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Why Yakubu must go .Succession crisis rocks INEC

 By Our Correspondent

  From all indications majority of Nigerians did not want Prof Mahmoud Yakubu to be returned for second tenure, saying that he has performed below the expectations of the people since his inception to office till date owning to the bias election’s results so far declared in the country.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

 This was not unconnected with the facts that if allowed to return for second tenure he may use his position to trade at the detriment of the electorates.

Many Nigerians who spoke to Global Overseer on condition of anonymity described his tenure as one that most Nigerians are not comfortable with; noting that corruption is endemic in the country.

According to them unless forensic audit of INEC is conducted to ascertain how It utilize the funds so far released for the commission, devoid of misappropriation ,his reappointment should be regarded as a nightmare, as he has nothing to offer for the corporate interest of the people.

Also, it is a fact that an imminent crisis is looming at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) following recent handing over of the immediate past chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, pending the Senate confirmation hearing for the renewal of his tenure as substantive chairman.

Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu

 Already, there are strong indications that a bloc of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is plotting to foist its loyalist on the Commission preparatory to the 2023 general elections.

There are also unconfirmed reports that a minister from the North West zone, angling to seek the governorship of his state in 2023, is playing a major role in the ongoing power play.

Early signs pointing to the battle ahead surfaced penultimate week following the sudden announcement that the tenure of Prof. Yakubu and some national commissioners had been renewed.

It was gathered that this was done in total disregard to the constitution that stipulates that the president in the exercise of his power to make appointment to INEC “shall” consult the Council of State made up of ex-presidents and all serving governors.

Sources within the Presidential Villa, the APC leadership cadre and the Senate, disclosed that the announcement was made “with a view to checkmating other moves by members of other power blocs angling to take over control of INEC.”

There are claims that the contention in the APC over the organization of its national convention where members of its National Executive Committee (NEC) are expected to be voted into office is not unconnected to the unfolding power game which has INEC as a major plank.

Meanwhile, there were conflicting signals regarding what went into the renewal of the tenure of Prof. Yakubu. There are also signals that those outsmarted are threatening to open a can of worms in the days to come not withstanding the dismal showing and the dip in the esteem of INEC as a result of election outcomes that continue to draw the indignation of members of the public, civil society and some foreign election observers.

This is beside the recently conducted governorship election in Edo State adjudged by many to be free and fair. There is also palpable apprehension that the renewal of Professor Yakubu’s appointment by Nigeria’s Senate may be stormy.

Until the Edo election, the progress instituted by Prof. Attahiru Jega had suffered a setback in the hands of the present leadership.

While there are indications that the Senate may not resume its plenary sitting until January 2021 as a result of ongoing work on next year’s budget by various committees, the information available is that there is pressure mounted by the  power bloc in APC behind Prof. Yakubu’s reappointment on the leadership of the Senate, to reconvene this week for the purpose of sealing the renewal of the erstwhile INEC boss.

The push for the resumption of the Senate is reportedly being spare-headed by a very powerful member of its leadership whose hands is said to be fully in the plot for the retention of the chairmanship of INEC.

From the Senate end, there is said to be two power blocs interested in not just the headship of INEC but the fresh appointments of National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners who are either party members or sympathizers or otherwise. Two very powerful officers in the Senate are said to be in opposing camps and both are of the APC.

While one is for the retention of Yakubu, the other, said to be acting in concert with some other forces within Aso Rock is believed to be rooting for the appointment of one of the National Commissioners who hails from his own geo-political zone and an in-law to take over from the incumbent.

From the camp of the APC leadership, the re-appointment of Yakubu is seen as a potential repudiation of further push from the South West zone regarding what an insider described as a “seeming entitlement of a takeover in 2023 after President Buhari.” 

This calculation throws into the battlefield as well as pours cold water on the aspirations of both Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

A source within INEC made it clear that “the potential series of crisesthat are likely to overwhelm INEC are going to rear their heads with the filling of slots that would soon be vacant in North East – on account of tenures that have ended – as well as operational nuances that may alter long-held procedures of engendering elections that would stand the test of time.”

As at last week, there were ripples within INEC over moves to bring in another national commissioner-nominee from the same Gombe where the acting chairman, Mauzu hails from within the North East zone.

This is beside the surreptitious moves to upturn the balance in the ethnic configuration of the top management of the Commission with an emerging plot to reverse a Federal Government circular which suspended the tenure policy in the federal civil service to achieve what insiders described as planned ethnic cleansing of individuals holding directorates that must be yielded to a favour some others. Some of the ongoing moves to take over and control INEC are said to be part of the fallout of the demise of both former Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari and Ismaila Isa Funtua as well as absence from active participation in Villa politics, Mamman Daura, who wanted a rebranding of INEC and had wanted a new chairman with track records that Nigerians would applaud to boost the image of the electoral management body and the country and such a choice should possibly come  from the South.

The intended move by Daura, sources say, is part of efforts to help President Buhari leave behind a legacy, even as his Presidency struggles to do away with the perception of ethnic bigotry.

Sources INEC disclosed that the experience and capacity of Amina Zakari is second to none.

However, at the headquarters of the Commission, Ahmed Mu’azu, who is going ahead with his duties in an acting capacity, is also confronted with underhand moves by some officials and a national commissioner to cause the postponement of some scheduled bye-elections, until the return of Prof. Yakubu.

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