A stalwart of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who also doubles as an accredited observer with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Amadi Chima has revealed some top secrets dealings of his party, the PDP with some officials of the electoral commission.
An obviously angry Amadi who couldn’t hide his disappointment with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took to his twitter account Tuesday to reveal what he described as party’s connivance with some officials of the electoral umpire with the intent of rigging the 2019 presidential election.
A knowledgeable source close to Amadi reveals that he had expected that the PDP will hire him as a consultant to do the dirty job of liasing with any willing INEC officials who will help the party to do the dirty job that would help the opposition party in her quest to wrestle power from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
Amadi’s confidence of securing the job was predicated on the strength of his observer status with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and his closeness with the commission’s boss, Professor Mahmoud Yakubu during his sojourn as the Chief Executive of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
The PDP however disappointed Amadi by appointing a former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Maurice Iwu as the consultant who will handle the party’s relationship with the electoral commission.
In a series of tweet on his twitter account, Amadi expressed disappointment with the action of his party by revealing the PDP systemic control of some officials of INEC which also includes the controversial Amina Zakari.
Amina Zakari, who was served as the acting chairman of the commission following the exit of the former chairman, Attahiru Jega has been in the news of late. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had alleged that she is a niece to President Muhammadu and her recent appointment as the chairman and oversee the management of the electoral centre for the 2019 elections were seen by the party as a ploy by the president to rig the election.
The presidency has roundly refuted this allegation saying that Mrs Zakari is a it a niece to President Buhari neither does the president plan to rig the election.
Amadi however seems to share a different view. Though he maintained that Mrs Zakari is an indirect niece to President Buhari, her position at the electoral commission has never been to the benefit of the president. Instead, she has played the script of the PDP since her appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, he said.
According to Amadi, who said he was speaking based on his membership of the PDP since 1998 and his over 25 years participation in elections as an observer and expert commentator on democracy, further said that “Amina’s action in the INEC has not served any purpose for the president but has benefited my party, the PDP, to the detriment of the integrity of the elections until the current helmsman in INEC came on board to restore sanity to the commission.
He cited several instances to buttress his point one of which includes the campaign against the use of PVC by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.
“When in 2014 it became clear to the PDP that the technological innovations that Jega was introducing were going to be a bulwark against the tradition of votes allocation, a massive campaign was kickstarted to do away with the PVC and Smart Card Reader technology. This campaign played out in the media. Unbeknownst to many, the battle was not restricted to shaping opinions against the use of the PVC and SCR, it extended into the Commission. The arrowhead of those who called for the abandonment of the innovation was Amina Zakari.”
Continuing, he said, “Amina Zakari, Prince Adedeji Soyebi, and another National Commissioner, Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku, a card-carrying member of the PDP, led the groundswell of opposition against the deployment of technology in the 2015 elections which created a sharp divide in the Commission.”
“In fact, Jega had to beat a retreat in implementing full use of technology in the transmission of results because of the opposition mounted by these Commissioners who were apparently carrying out the instructions of external forces.”
“I was therefore amused that the same party raised hell when PMB wrongly rejected the Electoral Act Amendment on account of the electronic transmission of results clauses in the Bill.”
“One of the issues the PDP raised against president Buhari’s ill-advised and very vexatious withholding of assent to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill is related to the use of incident forms during elections.”
“However, not many Nigerians may know that these forms were first muted by Amina Zakari to the Commission under Jega as a way of cushioning the effect of the SCR. We now know that the PDP were the biggest beneficiaries of the extensive use of incident forms introduced by Zakari.”
To further buttress his claim that the PDP benefited more from the use of incidence form in the 2015 elections, Amadi brought in figures where he compared the percentage of use of incidence form in areas where President Muhammadu scored more votes than his closest challenger, former President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice versa.
“In Kano and Katsina, out of the 3,943,080 that were accredited to vote in both States in 2015, 851,062 used incident forms, representing about 22% of the total votes cast. Comparatively, in Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, out of the 2,717,479 persons that were accredited to vote, a whopping 2,525,460 used incident forms, representing an outrageous 93%. Amina’s ‘ingenious’ contribution to democracy in Nigeria came through for the PDP.”
Amadi also used the Bayelsa governorship election held in 2016 as another instance where Amina Zakari while serving as acting chairman of the commission played the script of the PDP by allowing over one hundred thousand ghost voters to vote in the election.
“As Acting Chairman of the INEC, following Jega’s departure, Amina almost bungled the Bayelsa elections. Under her watch, over one hundred thousand ghost voters, many with almanack pictures as identification were introduced into the Bayelsa Voters Register.”
