The Southern and Middle-Belt Leaders Forum has called for the removal of the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu.
The forum stated this over fears that Yakubu might rig the 2019 election in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The forum said this at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday attended by Chief Edwin Clark, representing the South-South, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, South-West; Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, South-East; Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (retd.), Middle Belt; Air Commodore Nkanga Idongesit (retd), South-South, and others.
Idongesit, the Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, argued that retaining the service chiefs who ought to have retired and keeping Yakubu as INEC boss were suspicious.
He added that this shows that they would play partisan roles in favour of the President and not deliver free and fair elections in 2019.
Idongesit said, “From 1960 till date, only President Muhammadu Buhari has been audacious to pick only people who are either his relations or of the same ethnic stock with him to lead the electoral body.
“The Balewa Government headed by a Northerner appointed Prof. Eyo Ita Esua from the South, who was in charge of the Federal Electoral Commission from 1960-66; Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, a Yoruba, set up the Federal Electoral Commission under Michael Ani (1976-1979). When Dr Goodluck Jonathan came in from the South-South, he appointed Prof. Attahiru Jega from the North-West (June 2010-Oct. 2015).
“It was only President Buhari who appointed his relation from the North-West, Mrs Amina Zakari, as the acting INEC Chairman when he became President in 2015 before he appointed Yakubu from the North-East as a substantive chairman.
“The relationship between the powerful Amina Zakari and the INEC chairman is so strong that it has the tendency to influence the outcome of the elections in favour of the appointee.
“Also the bug of nepotism and sectionalism that this administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the commission.”