• Warns politicians against illegal campaign
From Iheanacho Nwosu and Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, yesterday declared that no amount of blackmail or pressure would stop the commission from prosecuting to the end, the recall timetable of Senator Dino Melaye.
He said the commission will go ahead with the recall process despite the furor that has trailed it in some quarters. He stressed that it is within the constitutional right of the electorate to elect or withdraw their political leaders.
The INEC boss stated this during a media parley in Abuja.
He said: “The matter is currently at the Appeal Court, I will not say much on it. What I can say is that we will get to the end of it. We want to show that the electorate have the right to elect leaders and can also recall leaders.”
INEC, last Thursday, withdrew its motion seeking an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, allowing it to serve the recall petition on Kogi West Senator, Melaye, through substituted means rather than personal service.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba struck out the motion after INEC’s lawyer, Mr. Yunus Ustaz (SAN), announced its withdrawal in court.
On the INEC staff who are being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Yakubu said the electoral body has never interfered in the probe. He said the commission will not shield any malpractice by its staff.
Meanwhile, INEC yesterday cautioned political parties and politicians against jumping the gun by campaigning ahead of the 2019 general elections when it has not given approval for such.
Chairman of the commission, Prof Yakubu, who issued the warning, also expressed concern over the growing voters’ apathy, which he said was pronounced in most of the elections conducted in Lagos.
Yakubu, who spoke in Abuja yesterday, said Lagos State has the highest number of uncollected voters’ cards, running into over one million. He assured Nigerians that their votes will count in every election conducted in the country. The INEC boss further revealed that although the commission has put every arrangement in place for the 2019 general elections, it will, however, learn from the experiences of the recent presidential elections in Kenya which was invalidated by the country’s Supreme Court.
“Let me state here that the only institution responsible for the release of time table for election has not done so, and that anything anybody is doing about that is outside the law. “Preparation for the 2019 general election is in top gear. The election project plan will be concluded next week and the budget for the conduct of the election will be rolled out next week.
“We are improving everyday, judging by the elections we conducted recently. We want to assure Nigerians that their votes will count.”
Yakubu pledged that the electoral body will do everything to deliver a free and fair election in Anambra and other states.