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.
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.