INEC chairman threatens lawsuit against PDP over rigging allegations

The embattled Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has urged officials of the Peoples Democratic Party to desist from maligning his character in the media or risk being sued for libel.

PDP had on Friday demanded Yakubu’s resignation for allegedly manipulating last month’s presidential election results.

The opposition party also charged the police and the Department of State Services, DSS, to investigate the chairman.

Reacting, Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, said the PDP should go to court and present the bagful of evidence it claimed to have rather than subjecting the process to a media trial. 

The spokesperson wondered why the party did not provide evidence to back up the allegations.

Oyekanmi said the PDP also did not give evidence of how Yakubu sabotaged the uploading and transmission of results from polling units. 

The statement read, “The latest call by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) just like it did previously for the resignation of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC is misplaced. Interestingly, the PDP did not provide any convincing evidence to back up all the spurious allegations it listed as Prof. Yakubu’s ‘infractions.

“To be sure, the PDP failed to provide any evidence to substantiate the allegations of Yakubu’s ‘brazen violation of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022, INEC’s Regulations and Guidelines, and criminal manipulation and alteration of election results.

“The PDP also did not give the evidence to prove its claims that Prof. Yakubu sabotaged the uploading and transmission of results from polling units.

“Besides, the ‘several pieces of evidence’ that the PDP claimed ‘abound in the six geo-political zones of the country where winning figures scored by the PDP were switched in favour of the APC’ were also not laid bare.

“To be sure, the Commission does not rig elections. Rather, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System BVAS has, since its introduction, among other innovations, ensured the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring that only properly registered voters are allowed to vote on Election Day.

“It is common knowledge that the PDP has rejected the outcome of the presidential election and has vowed to challenge it in court. The path of honour for the party, therefore, is to pursue its case in court, armed with all the pieces of evidence at its disposal, and wait for the court’s decision.

“But going about canvassing the same issues the party intends to plead in court on the pages of newspapers and calling for the resignation of the INEC Chairman is like putting the cart before the horse. More importantly, the PDP is hereby reminded that making libelous allegations against the person of the INEC Chairman is actionable. The party should henceforth desist from the practice.”