Chris Steven, Abuja
Ahead of the governorship election in Bayelsa state, a group, Niger Delta Patriotic Coalition has called on the newly appointed Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Professor Mahmud Yakubu to desist from any attempt to connive with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to rig the election.
This call, the group said has become necessary following reports that Professsor Yakubu was appointed to reclaim the Niger Delta region for the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Addressing a press conference in Abuja on Sunday, leader of the Coalition, Pastor Godknows Okauru said negative criticisms that greeted the appointment of the new INEC Chairman is a serious cause for worry having heard from several quarters that some stalwarts of the ruling party have vowed to reclaim the oil rich Niger Delta region through every possible means.
He said there are ominous signs in the air to confirm their fears and the need to call Professor Yakubu to order is necessary to sustain democratic gains.
Okauru said President Muhammadu Buhari should remember that he is the President of the entire country and not a select few who might have supported or sympathized with his political goals in the past.
He urged the President to provide a level playing field for all citizens to excise their constitutional franchise according to existing rules and regulations guiding the conduct of transparent, credible, free and fair election anywhere in the world.
His words: ” President Buhari who is the greatest beneficiary of his predecessor’s democratic credentials has so many great lessons to learn and to prove to Nigerians that he is now a born again democrat, this is expected to play out in both his official and private conduct during the forth coming Gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa where his party’s candidates are backing on the use of the electoral body and the security agencies to rig the elections in their favour.”
” The stories that plans have been made to reclaim the oil rich South-south region into the gold of the All Progressive Congress through the collaboration of state apparatus is very worrisome , and it is left to the newly appointed Chairman of INEC to emulate his predecessor and shun such anti-democratic activities by conducting himself in a manner that will be acceptable to all parties involved irrespective of political affiliation”.
” Let it be known to those highly placed individuals that are perfecting plans to subvert the will of the people that both local and international observers have signified interest to monitor the elections and any attempt to perpetuate electoral fraud shall be met with a string opposition from the electorates and men of goodwill”