There are three National Commissioners at INEC who can be described as operating like Nigeria’s post-civil war Super Perm Secs. These three people were the ones who pushed for a hard line against RECs from the South, to go along with and be complicit in the lopsided allocation of the over 30, 000 Polling Units PU’s, which failed because it did not take into consideration, the Registration Areas, RA’s they were to be allocated and eventually got INEC Chairman Professor Atahiru Jega into one of the alleged major crises that led to the postponement of the 2015 elections. Nigerians need to understand these individuals and where they are coming from:
ENGR. NURU YAKUBU
This very intelligent individual hails from Yobe State in Nigeria’s North-East. He is at the head of the team that provides the intellectual content. However, starting from failed delimitation and review of wards to the controversial lopsided allocation of the 30,000 PUs, using invidious criteria of an unexplainable ration of 85% and 15% that gave the North more, there seems to be a driving force. He is reputed to be very ambitious – there is no crime in that. But there is said to be mutual suspicion between him and Jega. INEC insiders disclosed last week to Sunday Vanguard that as close as both men are, this ambitious disposition made the Chairman not to allow him act on his behalf whenever he is not on seat. Again, it was revealed that some elders had to call both Jega and Yakubu to quench what was being perceived as a rivalry in view of the power game ahead of 2015. So far, Yakubu has done well in advancing the cause of the job he appears to be set out for at INEC.
Jega empowered him with the headship of the Committee of Logistics in addition to the Operations Committee that he heads. By this development, Yakubu is now effectively in charge of the heart and soul of the 2015 elections.
This even becomes more egregious because if a man has tried to set a template of PUs distribution in a manner that presents the impression that the North must by all means lord it over the South of Nigeria, to now hand him the responsibility of logistics, election materials and staff deployment, what guarantees are there that the same South of Nigeria would not be de-supplied election materials on election day? Worse still, the Nigerian Constitution mentions “substantial compliance” and not full compliance when issues of election disputes are taken to court. All these are happening despite the fact that Jega has no executive power but his colleagues have all surrendered to him and are treated like mere staff of INEC and not equals wherein the Chairman is just the first.
HAJIA AMINA ZAKARI
She once worked with Gen. Muhammadu Buhari at the PTF and is referred to at INEC as “Madam Know All”.
She is described as a National Commissioner who wants to do the job of everybody. This is a complement in a situation where things may appear not to be moving in the right direction. But determining the right direction in the light of a shambling and shambolic election management body may itself be foggy. Even though she was the chair of election and political monitoring committee until she was reassigned, she took charge of the recruitment exercise carried out last year whereas she was not the head of the Human Resources Committee that was led previously by Mrs. Thelma lremiren who was removed by Jega ahead of the recruitment exercise to pave the way for alleged northern control of the recruitment of new staff into INEC.
AMB. MOHAMMED WALI
An ardent promoter of the previous allocation of the PUs, he never gave up until the policy was reversed.
Ambassador (Dr.) Mohammad Ahmad Wali, a Muslim, Fulani, hails from Sanyima town in Tambuwal Local Government Area of Sokoto State, in the North-West geopolitical zone of Nigeria.
Before his appointment as National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ambassador Wali was a Visiting Reader (Associate Professor) to the Department of Political Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, and Chief Executive Officer, Development Strategies International (DSI).
EXCERPTED FROM AN ARTICLE BY JIDE AJANI, PUBLISHED IN VANGUARD NEWSPAPER ON NOVEMBER 16, 2014 (with additional biographical materials)