By Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis
Director General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, Akin Osuntokun, has called for the immediate dismissal and prosecution of the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, over the role he played in the 2023 presidential elections.
Osuntokun also demanded that a forensic financial investigation be conducted on all expenditures and donations received by the commission before, during, and after the polls.
The campaign director made the demand at Thursday’s international press conference held at the party’s campaign headquarters in Abuja.
“We demand unequivocally, the immediate dismissal from Ofiice and prosecution of Prof Mahmud Yakubu and the commencement of forensic financial investigation into the expenditure of budgeted disbursements and donors’ funds received by INEC.
“This is in addition to the N300 billion appropriated from the national purse as well as other funds and materials received from International donor Agencies,” he said.
The development is coming barely five months after the February 25 election, where the commission announced the candidate of All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as the winner.
Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his counterpart in Labour Party, Peter Obi, who amassed 6,984,520 votes and 6,101,533 votes respectively.
Atiku and Obi, however, rejected the results, with each claiming at separate press conferences that the election was fraught with violence and massive rigging.
Consequently, both candidates headed for the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to seek redress.
Reacting to the court case, Osuntokun told journalists on Thursday that all evidence supplied by both the PDP and LP had confirmed their earlier suspicion that the election was marred by irregularities.
While calling for punitive measures to be meted on INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye and other top administrative and field staff over their alleged complicit, he also warned against any further intimidation of the European Union and other election observers over their reports on the poll.
“The Labour Party and the Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Organisation condemn vehemently, the negative and jaundiced responses on the EU Report and other Election Observers’ reports, by the spokesperson of APC administration and other ill-informed persons, which are totally in discord, with the mood of the nation, at this time, and which also, present an embarrassing contrast, to their selective celebration of the 2019 Election reports, from these same Observer groups.
“It is now only logical, bolstered by the final Observer Group reports, that the International Community take immediate and appropriate punitive action against Prof Mahmud Yakubu, Barrister Festus Okoye, and other top administrative and field staff of INEC, directly complicit, in the desecration of these elections.
“We advise those who have deployed hired ‘protesters’ to the offices of the EU, in respect of their election report, to desist from any further wastage of public funds, as the objective of intimidation is without basis, and has failed, from the beginning – because indeed, the irregularities in the election, were so excessively glaring, with bitter personal and reported experiences, by the overwhelming majority of Nigerians.
“We would like to point Nigerians, to the fact, that the EU Observer group report, is in tandem with the reports of other international and domestic observers, duly accredited by INEC, and also in tandem, with public opinion and the experience of the majority of Nigerian citizens, who participated in, or observed the 2023 general elections.
“At this juncture, there is no doubt that Nigerians and the International Community expect the judiciary, to critically examine the evidence, the law, and the processes of these flawed elections, in arriving at a legally correct, and overwhelmingly acknowledgeable verdict.”