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Politics of Saturday, 11 March 2023


2023 Election: PDP in trouble as INEC threatens libel suit over attacks on Yakubu

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

The main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), may have its days in court to defend its allegations against the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu over the conduct of the 2023 presidential election, Daily Trust reports. gathered that the commission threatened legal actions against the PDP and others over unsubstantiated and libellous allegations against it and its chairman.

The chief press secretary to INEC chairman, Rotimi Lawrence Oyekanmi, gave the warning on the night of Friday, March 10, in Abuja.

The PDP had earlier on Friday at a press conference in Abuja, accused Prof. Yakubu of rigging the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The party also alleged that the INEC boss is also planning to rig the March 18, governorship and state assembly elections starting with the re-configuration of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

He said: “Interestingly, the PDP did not provide any convincing evidence to back up all the spurious allegations it listed as Prof. Yakubu’s ‘infractions’.

“To be sure, the PDP failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the allegations of Yakubu’s ‘brazen violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines, and criminal manipulation and alteration of election results."

According to him, the PDP also did not give evidence to prove its claims that Prof. Yakubu ‘sabotaged the uploading and transmission of results from polling units.

However, Oyekanmi said the latest call by the PDP, just like it did previously for the resignation of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as INEC Chairman, is misplaced.

He said: “Besides, the ‘several pieces of evidence’ that the PDP claimed ‘abound in the six geo-political zones of the country where winning figures scored by the PDP were switched in favour of the APC’ were also not laid bare.

“To be sure, the commission does not rig elections. Rather, the BVAS has, since its introduction, among other innovations, ensured the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring that only properly registered voters are allowed to vote on Election Day.”

The INEC boss spokesman said that it was common knowledge that the PDP had rejected the outcome of the presidential election and has vowed to challenge it in court.

Oyekanmi said: “The path of honour for the party, therefore, is to pursue its case in court, armed with all the evidence at its disposal and wait for the court’s decision.

“But going about canvassing the same issues the party intends to plead in court on the pages of newspapers and calling for the resignation of the INEC chairman is like putting the cart before the horse.

“More importantly, the PDP is hereby reminded that making libellous allegations against the person of the INEC chairman is actionable. The party should henceforth desist from the practice."