2023 elections: Initiate process of internal review, audit, APC tells INEC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to urgently initiate process of internal audit and review of how the 2023 general elections were managed before the forthcoming rerun elections slated for April, 2023.

The ruling party also alleged cases of compromise in Kebbi state, declaring that it won’t be comfortable if the same INEC officials who conducted the last governorship election are deployed for the rerun election.

Addressing a press conference Friday in Abuja, the National Vice Chairman, North-west, Mallam Salihu Moh Lukman, said there are cases that have been declared inconclusive, which ordinarily if the same standard has been applied, results would have been declared.

He said: “One of those cases is Kebbi state for instance. Not because I’m APC and I think being APC, we have a right to complain about that. Just take all the results of all the 36 states, you find out that different standards applied.

“There is also the case of Kano, which should have been declared inconclusive, if the standard of Kebbi had been applied to Kano. But these are general issues which for me, I thought I should call on INEC to do an internal audit of the management process of the last election and begin to fix things.”

On the need to begin internal audit in INEC, the APC chieftain said: I want to use this opportunity to call on INEC, we must as a matter of urgency initiate the process of internal review of how the 2023 elections was managed. And as part of that review, they must address issues of ethical conduct of their own staff, including the returning officers.

“I am a critic of the choice of ironing using academic staff as Returning Officers. I don’t believe being an academician is equivalent to competence in managing public service, such as a Returning Officer in an election. There are many cases of Returning Officers compromising themselves to politicians,” he said.

Lukman also described as unfair the call for the sack of INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.

He said: “In fairness to Mahmood, I think that call (Sack) is very unfair because what is really the allegation? That PDP has lost the election, or the Labour Party has lost the election. I mean, we’ve never had an election that is almost as balanced as the 2023 elections.

“Buhari lost in Katsina, Asiwaju lost in Lagos, our national chairman lost in Nasarawa. You get the point, and yet look on the ballot, just look at it. It is not your capacity to win states that produced the overall winner, it’s the spread. Your ability to win votes across every part. Even if you do not come out to be the winner in each state. So what is it really we are complaining about?

“When people go into an election without the capacity to respect their opponents, you end up disputing the result of the election. And as Nigerians, I think we must work hard to bring back the element of respect among ourselves. If I don’t respect myself, I don’t think you will respect me. If I don’t respect myself, I will not respect you. I mean, that is the minimum that must be addressed.

“Look at what Jonathan did in 2015, it has been lost completely. It has become a once off thing. I remember very well, it was before Borno results and Kebbi, he called Buhari and congratulated him.

“2019, after the election what happened? Even after signing the so-called Peace Agreement, Atiku didn’t accept the result because he believed he won.

“So all the calls for Yakubu to resign is because we don’t respect ourselves. We don’t respect the institution who went into an election believing we must win. Who are we? We don’t even respect Nigerians. How can I go into an election, believing that automatically Nigerians will vote for me. Why do we do the election in the first place? I think sincerely speaking, the call for Yakubu to resign is unfair.”