Igbo Elders under the aegis of Igbo Patriotic Forum, on Wednesday, called on the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), and police hierarchy to reopen police stations in the South-East which have been closed for over three years.
The forum said the plea became necessary because while the closure has led to increased insecurity in that geopolitical zone, lawlessness and “a senseless sit-at-home out of sheer fear” had continued to reign supreme.
The Chairman of IPF and former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Simon Okeke, said this during a press conference in Abuja.
He also called on Nigerians not to be discouraged by the failure of the Independent National Electoral Commission to upload the presidential election results from the polling units to the INEC results Viewing Portal.
The organisation said they should come out and vote during the March 11, 2023 governorship and State House of Assembly elections.
While lamenting that INEC disappointed many Nigerians despite their assurance of a transparent election, the Igbo Elders told Nigerians, especially those in the South-East, to ensure they exercise their franchise during Saturday’s governorship election.
He, however, commended the President for a hitch-free election in the South-East.
“The President should support the Inspector-General of Police to re-open police stations across the South East which have been closed for over three years.
“This has led to increased insecurity in that zone, leading to people obeying a senseless sit-at-home out of sheer fear”, he said.
He said the IPF has acknowledged reports from across the country which indicated that the INEC failed to live up to expectations at the last presidential election.
According to him, despite all the promises made by the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, and other officials, there was a wide range of malpractices recorded during the election.
He said, “From the far North, through the Middle Belt, to down South, from the East to the West of the country, the participation and zeal displayed by the youths and people of this country during the last voting exercise has affirmed that they are tired of the old order and will vote across tribe, religion or creed once a credible team is put forward to the electorate. Once again, we commend you for your resilience and patriotism.
“Unfortunately, our eloquent voice with our votes has been mischievously suppressed, distorted, mutilated and the world was fed with a falsified result which has been formally rejected by both Mr Peter Obi, presidential candidate of Labour Party, and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party. The judicial search for justice will soon begin and by the grace of God, truth will ultimately triumph over naked lies dished out as the result of the presidential election.
“With a heavy heart, we acknowledge that reports from various parts of the country indicate that the INEC has woefully failed to live up to its expectations despite repeated assurances of its Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, and other officers that the commission was ready to conduct free, fair, and credible elections in the country without any hitches whatsoever.
“As you all know, the essence of the Electoral Act of 2022 is to electronically transmit the result of votes obtained from the polling units directly to the INEC Central Server using Bimodal Voter Accreditation System to avoid any manipulations which were rampant by use of incident forms in the previous elections.
“We were informed that the Federal Government provided the humongous budget demanded by INEC to procure the BVAS to make this election free and fair if only to avoid any excuses. At the end of the day, that same machine could not work at the critical time it was supposed to work!
“Unfortunately, we now have to wait for the courts to determine the actual winner of this election.
“Nevertheless, we still call upon the good people of this country, the youths and elders, to remain calm and law-abiding as this process progresses. “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
“This, we believe, will be the testimony of all those that came out in their droves to vote for a competent and strong principled leadership at the just concluded elections.
“It is only in Nigeria that this has ever happened! Despite this monumental fraud, we should not lose hope since we are on the road to seeking justice in the Courts. We pray that God will give our judiciary the courage to uphold justice and truth in deciding this
“Having said this, we wish to call upon our people again to come out on Saturday, March 11th, and exercise their legitimate right to vote for the candidates of their choice at the forthcoming gubernatorial and state houses of assembly election.”