From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide and the Northern Emancipation Network (NEN) have faulted calls by Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, for the removal of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
Olisa, a former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), had advised President Bola Tinubu to fire the INEC boss.
Agbakoba had praised key decisions already taken by the Tinubu administration, including the sack of CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, as well as EFCC chairman, Bawa Abdulrasheed and the uniform exchange rate but went a step further to urge him to also sack Yakubu.
In a statement made available to reporters on Saturday by the National President of the Igbo group, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, he urged Tibunu not to “throw away the baby with the bath water’.
Okwu said though he agreed with Agbakoba on the other decisions taken by the Tinubu presidency, there was no need for Yakubu’s sack at this material time.
Additionally, an Arewa group in a statement by its Chairman, Sulaiman Abbah, said it is unfortunate that Agbakoba, a SAN, from whom ordinary sanity and decency are expected, “should be so blinded by prejudice as not to acknowledge the almost universal recognition of the February 2023 election as most credible, free and fair.
“How can anybody in his right senses, fail to see credibility and fairness in an election in which Bola Tinubu for instance, lost his major enclave of Lagos, or where Buhari, a sitting president at that time, lost his two main catchment states of Katsina and Kaduna.
“It is ridiculous, unfortunate and embarrassing that Agbakoba and his ilk would not be fair as to see the simple fairness in an election that saw for instance, the ruling APC lost the governorship offices of Kano and Zamfara States to the opposition.
“Without the need to give people like Agbakoba any reason to feel important, we join the vast majority of responsible Nigerians and the civilized global community in acknowledging that the elections conducted by Mahmood remain the most fair, free and credible in recent history of Nigeria’s political development, ” Abbah said.
Ohanaeze youth leader was of the view that “despite the shortcomings, we witnessed during the 2023 general elections, it was one of the best elections ever conducted in Nigeria’s history.
“In the same election conducted by Yakubu, we had sitting governors lose elections across the country; we had popular National Assembly members lost election. This did not happen before in the country’s election.
“We are not making excuses for the lapses during the elections, but it is wrong to totally disparage the efforts of the commission.
“There is no perfect election in any part of the world, even the United States, which prides itself as the capital of world democracy.”
Okwu further advised that any attempt to remove Yakubu at this time was ill-timed, stressing that “aggrieved candidates are before the election tribunals venting their anger; how then can we remove the INEC chairman on whose table the buck stops?
“Mahmood should be allowed to remain as the INEC helmsman at least pending the conclusion of the cases.”
He further advised that efforts should be made to improve on the gains made during the 2023 general elections.
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