Written by on March 11, 2023

Chaiman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has threatened to sue officials of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for libel and defamation of character.

Yakubu advised officials of the PDP to desist from maligning his character in the media or risk being sued for libel

The INEC Chairman was reacting to a call by the PDP requesting him to step down on allegation of “criminal manipulation and alteration of election results” of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections which was declared in favour of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC).

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi while reacting to the calls for Prof. Yakubu to step down said the PDP should go to court and present the bagful of evidence it claims to have rather than subjecting the process to a media trial.

He said;

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.

PDP’s position according to the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Debo Ologunagba, is that:

Yakubu’s stay in office is capable of paving the way for the suppression, tampering and destruction of critical evidence required to further expose the infractions and violations by the Commission at the Presidential Election Tribunal.

In a statement released on Friday 10th of March, by The INEC’s Chief Press Secretary, Oyekanmi, he described such allegations as libelous, speaking further, he said:

Besides, the ‘several evidences’ 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.

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.

He added that the PDP resort would be to go to court instead, he said:

the path of honour for the party, therefore, is to pursue its case in court, armed with all the evidences at its disposal and wait for the court’s decision.

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