Ekiti Election, Senate Dares INEC, As the Commission Commends Eleka Over Legal Option

By Stephen Ubanna

The last  may not have been heard  about the Ekiti  state governorship election in the south west Nigeria. This because the Bukola Saraki led Senate  has ordered Mahmood Yakubu, a Professor and  Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to organise a fresh governorship election in the state because of the alleged falsification of the September 14, 2018, election which  the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC , flag bearer , Kayode Fayemi and who incidentally was  a former minister of Mines and Solid Mineral Development  had won.

The Senate was said to have fixed February 14, 2019, for a fresh governorship in the state . The upper legislative Chamber was said to have appointed Ben Bruce, a Senator representing Bayelsa  state East as the returning officer of the rescheduled election . Senators Olujimi , a Senator from Ekiti and Dino Melaye, a former APC Senator from Kogi state but who had decamped to PDP, were said  to have moved a motion  for cancellation of the Ekiti election over alleged manipulation. Melaye , claimed he had jumped out from a moving  INEC bus  because he could  not  watch and see them manipulating the  election result.

But Yakubu , the INEC  boss, source said  was  not bothered by the legislative directive as he has dared Kolapo  Olusola Eleka, a Professor and the People’s Democratic Party , PDP, governorship election Candidate, to head for the Election Tribunal  and the Court  to challenge the election that gave Fayemi of the APC victory.

Mahmood Yakubu: Chairman , INEC.

The INEC helmsman has every reason to beat his chest  that the election which had produced Fayemi of the APC as the governor-elect of the state was ” free and fair” because thhere was no breakdown of law in the state  when the official result was finally announced.

Wole Osaze-Uzzi, the INEC  Director of voter Education was said to have welcomed the decision of Eleka, the PDP governorship Candidtate decision  to go to the Election Tribunal and the Court to Challenge  APC governorship Candidate result , stressing that it is the proper thing to do” rather than ”inciting statements and engaging in media trials”.

The Magazine learnt that the INEC  legal Department  at the instance of the Chairman are working together with a team of  lawyers to rubbish the plot of Ayode Fayose, the state governor and the PDP in the state to make mockery of the Ekiti governorship election.

Many believe that  the  PDP and its  governorship Candidate in the election resolve to go to the Election Tribunal and  the Court may have be strengthened  by the apparent confusion and various figures dangling about in the Commission circles  as the authentic election result that ought to have been announced by Abel idow Olayinka, a professor and Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan. The  Ekiti governorship election may have been altered , according to the sources because the returning websitemay have been  hacked.

More worrisome was the fact that the Ekiti election result had been removed from the INEC website, fueling speculation that  the Commission knew what they did i to give APC victory.  It was learnt  that initially at the collation centre at Ado Ekiti, the state Capital,  the APC governorship  Canditate polled  157,459 votes and the PDP Candidate, Eleka, was coasting home victory  with 178,121 votes.  It was gathered  that  the INEC officials and the security operatives  who were acting out a script from the Presidency tried 157,459 for the PDP governorship Candidate, it did not work.   They were also said to have tried  177,459 and it was still below PDP votes. This, the official said may have forced them to  go  for 197,459 for the APC Candidate.

Notwithstanding the figures  making the rounds as the real Ekiti governorship electionon   September 14, 2018,    Yakubu, the Chairman of the Commission insists that they stand  by the official results posted on their website and it is there for Nigerians to access.

Given the undisclosed amount spent by the Commission to conduct the last Ekiti state governorship,  particular, election materials and maintaining  the large array of securities deployed to the state to maintain law and order, the Commission  had requested for about  N242.45 billion to organise the 2019 general  election but  President Muhammadu Buhari  was said to have  told Yakubu and his officials that  only N164.105 billion would be  released for  the  election  through virement  or supplementary budget due to paucity of funds.

As a prelude to the conduct of the election, Buhari was said to have sent a letter to the Bukola Saraki, the Senate President  , requesting that the sum of about N228.85 billion  of the N578.319 billion worth of projects , inserted by the National Assembly into the 2018  budget be converted for the purpose of funding the election.  He was said to have made the Senate  to understand that  that about N242.45 billion  would be needed for the election.  Whether the senate would approve the amount remain to be seen. This is because of the frosty relationship between the National Assembly and the Executive  and the Senate current position on the Ekiti election that it was be cancelled and INEC , ordered to conduct a fresh governorship election in the state.

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