Can INEC Still Be Trusted?

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The dramatics of the 2019 general elections appear unending. The intrigues and the sudden increase in levels of distrust within the top and inner circles of the presidency and the ruling party, the All Progressive Congress [APC] threatens undermining the reelection campaign of the president.  Information available to obtained from a consortium of competent sources reveal the atmosphere inside the presidency as frosty, tense and unsettled over the manner the fracas within the APC have been mismanaged.

Sources within the presidency spoke candidly of the fallout following the APC primary elections – as having deeper impact on the larger stage inside the presidency.

It is recalled that 177 gubernatorial aspirants contested for only 29 slots.

Rumble Inside Presidency As Aides Undermine Reelection Effort

According to one of the sources, many of the federal ministers and top presidential aides had presented aspirants for the many positions with the expectations that their candidates would receive the normal preferential treatments given to persons with presidential backing. They were not.

Indeed, the grievance appears deep. Many of the Senators and other legislators who left the APC unceremoniously to the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] along with the aggrieved presidential aides are said to have followers within the presidency who can be considered ardent loyalists. “They don’t have Buhari’s interest in mind”.

The former Governor of Rivers State who is presently the minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi was citing as one of the aggrieved aides to the President and the APC in general. His shadowy conflict with Senator Abe in River State for control of the party structure – of which the Adams Oshiomhole led APC seemed not to immediately take sides with Rotimi Amaechi – angered Amaechi and dampened his continued support for the APC in general, and Buhari in particular. Rotimi Amaechi in turn has launched a factional APC group in the neighboring State of Bayelsa to destabilize the Tmipre Sylva led APC in the State. Sources in Bayelsa State believe Amaechi objective was to destabilize the APC in the region.

The celebrated entry of Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom into the APC further shrunk the radius of control for the Transport minister within the Niger Delta region. Rotimi Amaechi was considered he strong man of the South South region by the APC and the Presidency prior to the troubles.

Presently, there are unconfirmed information from a reliable source indicating Rotimi Amaechi have sent emissaries to the Atiku camp in Dubai suggesting a willingness to collaborate. is not certain of the move by Amaechi. But Rotimi Amaechi had enjoy a personal relationship with Abubakar Atiku that dates back to his [Amaechi] days at the Rivers State House of Assembly.  Till date, the relationship remains intact.

Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resource was ruthlessly skimmed out of the primaries in his home State of Delta. His was not honored as a top aide to the president. His input was not sort. He was not consulted with or informed of the goings on as the APC in Delta State prepped for the primaries. In anger, the Petroleum Minister abstained from the primaries. He did not show up at the venue. His preferred aspirants were not given a chance at clinching the ticket. They lost. The APC national chairman nor the president intervened on his behalf.

The federal minister of Defense, Mansur Dan Ali is not left off the list of aggrieved. The recent ban by the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] of the APC from presenting a candidate in the general elections in Zamfara State comes directly as a letdown for the Defense Minister who hails from Zamfara State – and was enmeshed in a political tussle with the State governor of Zamfara for the structure of APC in the State.  Dan Ali who retired as a Brigadier General in 2013 is considered one of the close aides to the President. His close proximity to the President did not yield the expected political dividends. Associates near the Defense minister indicate the Minister in unhappy with the aloofness of the President on the Zamfara matter.

The former minister of woman affairs, Mrs. Aisha Jummai Alhassan was forced out of the APC by the actions of the national Chairman, Adamu Oshiomhole. On Monday September 10, 2018, Oshiomhole swore in Hon. Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi as Taraba State APC chairman. The action was considered abrupt because Abdulmumini Vaki, who emerged chairman of the party in June, three months earlier, with active support of the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Aisha Jummai Alhassan was removed for no clearly stated reasons. The minister has since left the APC for another party. She is contesting for the governorship seat of Taraba State. She had single handedly financed activities of the APC in the state.

According to our source, the cooperation within the presidency towards the 2019 reelection campaign is not present. “It is lukewarm”. The source puts the enthusiasm level at a low. “The ministers are not eager to garner support for the President’s project”.  The source cites the minimal publicity given to the achievements of the Buhari administration by the various Ministers and close associates of the President as the effect of the rumble presently rocking the presidency.