“It was not until the appointment of Prof.Yakubu as the INEC chairman that this anomaly was corrected through the deployment of the Automated Fingerprint Identification System(AFIS).Many of these ghost registrants were in areas that were considered the PDP’s stronghold in Bayelsa.”
He also wrote on the role Amina Zakari played in the 2015 governorship election held in Kogi state where late Prince Abubakar AUDU was coasting home to victory until his death before the final declaration of the election results.
According to him, “while many were too eager to lampoon the INEC for the Kogi debacle in 2015, only a handful may be aware that the needless quagmire would have been avoided if Amina did not try to save the PDP from crushing defeat in the hands of the APC under late Abubakar Audu.”
“The Kogi election was to be won at first ballot when Amina surprisingly decided to proceed to Kogi rather than remain in the INEC Headquarters as Head of the Elections Operations Committee. Amina drafted to the field another PDP appointee and someone she relentlessly lobbied to continue as national commissioner, Prince Soyebi. Amina would move to Dekina local government area which is the home of the PDP candidate, Idris Wada. It was the crises in Dekina that led to the declaration of the election as inconclusive.”
After also revealing the role Amina Zakari played in the Osun election which brought in Alhaji Isiaka Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the new governor, having defeated his strongest challenger, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in an election that went into supplementary polls, Amadi said “not too many followers of events at the INEC were surprised when the INEC chairman announced changes in the Headship of committees within the Commission, a move that effectively brought Amina’s reign and influence over elections to an abrupt end.”
He had earlier explained how the then INEC chairman, Jega, whom he said is very much aware of “Amina’s unwholesome affinity with politicians and waited” had waited patiently until the last minute where just a few days to the 2015 elections, was removed as the Head of the Elections and Party Monitoring Committee of the INEC and moved to the Planning Committee which had basically finished all its elections planning.
He said “Perhaps this deployment was instrumental to the success of the 2015 elections.
Amadi wondered why the PDP is now washing its hands off Amina since “she is their creation and has paid back adequately.”
He said, “Instructively, Amina Zakari was the Head of the Collation Centre sub-Committee in 2015, the same sub-Committee that the PDP is now rejecting, there is no record of the party objecting to that appointment since she was related to a man that would be on the ballot with the party’s candidate.”
Amadi describes the PDP’s Press Release on the announcement of Amina’s Headship of the Collation Centre sub-Committee citing conflict of interest as its reason for rejecting her appointment as hogwash.
He said “A party that had no qualms in nominating card-carry members of her party into the Commission cannot now lecture the nation on ethics and propriety. I was disgustingly amused when I sighted Ambassador Lawrence Nwuruku, a former INEC National Commissioner, and Mr Nasir Ayilara, former INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner representing Kwara State, at the last PDP National Delegate Convention in Port Harcourt, proudly hanging their delegate cards on their necks.
“It is not also hidden that the former Governor of Abia State, Ochendo Theodore Orji was once an INEC Administrative Secretary. The current governor of Bauchi State was an INEC Commissioner appointed by the PDP. In all these, where was the party’s sense of propriety?”
“If the PDP takes a critical introspective look at its position on Amina, they would realise that they are inadvertently conceding that President Mohammadu Buhari and by extension the APC are better character judges than the PDP ever was.”
“Out of the 12 serving National Commissioners of INEC, only Amina and Prince Adedeji Soyebi were original appointees of the PDP. In castigating Amina, the PDP has tacitly admitted that the 10 National Commissioners appointed by Buhari have better character traits than appointees it sponsored initially to the Commission.”
“The PDP cannot distance itself from Amina, they created her and turned her into what she has become today. She is their baggage, and they must embrace her. Perhaps, the improvements in elections management have ensured that the Party is no longer getting value for money from Amina leading the bigwigs to conclude that she has become a rogue agent. That the party would think that out of the 12 National Commissioners, 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners, 38 Returning Officers, and the hundreds of people that would be in the ICC, one woman has the powers to determine the outcome of elections tells Nigerians all they need to know about the quality of opposition in Nigeria.”
Amadi’s apparent anger for the selection of former INEC boss, Maurice Iwu against persons like him later came to bear on his tweet as he said the “PDP is still holed up in the past and is refusing to ask some of us within its fold that engage with the process to enlighten its apparatchiks on current trends in elections management. Why would they not have this medieval mentality when rumours have it that they have engaged the discredited Maurice Iwu as one of their elections consultants.”
He wondered why the PDP is chasing shadows and engaging in irrelevant distractions rather than run an aggressive issues-based campaign to present a credible alternatives to voters.
He said “the end game will perhaps be to have an excuse for a defeat if its lacklustre campaigns come back to haunt it.”