Ahead of the 2023 general elections, there are new intrigues that threaten to destroy the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and completely erode its independence as a body that must serve the interests of all political parties, the Daily Independent has gathered.
This followed the formal handover by its national president, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, last week, pending Senate confirmation for the renewal of his term as commission chairman.
Furthermore, there are strong indications that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is going through a crisis regime as a result of the intense power play between key actors within the party’s leadership cadre who have formed into strong power blocs. within whose context. has what sphere of influence, preparatory to the general elections of 2023.
Also in this mix of power play is a minister from the northwestern geopolitical zone who is seeking the governorship of his state in 2023.
One of the signs of the power game emerged in the penultimate week, following the announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari that the mandate of Professor Yakubu and some national commissioners had been renewed.
This was done with total disregard for the constitution that says that the president, in the exercise of his power to appoint the INEC, “shall” consult the Council of State made up of former presidents and all the governors in office of all political parties.
A reliable source informed our correspondent that such announcements are generally made after the Council of State meeting through a letter written to the Senate to reconfirm the renewal of the mandate of such appointments.
The president of the Senate, it was deduced, usually reads aloud the executive letter signed by President Buhari, requesting the Senate’s confirmation.
Informed sources within Aso Villa, the APC leadership cadre, and the Senate revealed that the announcement was made “with a view to checkmate other movements of members of other power blocs that seek to take control of INEC.”
Indeed, the simmering dispute at APC over the timely organization of its national convention, where members of its National Executive Committee (NEC) are expected to be voted into office, is not disconnected from the unfolding power game. which has the INEC as its centerpiece. .
Whereas there were mixed signals regarding what happened in Professor Yakubu’s term renewal, and those who for now scoffed at the threats to open cans of worms in the coming days, despite the perceptible gloomy display and profound INEC’s view as a result of the election results that continue to provoke outrage from members of the public, civil society, and some foreign election observers, in addition to the recent governor’s elections in Edo state, considered by many to be free and fair. There is a palpable apprehension that the renewal of Professor Yakubu’s appointment by the Senate can be stormy.
Until the election of Edo, the incremental progress instituted by Professor Attahiru Jega, the immediate former national president of INEC, had suffered tremendous damage at the hands of the current EMB.
While there are indications that the Senate may not resume its plenary session until January 2021, as a result of ongoing work on next year’s budget by various committees, the floating information is that the power bloc at APC is exerting pressure. behind the reelection of Prof. Yakubu to the Senate leadership, to meet again this week for the purpose of sealing the renewal of Professor Yakubu’s appointment.
The push for the resumption of the Senate is reportedly being spearheaded by a very powerful member of its leadership whose hands are said to be entirely in the plot for the retention of the INEC presidency by Professor Yakubu.
In fact, from the end of the Senate, it is said that there are two power blocs interested not only in the leadership of the INEC, but in the new appointments of national commissioners and resident electoral commissioners who are party members or sympathizers. This measure will ensure that current seasoned commissioners who have acted truly independently and shown neutrality in conducting elections that should be elevated are likely to be removed.
Two very powerful officials in the Senate are said to be on opposite sides and both are from the APC.
While one is for the retention of Professor Yakubu, the other, who is said to act in concert with some other forces within the Aso Rock Presidential Village, is believed to be supporting the appointment of one of the national commissioners who comes from his own geography. political zone and a political relative to replace the incumbent.
In the executive branch there is a powerful minister from the Northwest who wants to be governor. He had penciled his own presidential candidate and those who should be commissioned, but one of the blocs behind Professor Yakubu has outwitted him for now.
From the camp of APC leaders, Yakubu’s re-election is seen as a possible repudiation of a further push from the Southwest with respect to what one insider described as an “apparent right to an inauguration in 2023 after the president. Buhari “.
This calculation is thrown onto the battlefield, in addition to pouring cold water on the aspirations of both Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
However, a source within INEC made it clear that “the potential series of crises that are likely to overwhelm INEC will reappear with the filling of positions that would soon become vacant in the Northeast, due to tenures that have ended – thus as operational nuances that can disrupt long-standing procedures to generate choices that would stand the test of time.
“Some of the new people Nigerians will start to see within the commission will likely point to the kind of election Nigerians will witness in 2023. All those whose faces represent a hopeful future for credible elections in the system right now can be relieved in their place having been elevated as national commissioners.
“At the very least, the nomination of a presidential aide known as a national commissioner was a clear indication of what is to come and his intention is to test the waters, and Nigerians must not be fooled into believing that there will be an independent commission, but that all Efforts are being made to compromise the composition of the commission with partisan individuals for total control, ”lamented the source.
“Starting last week, there were waves within INEC about measures to bring in another nominated national commissioner from the same state of Gombe where the interim president, AVM Mauzu (rtd.) Comes from the geopolitical zone of the northeast.
“This is in addition to the surreptitious movements that are being carried out to restore the balance in the ethnic configuration of the high leadership of the commission, with an emerging plot to reverse a circular from the Federal Government of Nigeria that suspended the policy of permanence in the Civil Service Federal to achieve what INEC insiders described as planned ethnic cleansing of individuals who occupy boards that must be ceded in favor of others.
Source: – Independent ng