With the former Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, boss, Attahiru Jega, advising his successor to go to court to challenge the senate decision on the 2019 election order of procedure, the stage is now set for electoral crisis. Palpable fears have been expressed on the independence of INEC, judging from the leadership of the electoral body, which has been alleged to be biased in favor of APC and president Buhari ab initio.
Before the 2015 election, former president Goodluck Jonathan requested the nomination of INEC Chairman from the then APC presidential Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, who immediately nominated his niece, Amina Zakary. With the inauguration of Buhari as the president, so much was made of the fact that she is the President’s niece, and he removed her as the boss and put her at the most strategic position-Director of operations. With the portfolio, the buck stops on her desk. And recently, INEC declared in their new time table that the presidential election is expected to come first-a proposition that opposition says is to facilitate a band wagon effect after the presidential elections. The controversy led to the senate reversing the time table, with seven diehard All Progressives Congress, APC supporters, who are being referred to by the opposition as Buhari Vanguards, walking out of the Senate. They were later to tender apologies to the senate for the embarrassment when one of them lost a plum position in controversial circumstances.
While INEC decided to ignore the senate and insist on their time table of Presidential elections, which they fixes for February 16 2019, they went further to announce election time table for the next 36 years with the presidential elections coming first each time.
But it appears they are emboldened by the lackluster attitude of the legislative chambers on the alleged presidential misrule. But , if some opposition sources are to be believed, the National Assembly may soon become an Assembly with the ruling party as minority, since a mass defection to the opposition Peoples democratic Party is expected. Both Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the house Yakubu Dogara were conspicuously absent at the stakeholders meeting of the APC recently.
With the face off between he Senate and INEC envisioned to get messier, a dark pall has been cast over the 2019 election unless there is a way to resolve the impasse. As of now, it is a game of speculations.