By G9ija

Atiku Abubakar, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, has alleged that Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is working in tandem with the ruling party Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s APC to subvert Nigeria’s democracy.

A statement from Atiku’s media office on Sunday said Mr Yakubu’s compromise was the reason results were not uploaded to INEC server on the same day the presidential election was held on 25 February.

It was also the same reason that Mr Yakubu continued to announce the results despite protests from political parties, the statement, signed by Phrank Shaibu, Atiku’s special assistant on public communication read.

The former vice president was reacting to an allegation by the immediate-past Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who said Mr Yakubu was recommended for re-appointment by a member of Bola Tinubu’s camp in 2020.

Speaking in Rivers State on Saturday, Mr Amaechi noted that not only did the re-appointment of the INEC chairman come from Tinubu’s camp, but the INEC boss also worked under Governor Nyesom Wike when the Rivers State governor was Minister of State for Education and interim Minister of Education in the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“INEC is a complete failure,” Mr Amaechi said. “There are those of us who opposed the reappointment of Yakubu Mahmood. The person who nominated him is a member of Tinubu’s camp. So what are you expecting?

“Here in Rivers State, Mahmood worked under Wike as Executive Secretary of TETFund; so what you are having in Rivers is that APC and other parties are contesting, not against PDP, but against INEC, against police,” the former minister added.

Atiku said Mr Amaechi’s revelation was a confirmation of “our worst fears that Yakubu’s INEC was working for the APC.”

“Former Governor Amaechi’s revelation is only a confirmation of what everyone always knew. That INEC under the leadership of Prof Yakubu is inside the deepest corner of Bola Tinubu’s pocket.”

Earlier, the PDP had said Mr Tinubu had already embarked on a systematic state capture where the police, INEC, and the judiciary are in his pocket.

“Is it not surprising that the AIG who was deployed in Rivers State to supervise the governorship and Presidential elections is Kayode Egbetokun, a known ally of Tinubu who also served as Tinubu’s Chief Security Officer while he was governor of Lagos?” the PDP said.

“This unholy alliance between INEC and the police is the reason why the election in Rivers State remains one of the most rigged in the history of Nigeria. Indeed, the journey to state capture has begun.”

For this, Atiku said when the story of the Nigerian elections is told, the name of Mr Yakubu will be mentioned for the wrong reasons.

“After promising Nigerians that he would upload election results from polling units, he changed his mind at the last minute and then blamed it on glitches. Truth be told, Yakubu was the only glitch because of his incestuous affair with Tinubu’s APC.”

“His predecessor, Prof. Attahiru Jega conducted two credible presidential elections in 2011 and 2015. The 2015 election was so credible that it witnessed the lowest number of election petitions and court disputes.

“Rather than improve on this, Prof Yakubu put his personal interest far and above that of over 200 million Nigerians. He claimed before the election at Chatham House that the electoral system he put in place was so advanced that the human body odour could be used for voter accreditation if he wanted. But this was all part of his grand deception.”

“Despite receiving higher allocations than any other INEC chairman in history, Prof Yakubu could not conduct a credible election. This is indeed shameful for a man who over 200 million Nigerians saw as their last hope,” the statement said.

INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, did not answer our reporter’s phone calls put through to him for his comment on Sunday. He has also yet to respond to the reporter’s text message.

Atiku is the second-place candidate in the 25 February presidential elections. He secured 29 per cent of the votes to finish behind Mr Tinubu of the APC.

“It was also disheartening that the INEC chairman continued to award sensitive election contracts to APC candidates.”

“In the same election season, INEC awarded sensitive contracts to companies owned by Senator Sani Musa of APC and Senator Aishatu Ahmed Binani, the APC governorship candidate in Adamawa. It is indeed safe to say that Nigeria’s democracy has been sold to the APC by Prof. Yakubu.”

A company owned by Aishatu Dahiru, a sitting Senator and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Adamawa state, has been confirmed by INEC to have been awarded the contract to print certain sensitive materials for the 2023 elections.

The electoral commission, INEC, stated that the company obtained the contract through an open bidding process and that it had no knowledge of its connection to the senator.

However, upon further investigation, it was discovered that a certain individual named Aishatu Dahiru, who shares the same name as the said politician, is listed as one of the company’s two directors.