From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), Accountability and Democratic Project (ADEP), has written to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), requesting that the Bauchi governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique Baba (retd), be disqualified from participating in the 2023 governorship elections.
The reason, according to the group, was because it identified irregularities in the EC 9 form submitted to INEC by the candidate, stressing the fact that the immediate-past Chief of Air Staff filed in incomplete information and withheld important credentials that should be part and parcel of his EC 9 form submitted to INEC.
It said that a cursory look at the EC 9 form submitted by Abubakar Sadique Baba indicated that the candidate claimed he was born in Azare, Bauchi State, but didn’t supply the remaining part of the information as requested by the EC 9 form.
“He also claimed to have attended St. Paul’s Primary School and finished in 1973, and also graduated from a school he never supplied in the EC 9 form. Curiously, however, the candidate did not annex documents to prove all the claims that are vital to his overall credentials,” it added.
The letter which was addressed to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, and signed by the Executive Director of the organisation, Ahmad Muhammad, added, “as a grassroots organisation with a bias for the advancement of democracy through sustaining democratic practice and advancing growth of democratic ethos in Nigeria, we are happy with the close and faithful implementation of the historic Electoral Act by your Commission (INEC), and your resolve to rise above the shenanigans of mischievous political actors.
“Our organisation agrees with INEC under your leadership that cleaning up our electoral process is a sure way of hastening the development of our country through the production of the right leadership at all levels.
“As part of our scrutiny of candidates aspiring for political offices for the February 2023 elections, we are currently going through submissions made by candidates to your Commission as required by law.
“In the cause of this, we have found, with concerns, the submissions made by the candidate of APC for the governorship of Bauchi State, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique Baba (rtd) where he filed in incomplete information and withheld important credentials that should be part and parcel of his EC 9.
“Surprisingly, however, the very document that should prove to us the citizenship of the candidate in question was also not supplied. Anybody reviewing the document is also left doubtful about the primary and secondary schools the candidate claimed to have attended, as there were no evidential documents to confirm that.
“We view this as a flagrant disregard of the Electoral Act and the INEC guidelines, as all candidates are clearly directed to attach all credentials they claim to possess to the EC 9 form. This deliberate omission also keeps us guessing if Mr Baba has anything he is hiding thus choosing to declare only a part of the credentials he claimed to possess which are necessary requirements for him to stand as a candidate in the upcoming election.
“It is in this light that we write your good office to draw your attention to this grave disregard for the law and ask that you apply the law appropriately by disqualifying the APC governorship candidate, Abubakar Sadique Baba.
“This call is hinged on the fact that the candidate is guilty of disregard for guidelines as clearly indicated, and for holding on information which he has sworn to possess. While hoping that you give expeditious effect to this request, in view of its importance, please accept our highest regards.”