Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has given a graphic detail of how President Muhammadu Buhari’s Neice, Amina Zakari’s appointment as the Chairperson of INEC’s Advisory Committee and Presidential Election Collation Centre Committee, was sealed at a midnight secret meeting in the Villa.
It would be recalled that the appointment of Mrs. Zakari as chair of the 2019 presidential collation centre has continued to receive widespread condemnation both within and outside Nigeria. The move is largely viewed as an attempt to rig the 2019 presidential election in favour of Buhari.
Frank in a statement in Abuja disclosed that the meeting took place at the Glass House inside the Aso Rock Villa in the early hours of Thursday prior to the announcement of that selection was made by Prof. Mahmood Yakubu – chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
He stated that he is in possession of reliable information about how the INEC chair and Zakari were smuggled into the villa at about 12.30am on Thursday after which Buhari, accompanied by few of his trusted aides, joined them inside the Glass House for the meeting.
He disclosed that Yakubu arrived for the meeting in a Black Peugeot 508, wearing a blue caftan while Zakari came in a black Prado Jeep, wearing a jalabiya.
He said the meeting lasted for 45 minutes.
He noted that Amina Zakari was the Commission’s head of electoral operations and logistics before she was redeployed to the department of health and welfare in October 12, 2018, following misgivings about her clear partisan posture in various elections conducted when she held sway as head of operations and logistics at INEC.
He added that her relationship with Buhari became suspect as many believed she was working for the re-election of her uncle – Buhari – and the success of the APC, which became obvious in the Edo, Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and other rerun elections that she supervised during the period.
He said that the appointment of Zakari to such a sensitive assignment was a culmination of the pressure the Presidency had brought to bare on Prof. Yakubu to return Zakari to the Operations department since October.
Frank called on the Chairman of INEC to resign his appointment for attending such a clandestine meeting and plotting to compromise the forthcoming presidential election in favour of Buhari through the appointment of Buhari’s niece to oversee the collation of presidential votes even before the first ballot was cast.
He added that Nigerians have lost confidence in him to conduct a free, fair and credible 2019 elections.
“A man who can succumb to pressure and brazenly compromise to further the desire of a candidate in an election cannot be trusted to be impartial during a general election with high stakes. I think he needs to undergo a test for codeine and tramadol abuse to think that Nigerians can be fooled that Zakari’s recent appointment is not a backdoor move to make her relevant in caring for Buhari’s interests during the Presidential elections,” Frank stated.
He observed that even though Buhari benefitted from free, fair and credible elections in 2015, he is not ready to advance the nation’s democracy by sticking to free and fair elections this time.
Frank said: “This is largely why he has refused to signed the amended Electoral Act 2010 and has now shopped for his Neice to oversee the hatchet job of rigging him back to power.
“Buhari is running away from a free and fair election. He is depending on INEC and the security forces to allocate votes to him. That is why he refused to sign the amended Electoral Act.
“As a perpetual lawbreaker, he has again broken the law by refusing to allow the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to go on retirement after spending his ‘overly doctored 35 mandatory years’ in the service of the country as a Police Officer.”
He insisted that Nigerians are hopeful that Buhari’s desperation will not set Nigeria ablaze post elections but lamented that “the way he (Buhari) is going, crisis will definitely engulf the country because the opposition is determined not to accept any rigging or compromised electoral process during the next election.
“If Buhari has any iota of integrity, let him demonstrate it now by allowing for free, fair and credible elections in February and March. We know he has no integrity and the opposition is ready to meet any of his shenanigans with equal and greater shenanigans.”
The Bayelsa-born political activist called on all patriotic Nigerians including the NLC, TUC, ASUU, NASU, ASUP, NBA, NMA, traditional and religious leaders to speak up in order to avert Buhari’s rigging plot capable of plunging the country into a bitter and violent crisis.
He also called on the United Nations and Nigeria’s allies in the advanced democracies – as members of the international community -working to sustain peace across the world to come to the aid of Nigeria at its most trying times.