Human Rights Commission calls for investigation of #EkitiGate

by Kolapo Olapoju

The National Human Rights Commission as well as some groups under the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room have called for an investigation into alleged rigging of the June 21 governorship elections of Ekiti by some politicians and military personnel.

The audio recording captured the voices of the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose; ex-Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro; Brig.-Gen. Aliyu Momoh, who was in charge of the election; Osun PDP governorship candidate, Senator Iyiola Omisore; and Minister for Police Affairs, Jelili Adesiyan, in a meeting where they were heard giving instructions to the military for the benefit of the PDP.

In a communiqué the groups issued after a recent meeting by the groups, they described the allegation as ‘serious’, while also calling for an immediate ‘credible, independent and impartial’ investigation into the matter.

The communiqué was jointly signed by the Chairman, NHRC, Chidi Odinkalu; and Head, the CSO Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo. The groups stated that there was an urgent need to investigate the allegations in the interest of credibility of forthcoming elections and also the credibility of the military as an institution.

The NHRC and the CSOs pointed out the need for “protection of the independence, impartiality and credibility of the Independent National Electoral Commission as the body constitutionally entrusted with responsibility for organising elections in Nigeria.”

The communique read in part: “The allegations concerning the role of certain senior political and military personnel in the Ekiti governorship election are serious; and it is in the interest of the credibility of Nigeria’s election system and of all persons and institutions associated with these allegations that there should be a credible, independent and impartial investigation of these allegations without further delay.”

“The CSO Situation Room and the NHRC expressed shared concern about the tone and what appears to be the willingness of the leading political parties to turn the role of the security agencies in the 2015 general elections into a partisan issue and agreed to work together to protect the professionalism and neutrality of all security units or institutions to be deployed for the elections.”

“Accordingly, the CSO Situation Room and the NHRC have agreed to establish a joint Technical Working Group to work together in developing clear Rules of Engagement together with Protocols for monitoring compliance by security agencies (including the police, military, internal security or para-military units) that may be deployed for election duties in the 2015 general elections. The working group shall report not later than the March 10, 2015.”

“The Situation Room and the NHRC called for politicians from across the political divide to close ranks in protecting and defending the credibility of the electoral system.”

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