The Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) has expressed displeasure over moves by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upturn the outcome of the Yobe North Senatorial primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the 2023 polls.
According to TMG, the purported move is a disregard to the sanity and sanctity of the rule of law by INEC.
The group in a statement signed by its Chairman, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, and made available to Persecondnews, berated the alleged plan of INEC to allegedly favour the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawal, whom they accused of being the brain behind the alleged move.
The statement said: “While we monitor with keen interest the emerging development around the electoral sphere ahead of 2023, we are committed to ensuring full implementation of the provisions of the Electoral Act to restore electoral credibility and integrity at all levels.
“It is on this note that we express total displeasure with the latest position of the Electoral Body over the declaration of Bashir Machina, whose victory it earlier affirmed from the Senatorial primary in Yobe North, giving the INEC-certified true copy report of the primary election held on May 28, 2022, when he scored 289 votes out of 300 delegates.
“We are not unaware of the alleged overall objective triggering the latest position by INEC to upturn the primary in favour of the incumbent Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, whose participation in the Senatorial primary has been disqualified by the provisions of Electoral Act, for his involvement at the same time as a candidate of Presidential Primary, where he contested and lost.
“Just as we are worried by the cross-carpet impunity in some political parties that deliberately reversed victories or allowed dubious re-runs in favour of some candidates who had contested and lost their primaries under separate seats.
“We find the tactical pursuit of injustice and impunity through judicial institution displayed in an Affidavit dated August 11, 2022 filed before the Federal High Court in Damaturu, Yobe state, as tantamount to probable disobedience to the sanity and sanctity of the provisions of Electoral Act and betray of public trust.
“Given the recent development in the electoral sphere, we are more concerned by the readiness of INEC to maintain required competence and neutrality to deliver free, fair and credible elections in 2023.
“We observed with serious condemnation, the deliberately created condition by the Electoral Body to upturn the outcome and victory of a democratically recognized candidate in favour of an individual, who qualifies neither within the context of Electoral Law, nor as a documented contestant in the Senatorial primary.”
“We, therefore, call on INEC to maintain absolute neutrality and respect for the rule of law in its activities at all levels, to demonstrate competence and trustworthiness to secure integrity and public trust in the 2023 general elections.
“We also call for the immediate prosecution by relevant authorities, of all upturned primaries of various political parties in favour of selected candidates, who had been disqualified by the Electoral Act for contesting under separate seats,” the TMG said.