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‘INEC chair coming from same region as Buhari dangerous to 2019 elections’

The Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd.), has given a clearer insight on why the group insists that for 2019 election to be free of ethnic coloration, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, must give way for a Nigerian from another extraction if President Muhammadu Buhari must contest.

Two key reasons adduced by Nkanga include Buhari and Yakubu coming from same background and the shrouded way and manner INEC had handled the investigatiuon and release of the report on alleged under aged voting in Kano State.

In an interview, he said “The more truths we tell, the better it is for our country. As a matter of fact, the people that spoke are elders of this country and they want to leave this country a better place than they met it. And we know that, in this country, a lot of people are more loyal to their ethnic groups and religions than they are to the country”.

According to him, “We found out that since 1960, the only time we have had a president or head of country having the umpire of the elections from his own ethnic group is this (government). Remember when former President (Goodluck) Jonathan was there, he said, when (Prof. Attahiru) Jega came, he had never met him and did not know him”.

“Out of all the other heads of government that were listed during that press conference, if you look back, you will find out that there was none (that did such). So, we don’t want a case where after the 2019 elections, assuming Mr. President wins, people start murmuring that it was because he (Yakubu) was from his ethnic group and all that.

“If he (Buhari) wants to be honest, in fact, it is in his own interest that it was said that ‘you can get somebody from some other place to come and handle it’. And we do know that when he came in, Mr. President appointed Mrs. Amina Zakari, who we understand is related to him, as acting chairman; and because there were lots of noise-making, she was dropped and Yakubu was brought in.

“Yakubu is a fine person. I have met him before but, under the circumstances, (we need) to give credibility to what will be done. We don’t want noise; we don’t want people questioning for no just cause after the election. Anybody who believes that our position is not correct is not just being honest.

On the second issue concerning under aged voting in a recent Kano local government elections and the way and manner INEC handled it, PANDEF leaders argued that “If the cock crows tonight and the child dies in the morning, somehow, you can always connect. With this underage voting in Kano, I first saw it on the CNN during the 2015 elections”.

“We saw it again during the local government election in Kano and INEC is responsible for registering all voters in this country. We remember that the INEC chairman set up a committee to go and find out what happened in Kano. I’m not sure we have seen the report, that report has not been released and we don’t know why. Now, the governor of Kano State assuring the APC of five million votes from Kano.

“I think we have reasons to be worried. The elders are speaking out, advising the country. If you are in a position of authority, it goes with responsibility. You can dodge responsibilities, but you cannot dodge the consequences of that dodging of responsibilities, Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd.) stressed.

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