A civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Monday demanded the removal of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, before the 2023 general elections in Nigeria to avert intractable chaos. The group urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to save Nigeria from witnessing a probable civil war which may be precipitated by rigging of the 2023 general elections; demanding the president and the NASS to “dissolve the heavily compromised, incompetent and irresponsible leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headed by Prof. Yakubu Mahmood. HURIWA decried that INEC has lost objectivity and neutrality status as electoral umpire and has become partisan.
The group also condemned the Police Service Commission for failing to contain the partisanship of the police in aiding and abating electoral malpractice and irregularities.
HURIWA was of the view that INEC railroaded APC into victory in Bayelsa State, thus, giving undeserved and purchased victories to APC in Kogi and Bayelsa states. HURIWA bemoaned that what took place in the two states was a total travesty of the electoral system, adding that they would not stand the test of time if Impunity and lawlessness were not the hallmark of the INEC.
HURIWA also advocated immediate adoption of the relevant portions of the electoral reform recommendations of a high profile panel of experts headed by former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Muhammed Uwais (rtd).
HURIWA also advocated the adoption of electronic voting system to stave off the recurrent cases of ballot box snatching by armed political thugs prodded on by politicians and assisted by corrupt armed security operatives. The Rights group condemned the Police and the other security forces for failing to arrest those armed hoodlums who killed dozens of voters in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
HURIWA in a statement by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, expressed fear that the mini civil wars that took place as elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states in which the two dominant political parties – All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) unleashed electoral violence, leading to death of scores of voters, shows that the 2023 general elections if conducted by the same incompetent, corrupt and compromised INEC under the current leadership, with the same compromised security forces, could push Nigeria into a civil war. The group declared that the INEC leadership has severally failed the litmus tests of objectivity and sound judgment. Besides, the Rights group stated considering the miscarriages of justice at the election tribunals and the Supreme Court in the litigation that trailed the rigged 2019 polls, there are tendencies that prospective political office seekers will rather adopt self-help measures to express their dissatisfaction than go to court.
HURIWA, therefore, reiterated the imperatives of removing INEC chairman Mahmood before 2023 and the inevitable electoral reforms.