……… Lawyers pledge Pro-Bono Service to compel INEC’s Compliance
Osita Chidoka, founder and Chancellor of Athena Institute has given reasons for submitting a Freedom of Information request to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He said in statement sent to Frontline News Online that he sent the FOI request on the conduct of Saturday, November 11, 2023 governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States as a citizen dedicated to transparent polls.
Chidoka said the request which has been officially received and acknowledged by INEC seeks comprehensive accreditation data from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used in the election in the three States.
The statement read: “The acknowledgment of this request by INEC marks a crucial step in our collective pursuit of an accountable electoral system as it embodies our unwavering commitment to ensuring that our democratic processes reflect the people’s true will”.
Chidoka called on Nigerians “to remain steadfast in this journey to save the soul of our country”.
“Let us not waver in our resolve. The request to INEC and its acknowledgment of the letter is the first step in our quest to reimagine Nigeria. We are hopeful that INEC’s response will be a beacon of hope, signalling that our voices are heard, and our efforts are recognized. It is a testament to our collective power to enact change and fortify the pillars of our democracy.
“I stand determined to fully pursue justice and transparency. Should INEC not respond substantively within the seven-day period mandated by law, I am prepared to initiate legal proceedings”, Chidoka said.
The former minister for Aviation, disclosed that some lawyers are on standby to pursue a legal enforcement of his right to information under the FOIA if necessary.
“I am bolstered by the solidarity of esteemed lawyers who have generously pledged to provide their services pro+bono to support this cause, should it be necessary.”
The former Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) reiterated that “this is not a lone battle but a shared endeavour for all Nigerians who yearn for an electoral system they can trust. Let us unite in this effort, for the integrity of our democracy is at stake.
“We will remain vigilant and proactive, ready to take the necessary steps to protect the sanctity of our votes and the democratic values we hold dear”, he said.