#Ondo Decides: How INEC Commissioner Amina Zakari, El-Rufai, others made Jimoh Ibrahim PDP candidate against commission’s legal advice …The 2019 connection
Few days after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the name of Mr Jimoh Ibrahim as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 26 Ondo governorship election, it has been revealed that Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai and controversial INEC National Commissioner and relative to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mrs Amina Zakari forced the electoral commission to ignore legal advice from its own legal department and a consortium of Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) against dropping Mr Eyitayo Jegede.
Minister of Works, Power and Housing; Babatunde Fashola as well as his Solid Minerals counterpart, Dr Kayode Fayemi also played prominent role in getting Jimoh Ibrahim’s name into the INEC list despite that he did not emerge through any primary election known to the Electoral Act.
INEC sources disclosed that it was Mrs Amina Zakari that first rushed to the Aso Rock Presidential Villa at about 4pm on October 27, only for her to rush back to the office and left for Villa again with the INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu.
“It was when the two of them returned that the INEC Chairman gave verbal instruction that Jimoh Ibrahim should be included as the PDP candidate,” a source said.
Another INEC source disclosed to WazobiaReporters that Prof Yakubu was not happy about the decision but he had no option because the defacto INEC chairman is Mrs Amina Zakari.
“Despite that she was replaced with Prof Yakubu after acting illegally as INEC Acting Chairman as there is no provision for INEC Acting Chairmanship position in the Constitution of Nigeria, Mrs Amina Zakari is still functioning indirectly as the INEC boss.
“Prof Yakubu is just there as figure head because Mrs Amina Zakari is the one in charge. She demonstrated that on the Ondo State PDP candidate issue by imposing Jimoh Ibrahim, whom she termed as “Villa candidate” on INEC and Prof Yakubu had no option than to ignore the legal advice from the commission’s legal department.
“Even INEC field officers are not happy about this decision and as it is now, the commission is sharply divided,” the source said.
INEC Legal Department was said to have recommended that Eyitayo Jegede be recognized as the candidate of the PDP because the Commission monitored the primaries that produced him in line with the Electoral Act.
It also noted that Jimoh Ibrahim’s name was forwarded to the Commission by the factional State Exco of the PDP in Ondo State against the stipulation of the Electoral Act that says the name of a candidate must be forwarded to the Commission by the National Executive Council of the party. That this was not done in line with the Electoral Act and the act also contravenes the position of the Supreme Court in Emeka vs Okadigbo which equivocally states that it is the national executive of a political party that can forward the name of a candidate to the Commission.
“That the decision of Justice Okon Abang came at a time when there are many conflicting judgements on this issue and also violates the Supreme Court position in Emeka vs Okadigbo which states that for a candidate to be recognized as the candidate of a political party, he must have participated in all the processes for nomination and election into the position he seeks to occupy and that Jimoh Ibrahim did not qualify for this as he was neither validly nominated by his political party or is there any evidence before the Commission to show that he participated in any primaries. The Commission also did not monitor any primaries in which Jimoh Ibrahim emerged as a gubernatorial candidate of the PDP.
“There has been a restraining order from an Akure High Court restraining the Commission from recognizing Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP and it is the most recent order in the face of many conflicting orders. The Commission must do what is ethically and professionally right by not recognizing Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP candidate since it is clear to the Commission that only the primaries that produced Eyitayo Jegede followed the provisions of the Electoral Law.”
The 2019 Manoeuvring
A report published by TrentOnline indicated that El Rufai was already building structures across the country with which to launch his presidential aspiration by pouching like-minds and pulling down every perceived obstacles using his close relationship with the president.
One of the regions which the Kaduna governor is worried about is the South West because of the threat posed by Bola Tinubu, a co-founder of APC and erstwhile national leaders of the party.
“El Rufai believes that Tinubu will not support his 2019 presidential ambition, so he is working the usual Fulani political tactic, to divide and rule,” the APC chieftain told our reporter on condition of anonymity.
“So he cashed in on the frosty relationship between Tinubu and his “boys” Fashola and Fayemi. He is hoping to undercut the South West leader to achieve his aim of becoming president in 2019 and he sees Governor [Olusegun] Mimiko as his biggest threat to winning the vote in Ondo State.
“El Rufai knows he doesn’t stand a chance in the South West because of his cantankerous nature, which is made worse by his highly publicised spat with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, so he is pulling out all the cards into the game to undermine Yoruba politicians. But it will not work,” our source concluded.
2019: Fashola (Or Fayemi) As P
According to a reliable source in the presidency, “What is happening with the Ondo election is also part of the game plan to clear all obstacles for the emergence of El-Rufai as the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019, and either Fashola or Fayemi as his running mate.
“Part of the orchestrated plan also led to the humiliation of the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu during the Ondo APC primaries where his preferred candidate, Dr. Segun Abraham was rigged out of the race to pave way for Rotimi Akeredolu, who they believe is one of them and would be loyal to the El-Rufai/Fashola/Fayemi 2019 Presidential ambition,” the source said.
Another source in the APC also disclosed that “after outsmarting Asiwaju Tinubu in their game of wit, in their desperate move to capture Ondo for the APC in order to enable smooth ride for El-Rufai in Ondo State ahead of the 2019 elections, they believe rigging the election in favour of Akeredolu of the APC against Jegede the most popular candidate in the race, will not be very easy for them”.
Fashola is a two-term former governor of Lagos, while Fayemi is a one-term former governor of Ekiti.
The Mimiko Factor
The politician from one of the other South West states, who declined to be mentioned, continued, “They also see the big threat in Mimiko a highly experienced and smart politician whose political sagacity they cannot match, so they sought to use Jimoh Ibrahim to break the PDP in Ondo and capture the state as part of their 2019 agenda.
“When El-Rufai, Fashola and Fayemi consulted Jimoh, who had no intention to be governor. The plan was to use him obtain a court order from the controversial Justice Okon Abang to displace Jegede as the candidate of the PDP, thereby creating a smooth ride for the APC.
“Part of the deal was that when APC wins the Ondo election, the yet to be commissioned Ondo State Power Plant in Ore and the new International Events Center, The Dome in Akure, would be sold to Jimoh Ibrahim. While his lingering court battle with the Asset Management Company (AMCON) would also be settled,” he disclosed to our reporter.
Mimiko, who is presently fighting what has been described as one of the greatest political battles of his life, learning from the humiliation Asiwaju Tinubu suffered in the hands of El-Rufai, Fashola and Fayemi, seems to have seen the handwriting on the wall that the trio will leave no stone unturned to ensure he doesn’t handover to his preferred choice as next Ondo Governor.
The governor has been running from pillar to pole to ensure his party’s preferred candidate is reinstated on the INEC list before the November 26 election.
Meanwhile, the Appeal Court as set Tuesday, November 1, 2016 to pass judgement on the applications to set aside the dubiously obtained court order by Justice Okon Abang.
News Credit:Wazobia Reporters