Lawyers back INEC chair, Yakubu, pass vote of confidence

Lawyers in Nigeria, Friday, passed a vote of confidence and threw weight behind the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu on the heels of calls for his sack and resignation.

The lawyers said it is uncalled for some persons to be mischievous to go down so low to put out allegations they cannot substantiate rather they were out to run down the incredibility of INEC and blackmail its chairman.

The lawyers under the auspices of Consortium of Nigerian Lawyers, CNL, in a petition addressed to Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, UK, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak, through Her Majesty’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Richard Montgomery CMG, asserted that the malicious claims of bribery and corruption were propagated by faceless individuals.

The petition reads in part: “We, the undersigned Nigerian lawyers, write this petition with great concern and urgency regarding the unsubstantiated and fake allegations made against Mallam Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). We implore you to address this issue and rectify the damage caused to Mallam Yakubu’s reputation and the sanctity of the electoral process in Nigeria.

“The allegations in question, as reported by the conspiracy-driven news outlets and social media, claim that Mallam Yakubu engaged in corrupt practices and has accepted bribes. These malicious claims were propagated by faceless individuals who lack any form of credibility or substantiation for their accusations. It is clear that these allegations are baseless and intended solely to tarnish the reputation of Mallam Yakubu and undermine the integrity of INEC.

“Mallam Mahmood Yakubu has dedicated his career to public service and has consistently demonstrated professionalism, integrity, and a commitment to upholding democratic principles. His track record as the Chairman of INEC is commendable, with major strides made towards ensuring free and fair elections in Nigeria. We firmly believe that his leadership has significantly contributed to the democratic progress witnessed in recent years.

“It is worth noting that INEC, under the leadership of Mallam Yakubu, successfully conducted the 2019 general elections, which were internationally recognized as a significant improvement in Nigeria’s electoral process. This recognition further solidifies his reputation as a competent and trustworthy election administrator.

“The recent protest organized against Mallam Yakubu by the United Nigeria in Diaspora (UND) a faceless Group without any means of identification or address and the call for Prof. Mahmood’s resignation are deeply concerning. These unsubstantiated allegations and actions serve to erode public confidence in the electoral process and undermine Nigeria’s democracy as a whole. It is crucial that we protect the institutions responsible for conducting free and fair elections and ensure that they are not subjected to baseless attacks.

“We call upon your office, in collaboration with the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, to intervene in this matter and seek clarification on the allegations made against Mallam Yakubu. We urge you to issue a statement denouncing these false accusations and affirming support for the independence and integrity of INEC.”

However, the petitioners urged the British High Commissioner to Nigeria to engage relevant Nigerian authorities to investigate and bring the accusers to book over the spreading false information about the INEC boss.

“Furthermore, we request that the British High Commissioner to Nigeria engages with relevant Nigerian authorities to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for spreading false information about Mallam Yakubu. It is imperative that those who seek to undermine the electoral process through unsubstantiated allegations are identified and brought to justice”, it added.

Meanwhile, the lawyers acknowledged the fact that, “As legal professionals, we believe in the principles of due process, fairness, and justice. It is our duty to advocate for the rights and reputation of individuals when they are subjected to false accusations that have the potential to cause irreparable harm. We trust that you, as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, will prioritize the pursuit of truth and fairness in addressing this matter.

“Lastly, we urge you to stand firmly with the Nigerian government in their endeavors to strengthen democratic institutions and protect the integrity of the electoral process. It is through collaborative efforts and adherence to democratic principles that we can ensure a brighter future for Nigeria and its citizens.”


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