From Okwe Obi, Abuja

Monarchs under the aegis of Nigerian Traditional Rulers Council, (NTRC) have passed a vote of confidence in the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Mahmood Yakubu.

They urged the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union to discard visa ban agitations on him, as a result of the hitches that marred the 2023 general elections.

Their support was contained in a letter addressed to the British High Commissioner, and signed by traditional rulers; HRH Oba Adekunle Adeyemi (Adara of Adara, Ogun State), HRM King Alfred Prince will (Amanyab of Bassambiri, Bayelsa State), His Eminence Emir Ahmed Yayale (Charanchi, Katsina State ), HRH Alhaji Muhammad Bubu (Lushi Takololo, Bauchi State), HRH Eze Obinna Opoji (Ama of Amajuoyi Kingdom, Imo State) and HRH Alhaji Audu Eleje (Elejuku of Eluku, Kogi State), respectively.

They pointed out that the calls by the group was mischievous aimed at blackmailing Yakubu with their unfounded facts and malicious attacks.

The letter read in part: “We, the Nigerian Traditional Rulers Council, write His Excellency to address the malicious attack on Mallam Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“It has come to our attention that a certain faceless group named United Nigerians in Diaspora Group sponsored by disgruntled politicians, who lost elections in 2023, have leveled serious allegations against the INEC Chairman.

“We are deeply concerned about these accusations by this faceless group and feel compelled to set the record straight.

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“The allegations made by these politicians are baseless and unfounded. We believe that they are attempting to tarnish the reputation of Mallam Mahmood Yakubu and, by extension, the INEC. We vehemently reject these accusations and stand firm in our support for the INEC Chairman.”

Meanwhile, according to the Council, the Yakubu-led INEC has made significant progress in “conducting free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria.

“The electoral process has been streamlined, and voter confidence has been restored.

“INEC has implemented innovative technologies, such as the use of biometric voter registration and electronic transmission of results, to ensure transparency and efficiency.

“Furthermore, the claims made by these disgruntled politicians are clearly politically motivated, aiming to undermine the credibility of the INEC and its Chairman.

“It is no surprise that these allegations have emerged now, following their loss in the 2023 elections. It is an attempt to shift blame for their defeat onto the INEC and distract from their own shortcomings.

“His tenure has been marked by integrity, professionalism, and commitment to democratic ideals. The INEC, under his stewardship, has become a beacon of hope for the Nigerian electoral system.”