Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has reacted to the revelation by the former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, was allegedly recommended for reappointment in 2020 by an associate of the president-elect, Bola Tinubu.
Amaechi, speaking in Rivers State on Saturday, alleged that the re-appointment of the INEC chairman came from Tinubu’s camp, and that the INEC head also worked under Governor Nyesom Wike when Wike was Minister of State for Education and interim Minister of Education in President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
“INEC is a complete failure. There were those among us who opposed Yakubu Mahmood’s reappointment. The individual who nominated him belongs to Tinubu’s camp. So what do you anticipate?
“Here in Rivers State, Mahmood worked under Wike as Executive Secretary of TETFund; therefore, what you have in Rivers is APC and other parties competing not against PDP, but against INEC and against the police,” Amaechi had claimed.
In response to Amaechi’s remark, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr. Phrank Shaibu, issued a statement on Sunday stating that the revelation by the former Rivers State governor confirmed “our worst fears that Yakubu’s INEC was working for the APC.”
Shaibu stated, “The former governor Amaechi’s revelation confirms what everyone has always known. That INEC, under Prof. Yakubu’s leadership, is in the deepest part of Bola Tinubu’s pocket.
“This confirms our earlier assertion that Tinubu had already begun a systematic capture of the state in which the police, INEC, and the judiciary are in his pocket. Is it not surprising that the AIG tasked with overseeing the governorship and presidential elections in Rivers State is Kayode Egbetokun, a known Tinubu ally who also served as Tinubu’s Chief Security Officer when he was governor of Lagos?
“Because of this unholy alliance between INEC and the police, the election in Rivers State remains one of the most rigged in Nigerian history. Indeed, state capture has already begun.”
Shaibu added that the INEC chairman’s compromise was the reason results were not uploaded on election day, as well as the reason Yakubu continued to announce the results despite opposition from political parties.
He said when the story of Nigerian elections would be told, Yakubu’s name would be mentioned for the wrong reasons.
Atiku’s aide added, “This explains why, after promising Nigerians that he would upload election results from polling units, he changed his mind at the last minute and then blamed it on glitches. Yakubu was the only hiccup because of his affair with Tinubu’s APC, which was incestuous.
Prof. Attahiru Jega, his predecessor, oversaw two credible presidential elections in 2011 and 2015. The 2015 election was so credible that the fewest election petitions and court disputes were filed.
“Rather than improve this, Professor Yakubu prioritised his own interests over those of over 200 million Nigerians. Before the election, he claimed at Chatham House that the electoral system he implemented was so advanced that body odour could be used for voter identification. However, this was all a part of his elaborate deception.
Prof. Yakubu was unable to conduct credible elections despite receiving more funding than any other INEC chairman in history. This is truly a disgrace for a man whom more than 200 million Nigerians viewed as their last hope.”
On the eve of the presidential election, an online platform alleged that INEC had been compromised by Tinubu. According to Shaibu, the rumour proved to be accurate.
In addition, Atiku’s assistant stated that it was disappointing that the INEC chairman continued to grant crucial election contracts to APC candidates.
He said, “A top INEC consultant was caught on tape indicating that Tinubu would offer the commission’s staff $170 million to alter the results of the Nigerian presidential elections.
“During the same election season, INEC awarded sensitive contracts to companies owned by APC Senator Sani Musa and APC Adamawa governorship candidate Senator Aishatu Ahmed Binani. Indeed, it is safe to say that Prof. Yakubu has sold Nigeria’s democracy to the APC.”