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By Ebunoluwa Sessou

In what it described as election conspiracy and manipulation in the forthcoming Osun Gubernatorial elections, the Civil Society Committee for Anti-Fraud Election Security, CISCAES, has cautioned the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC not to tread the path of rigging the election for any political party rather, it should be ready to conduct a credible poll.

The group chaired by the Chairman of National Consultative Front, Prof Pat Utomi, Human Right Lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), Convener, CISCAES, Comrade Kennedy Iyere, among others, disclosed that it is taking measures to
tackle any form of vote-rigging or election malpractice, in the forthcoming Osun 2022 Guber-Poll”, holding in July 16, 2022.

Disclosing this at the World Press Conference held in Lagos, the Convener, CISCAES, Iyere disclosed that, the conference was aimed at alerting Nigerians and the international community on the possibility of conspiracy by the present administration, to recklessly rig the forthcoming “Osun 2022 Guber-Poll.”

According to him, if the planned rigging of the “Osun 2022 Guber-Poll”, is not prevented it will ultimately impose a huge threat on the anticipated credibility of the 2023 general elections.

Adding that, the direct immediate consequence would become “voter apathy” in 2023 for lack of confidence in the ability of INEC, to conduct transparent, fair and credible 2023 polls.

In preparation for the polls, he said, CISCAES is underscoring the critical importance for the establishment of a highly functional anti-rigging electoral “War Room”, which will help to track, identify and dismantle the already existing vote-rigging mechanism.

“CISCAES would create the required anti-rigging War Room, scheduled to run from Wednesday July, 13, 2022 to Saturday July 16, 2022, for the aim of monitoring, tracking and countering ongoing fraudulent practices, both before and during the election.

“Precisely on Thursday July 14, 2022, CISCAES and its allies, shall organize and lead a pre-election “Ballot Security Solidarity March” to INEC Office in Osogbo, being compelled out of the necessity to draw the attention of the general public to the critical need for a credible “Osun 2022 Guber-Poll” which will serve as a proof of INEC’s ability to conduct fair and credible elections in 2023.

“Sensitization, training, recruitment, mobilization and deployment of youths as volunteers for “ward-2-ward” and “Polling Unit-2-Polling Unit” anti-rigging ballot monitoring exercise. This is designed to enforce ballot policing by youth voters and other electorates at their various wards and Polling units.

“This intervention shall compel ballot security and surveillance which will make it too difficult or impossible for INEC to either manipulate the BVAS or effect other technical vote-rigging measures. Where cases of fraud or vote-rigging are Identified, such shall be outrightly reported to our own CSO-driven anti-rigging War Room (Situation Room) for immediate and needful interventions.

“Public issuance of a pre-election warning notice to INEC Chairman (Prof Mahmoud Yakubu) on the critical need to conduct a transparent, free and credible Osun 2022 Guber-Poll, else there shall emerge a widespread anti-INEC protest demanding his immediate sack.

“If by close monitoring and observance, it turns out that INEC failed to conduct a credible election, then CISCAES will move to declare the results unacceptable and shall forthwith call for its entire cancellation, which will be followed by a widespread anti-INEC protest.

“The anti-INEC protect , which will be led by a group of pro-democracy individuals and CSOs under the auspices of CISCAES shall mobilize for a joint national and diaspora protest which will call for the immediate sack or removal of Prof Mahmood Yakubu, as INEC Chairman.

“The protest shall be tagged “#SackINECBoss Protest”. This protest will only be organized and effected if it is proven beyond doubt that the process and final outcome of the “Osun 2022 Guber-Poll” is, in anyway, fraudulently manipulated by INEC and its Officials.

“In addition, CISCAES will immediately undertake collection of signatures, as part of the efforts to push for the immediate sack or removal of Prof Mahmood Yakubu, from his current position, as Chairman of INEC.

“The pre-emptive mass revolt shall have become imperative against the inability to conduct transparent, fair and credible elections that invariably expose the 2023 general elections to vulnerability and the critical threats of rigging.

“The predicate to intercept and to deal decisively with elections malpractice at Osun State level would become the interrogation that if INEC is unable to conduct credible elections in Ekiti and Osun States, respectively, it therefore follows that the 2023 general elections will not be transparent, fair and credible, unless Prof Mahmood Yakubu is sacked , removed or fired”, he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of National Consultative Front, Prof Pat Utomi, lamented that, Nigerians have been pushed to the wall adding that, it is time for politicians to allow the will of the people to prevail.

“There is banditry in Nigeria because some politicians are bandits. We want this country to be peaceful. We do not need politicians that would cart away the treasury of the country and then use the money to buy mansions outside the country”, he warned.

Also, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, “We outrightly demand of the independent national electoral commission (INEC), to ensure that all political parties and individuals that committed electoral offences during the Ekiti State gubernatorial election are arraigned in competent courts forthwith, before end of the week.

“The arraignment of the Electoral offenders will serve as a deterrent to all electoral offenders and prevent any form of impunity in the Osun State gubernatorial election fixed for July 16, 2022”, he said.

A businessman, Emmanuel Ijewere, encouraged Osun citizens to ensure the vote their conscious saying Nigerians are ready for change.

Naija Lives Matter, Comrade Lanre Fadahunsi, said, rigging is a rape on democracy and a slap on humanity adding that Osun has paid a vital prize for politics in Nigeria.

Comrade Oloye Adeniji noted that the struggle for fundamental change in Nigeria would begin with the credible Osun polls that would determine the fate of Nigeria in the forthcoming general elections in 2023

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