President Olusegun Obasanjo has expressed doubt over the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide free and fair elections.
The former President said this in a public letter, in which he said: “I personally have serious doubt about the present INEC’s integrity, impartiality and competence to conduct a fair, free and credible election. “
Obasanjo added that even if INEC wants a free and fair election, APC will not allow it, using the debacle in Osun state as a yardstick.
“And if the INEC is willing, will the ruling party and government allow it?
“From what we saw and knew about Osun State gubernatorial election, what was conclusive was declared inconclusive despite all advice to the contrary.”
Sticking with the elections in Osun state, Obasanjo stated that with the many logistical failures in that elections, the hopes of a credible election in February is fanciful at best.
“The transmission and collation of results are subject to interference, manipulation and meddling. If the INEC’s favourite political party wins with all the above infractions, the result will be conclusively declared and if not, there will be a ‘rerun’, the result of which is known before it is carried out. I know that I am not alone in being sceptical about the integrity of INEC and its ability to act creditably and above board. But we are open to be convinced otherwise.
“The joke about INEC would seem real. The INEC was asked if the Commission was ready for the election and if it expects the election to be free, fair and credible.
“The INEC man is reported as saying in response, “we are ready with everything including the results!” God save Nigeria! It is up to Nigerians to ensure that the redline is not crossed in safeguarding our fledging democracy. And if crossed, appropriate action must be taken not to allow our democracy to be derailed.
“A friend of mine who is more credulous and who claims to be close to the Chair of INEC keeps telling me that INEC will retrieve its image and reputation by conducting the coming elections with utmost integrity and impartiality.
“I am not sure as I believe more in action than in words and in past record than in promise. The track record of the present INEC is fairly sordid and all men and women of goodwill and believers in democracy must be prepared for the worst from INEC and their encouragers and how to get Nigeria out of the electoral morass that the Commission is driving us into.”