By Obiora Ifoh, ABUJA
The Zenith Labour Party, ZLP has said it would approach the court to be joined in a suit against the nomination of Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu as the Chairman of the Indepndent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) by a deregistered political party, even as it demands immediate clearance by the Senate of President Muhammed Buhari’s nominee.
National Chairman of the ZLP, Chief Dan Nwanyawu in a chat with the media on Sunday also described the bribery allegation against Prof. Yakubu as reckless, unfounded and a fake news which can only emanate from a drunken man.
The National Chairman flanked by some of ZLP’s National Working Committee members said under Prof. Yakubu the nation has achieved so much in repositioning the electoral system and that having piloted the affairs of the commission in the last five years, it would be in order to reappoint him to continue with the reforms he has initiated.
It would be recalled that a deregistered political party, Hope Democratic Party, HDP approached the court last week demanding that the nomination of Prof. Yakubu should not be confirmed by the senate.
But ZLP said, “So we endorse the reappointment of Yakubu, we are opposed to any attempt to thwart it, and ZLP leadership has been directed to join in the suit with a view to quashing it, by tomorrow morning, we will be filling our suit to be joined. Because it is when we have electoral results that are credible that smaller parties like us can win seats. ZLP was few months into the last general election but we are able to pick seats and that was because the process was transparent and we are able to win where we worked harder. And of all the places we lost, we lost gallantry.”
According to him, “This meeting is to brief you of some attempt to derail the progressives democratic culture which we have imbibed over the years. We have improved on our electoral system and we have been able to make some innovations and introductions into the electoral process.
“Some of our colleagues who are politicians have decided to go to court to stop the renomination of INEC chairman, Prof. Yakubu and they are using an organization that used to be a political party but now deregistered which of course do not have any locus to go to court but the court is there for every body to come to, when you get there, you present your matter. And those of us who are the major stakeholders, the political parties, over 80 percent of the registered party are happy with the proceedings in INEC as it relates to the conduct of elections.
“We have seen some improvements, some innovations, it started with accreditation and voting at the same time to introduction of Portals whereby we we can watch results at a place as they vote. We are now moving into improvement into the Electronic system which we have been asking for years. But i think some of those politicians who are using Hope Democratic Party to go to court, to stop the senate from approving the nomination, legitimately made by the president is to say the least, irresponsible. We are in support of the reappointment of Prof. Yakubu. And the fact, at the political party forum, we have directed them to issue a statement on that.
“Why are we happy? Since he came on board, there has been an improvement in the electoral system the last being Edo and Ondo, now we are going to Anambra. If you follow the conduct of election you cannot but agree with me that we have moved forward from what it used to be. Even the process of submission of list of candidate, we no longer have one on one contact with INEC, I stay in my office and file our candidates and I take my printout. Those when we used to stay at ICC over the night are gone. For Edo and Ondo, we dint visits INEC.
“These are innovations made by INEC under Yakubu. And we have been assured in our last meeting with INEC that it would improve in Anambra. So tell me why those politicians who do not like reforms, politicians who are used to writing fake results, carrying ballot boxes why are they kicking against the reform, they are not even political parties again. I don’t think that there is any group who can speak authoritatively other than the critical stakeholders, the political parties.
“They said he gave N3 Billion to be reappointed. I also read the senate president reacted to that. It was not necessary, though senate will resume on Tuesday, ZLP is calling on the senate to approve the nomination of Prof. Yakubu without delay. We should do the right thing at all times. Yakubu is the best we have had in the electoral management.
“What people call allegation against Yakubu was merely a statement from a drunken man. There are certain on line media houses that are forcing this government to clamp down on social media because of false news, half truth and irresponsible reportage. I am opposed to clamping social media, but when drunken persons are being used by politicians to shake the system, the only way to shame them is to ignore them and allow the system to flow. I am not saying that the National Assembly should fast track their process, they have screened him before, they have seen his performances, after the last election, at the plenary, they applauded him, so what are they waiting for. He has done five years and there is nothing new to learn, if you go and put another person he will start learning the ropes again,” said Chief Nwanyawu.