Former Senate President, Bukola Saraki and others are piling immense pressure on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, to help them ‘deliver’ the state for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
This was contained in a ‘Sahara Reporters’ report alleging that Saraki and other leaders of the PDP have perfected plans to rig the forthcoming Edo governorship election in favour of the party.
The online news agency alleged that Saraki reached out to the INEC Chairman through the PDP Deputy National Chairman (North), Suleiman Nazif, on how the election can be rigged in favour of the party.
Recall that Nazif was elected on the platform of the APC in 2015 from Bauchi, but was one of those who sided with Saraki and decamped with him to PDP in July 2018.
Nazif was also the chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC in the 8th assembly, and was involved in several attempts to change the sequence of elections in February 2018 through a controversial amendment which pro Buhari legislators insisted was targeted at sabotaging the president’s reelection.
Recall also that Senator Nazif was accused of deliberately withholding INEC’s budget passage in the run up to the 2019 elections as a form of strong arming the Commission to accept his controversial electoral amendments, which the president had vetoed.
Senator Nazif was widely regarded as former Senate President Saraki’s pointsman in dealing with INEC during the 8th assembly. After decamping to PDP in July, he ran in the 2019 elections but lost his seat. He was thereafter rewarded by his benefactor, Bukola Saraki – who had been made National Leader of the PDP – with the Vice Chairman position.
According to a Sahara Reporters source, despite the immense pressure by the PDP stalwarts, Prof Yakubu is insisting that he won’t be involved in the manipulation of results to favour any party.
“The INEC Chairman has told them that only the will of the people will prevail and that he has no such powers to rig elections, especially with the technology and innovations in place. He told them that he has never rigged elections and is not going to start now.
“Senator Suleiman Nazif, a former Senate Committee Chairman on INEC, has been sent to him by Bukola Saraki on several occasions but he maintained that he can’t get himself involved,” the source said.
The Edo election is seen by many as a two horse race between Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the APC and the incumbent, Godwin Obaseki, who is seeking a second term in office on the platform of the PDP after he was disqualified from contesting on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.