Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council Worldwide and the Northern Emancipation Network have faulted calls for the removal of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Olisa Agbakoba, a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, had called on President Bola Tinubu to fire the INEC Chairman.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria who applauded key decisions taken so far by the Tinubu administration including the sack of Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, as well as the chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Bawa Abdul-rasheed, went further to urge the president to sack the INEC’s Chairman.
However, in a statement issued to newsmen in Kaduna on Saturday, the National President of the Ohaneze Nd’Igbo Youth Council, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, urged President Tibunu not to “throw away the baby with the bath water.”
Okwu noted that though he agreed with Agbakoba on the other decisions taken by the Tinubu presidency, there was no need for Yakubu’s sack at the moment.
This was just as the Chairman of the Northern Emancipation Network, Sulaiman Abbah, described Agbakoba’s call for the sack of INEC’s Chairman as unfortunate.
According to the Ohanaeze youth leader, despite the shortcomings witnessed during the 2023 general elections, it was one of the best elections ever conducted in Nigeria’s history.
He said, “In the same election conducted by Yakubu, we had sitting governors lose elections across the country; we had popular National Assembly members lose the election. This did not happen before in the country’s election.
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“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.
“Any attempt to remove Yakubu at this time was ill-timed as aggrieved candidates are before the election tribunals ventilating their anger; how then can we remove the INEC chairman on whose table the buck stops?
“Yakubu should be allowed to remain as the INEC helmsman at least pending the conclusion of the cases.”
On his part, the NEN’s Chairman noted that Agbakoba’s call for the sack of the INEC chairman might be a result of the defeat suffered by his preferred party, the Labour Party during the last elections in the country.
He said, “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 to opposition parties.
“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.
“We join the vast majority of responsible Nigerians and the civilized global community in acknowledging that the elections conducted by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, remain the most fair, free and credible in the recent history of Nigeria’s political development.”