotic conspiracy of reversing the outstanding landmarks, that INEC has recorded in recent years in the annals of the nation’s electoral history,” Sani said.
According to the IPAC chairman, the real object of the spear campaign being directed at the person of the INEC chairman and the commission is merely a decoy.
“The real target of the machinations is the circumvention of the deployment of the Biomodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).
“The target is also the electronic transfer of results and the other security devices INEC has deftly and painstakingly put in place to enhance the integrity of the electoral process,’’ he said.
Sani said that the spurious allegations being orchestrated especially in the online platforms were part of the strategies to prepare the grounds for a planned onslaught to achieve some nefarious goal within legal framework.
He said that the plan was also aimed at blackmailing and intimidating the INEC chairman to surrender by compromising the stance of the commission on the stringent, airtight security measures against the maladies of rigging.
Sani also said that it was a plot to make the INEC boss give way to other electoral malpractices that had perennially tarnished the integrity of elections in the country in the past.
“However, we believe that they will not have their way, no matter their desperation and whatever are their pranks and machinations.
“The use of technology in the conduct of elections in Nigeria has become sacrosanct and every player in the country’s power game must come to terms with the new reality that they can no longer rig election brazenly and with impunity,” he said.
The IPAC boss urged the INEC chairman to count on the usual support of IPAC, the goodwill and backing of most citizens of the country in the circumstance.
“We urge you to remain steadfast and strong in the consciousness that, you have your hard-earned reputation to protect.
“That the eyes of the entire nation and indeed, the wider global community are keenly focused on you.
“At the end of the day, your choice on the issues currently at stake, will go far in defining your legacy, long after our generation. In other words, history beckons on you.
“May the Almighty God guide and provide you with the needed strength and wisdom to weather the storm,’’ Sani said.
The IPAC chairman also expressed concern on the emerging negative signals against the peaceful and credible 2023 general election.
These, according to him, included the use of money with impunity, during the last off-season governorship election in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun in breach of the provisions of the Electoral Act and other extant laws.
“Also, IPAC leadership has noted the spikes in the use of divisive languages and hate speeches by several chieftains and spokespersons of some of the political parties in the mass media and at political rallies, the IPAC chairman said.
He said that efforts were ongoing by IPAC to address irresponsible and reckless utterances capable of heating up the polity with the potential of igniting mutual hate, animosity and violence in the country.
“To deepen the roots of democracy and good governance, violence in all its ramifications must be uprooted from the political space.
“We are in this regard, calling on the nation’s security agencies and other relevant bodies to, gear up in the performance of their statutory responsibilities professionally and objectively,” he added.