The Oasis Reporters
February 9, 2019
By Farooq Kperogi
The auguries already favor a decisive win Atiku win in the forthcoming February 16 election, and the biggest electoral shock may actually come from the northwest, hitherto Buhari’s impregnable electoral fortress. The silent majority of voters in the region will ventilate their pent-up anger and frustration against Buhari in ways that will signal a tectonic disruption of the habitual voting patterns of the region. At this point, Buhari isn’t a threat to Atiku. INEC Chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu is actually Atiku’s most potent threat now. Here is why.
A brother of the INEC chairman’s close friend confided in me today that the electoral boss has a deep-seated animus toward Atiku and has made many nasty, unkind remarks about Atiku in private. That, in and of itself, is not the problem. We are all entitled to our personal predispositions and biases as long as they don’t interfere with our judgement on occasions that invite our neutrality and fair mindedness.
However, the same source told me the INEC chairman has a profound personal investment in APC’s electoral successes, like Maurice Iwu had of PDP’s victories. He said the INEC chairman told his friend that he was going to hand victory to APC in the Osun governorship election even though PDP clearly and handily won it. Buhari’s unguardedly candid confession on January 27 at the banquet hall of the Osun State Government House that APC won the Osun governorship election with “remote control” is the biggest corroboration of this previously uncirculated whisper.
The go-to rhetorical strategy to impeach the credibility of uncomfortable, anonymous but veridical revelations like this is to call them “fake” and dismiss them as ill motivated. Well, I’ve confirmed the INEC chairman’s ill will against and active personal hostility toward Atiku from other credible sources that should know. I’m so sure of my information that I can swear by Allah that Professor Yakubu isn’t neutral toward Atiku and has said unmentionably disparaging things about him in private. I invoke the wrath of Allah upon me if I am making this up. I hope Professor Yakubu, who is a Muslim like me and with whom I have personal familiarity, can do the same.
I concede that INEC has taken many admirable actions in the past few months that point to some degree of independence. It has also conducted a few elections in which APC lost, but that may just be window-dressing to conceal plans for the grand presidential electoral heist on February 16. The world needs to know that the INEC chairman isn’t neutral toward all the presidential candidates. There are many other disturbing things I’ve heard about the INEC chair that I’ll withhold for now because I haven’t independently confirmed them. It suffices to say, nonetheless, that the INEC chairman is NOT a neutral arbiter in the forthcoming election. Domestic and international observers—and Atiku’s agents—should observe him with heightened sensitivity. This is not Attahiru Jega; this is a less evil version of Maurice Iwu.
The writer, Farooq Kperogi is a professor of New Media, Kennesaw State University, Georgia (GA), USA.