The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has described the appointment of yet another Northerner, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, as the Chairman the Independent National Electoral Commission as a vindication of his position that “President Mohammadu Buhari is a sectional leader, who sees himself mainly as leader of the Hausa/Fulani, and not that of the entire people of Nigeria”.
Fayose said he had expected that the new INEC chairman will be chosen from one of the three southern geo-political zones, especially the South Western part of the country being the only zone yet to produce chairman of the nation’s electoral umpire.
He posited: “Nigeria has entered a one chance bus and it remains to be seen who will save the country from its sectional President.”
Reacting in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose that even the Yoruba leaders who promoted and made the Buhari Presidency possible had been shortchanged.
The governor said: “Shouldn’t he have considered someone from either South-East, South-South or South-West as Chairman of the Electoral Commission now that we have a President from the North?
“For reasons of perception, equity and fairness, don’t we have credible people from the Southern part of Nigeria that can conduct credible elections as INEC Chairman? Or do we assume that the 2019 elections have already been won and lost by the appointment of this Hausa/Fulani professor as INEC chairman? Or isn’t it regrettable that even in 2015, it is only in PDP controlled States that elections are being upturned?”
Fayose said he was worried that the three arms of government, namely Executive, Legislative and Judiciary, were being headed by northerners, leaving the three zones in the Southern part of the country with nothing.
Speaking further, Governor Fayose said: “When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the President, he never appointed a Yoruba man as INEC chairman. Dr Goodluck Jonathan too did not appoint an Ijaw man as INEC Chairman.
“Former President Shehu Shagari too did not appoint a Hausa man like himself as Chairman of the Federal Electoral Commission. Rather, he appointed late Justice Victor Ovie Whisky.
“During the Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha regimes, no Hausa/Fulani man was appointed as Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria and General Abdulsalami Abubakar who established the current INEC did not also appoint his fellow Hausa man as chairman.
“How then can we have a President from the North and at the same time have INEC Chairman from the Hausa/Fulani Northern Nigeria?
“Obviously, what is being witnessed is more like a situation where it appears the President is more interested in having someone malleable to him than serving the interest of Nigeria and its people.”
Governor Fayose, who described the hurried appointment of the INEC boss as a vindication of his earlier stand that the appointment of Amina Zakari as INEC Acting Chairperson was illegal, said all processes leading to the conduct of the Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship election must start afresh.
He said: “It should be recalled that l raised the alarm on the legality of INEC under an Acting Chairman or Chairperson as there was no provision for INEC Acting Chairmanship position in the Constitution of Nigeria.
“I did say in a statement issued on August 9, 2105 that any action taken by INEC with Mrs Zakari as its head will amount to illegality and I urged President Mohammadu Buhari to avoid plunging Nigeria into an avoidable legal quagmire by rescinding immediately, the illegal appointment of Mrs Zakari as INEC Acting Chairperson.
“However, the president chose to wait until decisions were taken by INEC on Kogi and Bayelsa States governorship elections and one begins to wonder how INEC will wriggle itself out of the legal quagmire it has been plunged into by the President’s refusal to heed to the voice of reason.”