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EXCLUSIVE: Plot Against Yakubu’s Confirmation As INEC Boss Thickens

Intense lobby, backstabbing and discussions in hush-hush tones have characterized the impending appearance of outgoing Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC)’s reconfirmation appearance at the Senate. Investigations by New National Star revealed that Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu’s traducers are from within and outside the Commission. But his supporters have resorted to seeking divine intervention in getting the electoral boss a clean bill of administrative and political health as they strongly argue that the embattled INEC boss had worked conscientiously to the best of his ability to deserve a smooth sail at the Upper legislative house.

Specifically, some INEC top shots who are against Prof Yakubu’s second term confirmation, investigations revealed, are in two folds: those who believe that very few past Chairmen had been privileged to serve a two-term regime and those who are of the belief that some of them within the Commission are eminently qualified to lead the electoral body as those coming to the Commission from outside always take years to study the workings of the Commission. Signs that tension was high in the Commission emerged as both traducers and supporters of the renominated INEC boss have elected to speak in hush-hush tones and some pleading not to be quoted.

Their reason: they are not sure where the pendulum would swing and they do not want to be caught on the wrong side whenever the distinguished Senators use their constitutional powers to determine who sits on INEC hot seat. A top stakeholder in the electoral project who sought anonymity confirmed to this newspaper that the rumour on the opposition to Prof Yakubus’ reappointment is so rife and potent that it could be cut with a knife.” there are some that believe that the man is compromised and should not be allowed to continue while some are of the opinion that the man should be allowed to continue with the reforms he has brought into the Commission,” the stakeholder said. Yakubu who completed a five year tenure on November 9, 2020, was reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari and his name sent to the Senate for confirmation, a clear indication that Aso Rock is pleased with the senior university lecturer turned electoral umpire chief.

When contacted for reaction to issues surrounding Professor Mahmoud Yakubu’s reappointment, his spokesman, Mr Rotimi Oyekanmi, declined comment. The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) alleged plot to use the Judiciary to”destabilize” the electoral and stop the Senate from screening the former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who was renominated by President Muhamamadu Buhari for a second term. It further alleged that the plot against Yakubu, was conceived by elements who are desperate to hijack the electoral organ ahead the 2023 election.

The umbrella body for political parties in in a statement by its Chairman, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, noted that ”events in the last few days in our polity demands intervention of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC to support in steering things right, and also to alert Nigerians to the insidious plot to unsettle the polity through destabilizing the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and scuttle the reform instituted by the former Chairman, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, who has stepped down from the Commission but who President Mohammadu Buhari re-appointed and transmitted confirmation to the Senate.”

It noted further that the independent National Electoral Commission, INEC under Professor Mahmood Yakubu achieved respectable results during his first tenure. The Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC was happy withhis reappointment and made this clear in its congratulatory message on October 30, 2020. “We noted unambiguously that the positive technology and digitization trajectory he set for the Commission remains impressive with reformation agenda he plans for the political process and system before expiration of his first tenure. However, these laudable achievement is being disparaged by forces who will stop at nothing to ensure that the country do not move forward. According to Ezenwa ”we have reached the point where we must jettison political differences and stand for Nigeridishonourablenorable tendency to pull everything down if it does not favour ones predilection or suits ones’ whims and caprices is leading many to indulge in acts that mocks the senses and drains the soul. Some Nigerians are it again to unsettle the polity and halt screening of the INEC Chairman Nominee, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu.” “This gambit spearheaded by those who claim to be loyalists to Mr. President in the day time but wear a treacherous dress to undo the President and sabotage his agenda in pursuit of a desperate ambition to be president and governors in 2023. It is all about 2023 and how to hawkishly destroy in anything in sight that will stay in their ways. “On November18, 2020, two hired hands purportedly filed a matter in the Federal High Court aimed at stopping the Senate from screening the nominee and nullifying the appointment made by the President citing that until the Police completes an imaginary criminal investigation, the screening should not take place.

“This would seem normal to the ordinary eyes but it has been confirmed that the matter was filed, processed, assigned and dispatched to the judge on the same 18th day of November, 2020 that it was filed. Legally, these are processes that ordinarily take 2 weeks to complete. How fast our justice system now moves.” IPAC also alleged that, ”they had earlier surreptitiously filed a suit to seek an order to stop the screening at an FCT High Court but the courageous jurist before whom it came while rejecting their evil Exparte Motion to stop the screening of the INEC nominee restated the fact that no law court can stop internal parliamentary functions which have not been completed. Having failed, they went to market again claiming to be shopping for any rogue judge who would accede to their evil plot.

“They have now filed same suit at the Federal High Court and got it processed, assigned and dispatched within minutes to another Judge court hoping to continue to pursue this diabolic mission. These elements and their backers want confusion and crisis to engulf our electoral space.’’ Besides, the selected members of pro-democracy and human rights community under the various platforms of civil society groups including: Herald for Anti Corruption and Public Morality, Transparency Center Network, Conscience Group and Citizens League for the Protection of Democracy in a statement signed by Comrade Wale Adegoke, Comrade Farouk Umar, Comrade Tony Chigbo as well as Comrade Musa Abdullahi for the respective organisations that the campaign of calumny, distraction and mischief against Yakubu is by disgruntled political elements. The groups in a joint statement strongly condemn what they describe as the unfolding campaign of blackmail against the reappointment of Yakubu in strongest terms, noting that ‘‘the allegation being orchestrated by is part of a grand design at stonewalling his clearance by the Senate for a five-year term.

“Equally, very few serious-minded democrats can continue to ignore the tantrums being propagated by desperate political elements in continuation of their dirt fight against Prof Yakubu for refusal to compromise with them.

“From all available information, it has become clear that purvoyers of campaign of distraction against are in cahoot with some forces nursing a dark agenda to subvert the electoral process as we are gradually building up to the 2023 general election,” the groups stated.

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