By Charles Igwe
The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, has been labeled as the primary obstacle to Nigeria’s democracy, according to Dino Melaye, the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the recently concluded November 11 election.
After INEC declared Usman Ododo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the governorship election with 446,283 votes, Dino Melaye, who secured the third position with 46,362 votes, expressed his concerns about the conduct of the electoral process.
Melaye alleged that electoral officials had access to pre-recorded result sheets without INEC chairman’s approval, asserting that Yakubu’s actions are detrimental to the nation’s democratic values. He referred to instances where INEC officials were caught with pre-recorded results in various polling units, leading to the suspension of the election in Ogori Mangogo, a local government where fraud was confirmed by the commission.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Melaye criticized Yakubu, stating, “Yakubu is the major problem of Nigeria’s democracy. He is an unrepentant soul. He refused to learn from the deliberate error of the presidential election.”
Melaye further claimed that INEC permitted overvoting in Kogi, particularly in Kogi Central, the home region of the APC candidate. He cited the discrepancy in the number of votes between the last presidential election and the recent governorship election in Okene, Governor Yahaya Bello’s local government. In the presidential election, Okene recorded less than 40,000 votes, whereas in the governorship election, the APC alone scored 141,538 votes, raising questions about the integrity of the electoral process.
The controversy surrounding the conduct of the election highlights the ongoing challenges faced by INEC and the need for transparent and fair electoral practices in Nigeria.