A chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has alleged that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, is working to compound the crisis rocking the APC.
Olawepo-Hashim, a one-time presidential candidate, said the commission was hasty in refusing to recognise the letter written to it by the APC, adding that the move was tantamount to meddling in the affairs of the party.
In a statement by his media office made available to newsmen yesterday in Abuja, the politician said, “The invitation to observe a meeting of the APC is not an occasion to give lectures on how the party should run, they were merely invited to observe.”
He added that “INEC could just have stayed away. It will not have invalidated the meeting. A third of the membership of any party organ can call a meeting. It is not just chairmen and secretaries of parties that can call meetings.
“There is something fishy about INEC’s actions. It is like INEC is working a script to complicate things for the APC.”
He said INEC’s 2023 election timetable which stipulates that all parties must conduct their primaries between April and June is suspicious and could have been designed to favour some political interests.
Responding, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, told Daily Trust that Article 1.1.3 of INEC’s regulations and guidelines for the conduct of political party operations (2018) provides that “the national chairman and national secretary of the party shall sign the notice of meetings, conventions or congresses and submit same to the commission.”
He added, “The letter referenced was not signed by those whose signatures are domiciled in the commission.”