• Olusegun Obasanjo challenges Nigeria's electoral body in a daring letter released on Sunday.
  • He says he has serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election citing what happened at the Osun State gubernatorial election.
  • Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, says the electoral body is full prepared to conduct the 2019 elections.

Nigeria's former president, Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday, said he doubts the integrity and impartiality of the country's electoral umpire to conduct a fair, free and credible 2019 election.

The former president stated this in an open letter released and distributed to journalists at the press conference held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, on Sunday, January 20, 2018, and titled, “ Point for Concern and Action”.

He said he personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election citing what happened at the Osun State gubernatorial election.

No voting with temporary voter card, INEC warns voters
No voting with temporary voter card, INEC warns voters

“I am concerned as a Democrat who believes that with the faithful and diligent practice of democracy, we can get over most of our political problems and move steadfastly and surefootedly on the course of stability, unity of purpose, socio-economic growth and progress for all.

“Democracy becomes a sham if elections are carried out by people who should be impartial and neutral umpires, but who show no integrity, acting with blatant partiality, duplicity and imbecility. For all Democrats and those carrying out the process of elections, there must be the red line that must not be crossed in tactics and practices of democracy.

“I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election. And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it? From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary. The unnecessary rerun, if viewed as a test-run for a larger general election, would lead people to expect incidences of deliberately contrived, broken or non-working voting machines or card readers, confusion of voters as to their voting stations, inadequate supply of voting materials to designated places, long line to discourage voters and turning blind eyes to favour the blue-eye political party of INEC because the Commission’s hands will be tied to enable hatchet men and women to perform their unwholesome assignment.

Poster of President Muhammadu Buhari and vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
Poster of President Muhammadu Buhari and vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
AFP

“The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out. I know that I am not alone in being sceptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise, “ he wrote.

Obasanjo, an elder statesman, who ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2007, asked Nigerians to be vigilance to fight to safeguard their votes and defend democracy.

Mahmood Yakubu says the electoral body is ready to conduct 2019 elections

Recently, Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), expressed confidence that the commission will not postpone the general elections.

Yakubu said INEC is “fully prepared for the election,” claiming that the Osun election had a low turn out because it was an off election season.