Katsina PDP Rejects Guber Election Result, to Seek Redress in Court
Live Updates: Governorship/Assembly Elections 2023
C’River NNPP Vows to Sue INEC over Omission of Party’s Logo
MC Oluomo: Atiku Calls on INEC to Remove Lagos REC for Partisanship
Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately remove its Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Lagos State, Olusegun Agbaje, for alleged partisanship.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communication, Phrank Shaibu, Atiku said it was curious that Agbaje was insisting on using the Lagos State Park and Garage Management Committee, headed by transport kingpin, Musiliu Akinsanya, aka MC Oluomo, who he said was a member of the presidential campaign council of All Progressives Congress (APC).
Atiku described as watery Agbaje’s excuse that INEC would not be able to use the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employees Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) because they had been banned in Lagos State.
The statement said, “The law is clear that only a court has the power to proscribe an organisation. That was why the federal government had to go to court to proscribe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
“What Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu did in Lagos State was to arbitrarily announce a ban on the activities of the NURTW because the organisation suspended MC Oluomo, the APC’s henchman. INEC must not promote illegality by working with a partisan organisation, which is filled with APC members that are working for Bola Tinubu.”
Atiku wondered how such clearly partisan persons could be allowed to handle such a sensitive task, stressing that it is unacceptable.
The former vice president said in the statement, “How could such people be given sensitive materials to be distributed across Lagos on election day? This has already undermined the possibility of a free and fair election. INEC must sanction Agbaje for insisting on using MC Oluomo’s committee, despite protests from members of the public.”
The PDP presidential candidate recalled that Agbaje was the REC who superintended over the “fraudulent” 2018 governorship election rerun in Osun State which the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union also discredited.
He explained, “Recall that it was Agbaje who superintended over the fraudulent and violent Osun governorship rerun which produced Gboyega Oyetola as governor. US Consul General, John Bray was spot on when he stated: ‘We witnessed what appeared to be incidents of interference and intimidation of voters and heard reports of harassment or party monitors, journalists and domestic observers.’”
The statement noted that even election monitoring groups, like the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), dismissed the Osun rerun as “fraudulent and anti-democratic”.
It said, “Unfortunately, it is the same Agbaje, who could not effectively supervise a rerun in a few polling units that has been given the task of superintending the election in Nigeria’s largest state with over 7 million registered voters. The election is doomed to fail if INEC doesn’t do the right thing by removing him.
“We remind the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, that this will be his last general election before the end of his tenure. We ask him to protect his legacy by removing Agbaje if he insists that MC Oluomo must be the one to handle sensitive INEC materials. This election must not only be fair but it must be seen to be fair as well.”
Atiku noted that as of Wednesday morning, over 17,000 Nigerians had signed a petition on Change.Org titled, “Remove Olusegun Agbaje as the Lagos INEC Commissioner for Incompetence and Bigotry”.
He stated, “It is disheartening that the Lagos REC, Agbaje, has begun to show open partisanship. We find it curious that it is the local governments considered as opposition strongholds that were unable to get their PVCs.
“Historians and analysts have described this 2023 general election as a watershed. The destiny of over 200 million people is at stake. INEC says it is ready to deliver a credible and free election, but one weak link in the chain of command can undermine the entire process.
“We call on Yakubu to remove the Lagos REC, as his credibility is seriously in doubt. Again, we call on INEC not to use the MC Oluomo-led partisan organisation to distribute ballot papers on election day.”