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Atedo Peterside says INEC’s impunity aiding electoral fraud

Atedo Peterside resigns from Stanbic IBTC board after 35 years

Atedo Peterside, president of the Anap Foundation, has said that impunity displayed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of the 2023 general is aiding its officials to perpetrate electoral fraud.

Peterside said the Federal Government and INEC must, therefore, prosecute election officials involved in undermining election results.

He spoke on the controversy trailing the Adamawa State governorship election in an interview with Arise TV on Monday.

Yunusa-Ari, the Adamawa resident electoral commissioner (REC), caused a stir last Sunday when he announced the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Aisha ‘Binani’ Dahiru, as the winner of the re-run election while results in collation in about ten local government areas was still ongoing. But INEC headquarters moved swiftly to cancel the declaration.

According to 2022 amended Electoral Act, the declaration of a winner in a gubernatorial election is a duty reserved for the returning officer for the state and not the REC.

Peterside said INEC and the government should be more interested in prosecuting officials involved in election manipulation, rather than encouraging impunity in the system.

He said the action of the REC was a representation of impunity by the leadership of the INEC.

“INEC as an institution and the Federal Government should be interested in getting those people to make statements with the police. Let the person tell where he got the result sheet and the alteration, then bring in a forensic expert to go and check who altered the result”, Peterside said.

Read also: Election petitions: Can the judiciary save Nigeria’s fragile democracy?

He described the situation in Adamawa as embarrassing but noted that the punishment for the REC must also be extended to INEC workers on duty during the February 25 presidential election.

According to him, “If you have gone to the INEC IREV to see what happened in the presidential election in some states, there was impunity there.

“And there is impunity here. We have to get serious in this country about whether to tackle all issues of impunity or just tackle them in Adamawa State. What is the difference?

“I agree that what happened in Adamawa was particularly embarrassing, but perhaps he took a cue from those at the centre, who handled the presidential elections.

“In some states, they refused to upload the results, why would states be having elections in different manners? We have to go back and hold people accountable; everybody should be held accountable, not just in Adamawa.”

The INEC on Tuesday said it was writing Baba Ahmed, the inspector-general of police, to investigate and prosecute Yunusa Ari.

The commission had on Monday directed him to stay away from office.