Some political bigwigs in the ruling All Progressives Congress have started perfecting their plot of manipulating the party’s primaries and 2023 general elections by nominating proxies to President Muhammadu Buhari to be made electoral commissioners, SaharaReporters has gathered.
SaharaReporters further learnt that the stooges planted by the cabals in the country's electoral agency, the Independent National Electoral Commission, had already been approved by Buhari, who was not diligent to be aware of the grand plot to manipulate the electoral process.
Reliable sources confided in SaharaReporters that the regional gladiators within the APC had concluded plans to capture the party's primary elections and have the process rubber-stamped by the INEC officials after deceiving the President into accepting their proxies as nominees for the electoral umpire.
"It is a preliminary strategy to ensure that when the APC gladiators conduct primary elections in their zones, they will have the outcome rubber-stamped by INEC officials who are now nominated as national commissioners that will supervise the zones and erect a solid foundation against any possible legal challenge.
"This power bloc with vested interests within the APC are bent on eliminating from INEC individuals of proven integrity who can frustrate their plans. That is why they have allotted slot of commissioners nominees shared among themselves to their proxies for the success of APC members, a trap that President Buhari who is not diligent has fallen into," an top insider in the APC revealed.
SaharaReporters further learnt that there were fears of defections within the APC and secret meetings were already "at a high gear to form new alliances with other regional forces if reasonable terms could not be reached to protect the interests of the gladiators".
Another source disclosed that, "As at last week, permutations were even made that political blocs from Lagos or generally South-West or South-East or South-South sections of the country could decide to fuse with major blocs in the opposition. The APC may be seriously weakened to an extent that even the INEC stooges cannot help.
"The major threat to the 2023 election is the infighting by various power blocs within the ruling APC over the control of the soul of the party."
It was also disclosed that there were ongoing scheming to ensure that the vacant positions in INEC were determined by the cabals in control of the party to the exclusion of even foundation party leaders, who were now spectators.
"All those who are nursing presidential aspirations like Bola Tinubu and those from other geopolitical zones of the party including the Vice President have been shut and have no input in the selection of these nominated INEC officials that will be in the commission.
“This power bloc for now is in total control and in firm grip of the various organs of the party and had moved into INEC to determine who should be in the commission or not to ensure that victory at all cost was achieved by 2023.
"Notable members of these groups are Governor Bagudu of Kebbi, Governor Buni of Yobe and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, who submitted to the President the names of individuals to be appointed as national commissioners for INEC," the source added.
An insider in one of the power blocs also told SaharaReporters that all the arguments about direct or indirect primaries were semantic because direct primaries though involved more party members and wider participation, would favour the major party bigwigs, who had bigger structures and deeper pockets.
"This power bloc in charge of the party thus resolved that convention will not be held for the choice of its presidential candidate and others and with the judiciary under their control to give interpretation to sections of the 1999 constitution that say that it’s political parties that “sponsor” candidates for election.
"In their calculation, if the plans they have in place for the party convention and party primaries lead to fragmentation, they need to have buffers.
"If the inevitable fragmentation of the party occurs and the strategy of takeover of the commission through appointment of individuals carefully selected that will take and carry out instructions is in place without buffers by credible and potentially neutral appointees, the final electoral battle may be more uncertain for them.
“Hence, the advisers of this power bloc in the APC, particularly youth groups in the North, have reasoned that except officials of INEC like national and state commissioners that have credible records are left to buffer the electoral battlefield, they may be setting themselves up for a battle they cannot control because they are relying on permutations that fail to consider the possible outcome of the party convention and primaries," the source said.
Further findings revealed that in the North-West, former Vice Chancellor of University of Sokoto, Prof Abdullahi Abdul Zuru (Kebbi), through whom millions of naira was alleged to have been channelled to collation and returning officers in the 2019 election, has now been appointed a national commissioner.
He has been sworn in and currently in charge of supervision of states in the North-West.
Also Prof Mohammed Sani Kalla (Katsina), who is over 70 years old and lacks energy, has been nominated and now a national commissioner.
In North-East, the nominee, Maj. Gen. A.B Akali (retd) from Adamawa State, is not different from the aide of President Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, who was nominated but public outcry led to her rejection by the Senate.
The second nominee for North-East Dr Baba Billa (Yobe), is a friend and ally of Governor Buni, who nominated him.
AGF Malami facilitated and ensured that one Dr Sani Mohammad from Plateau State whose nomination was stood down on the grounds of his dismissal from University of Jos for gross misconduct and alleged sexual harassment.
Despite such questionable past, Malami ensured that he scaled through Senate overnight and he is today one of the stooges planted in lNEC as a national commissioner.
In the North-Central, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, on his list of request wanted Prof Taye Simbine whose tenure ended after the 2019 election but other forces ensured Mohammed Haruna secured second term despite not healthy and strong enough to cope with the rigours of the INEC job.
In the South-West, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti was responsible for the Resident Electoral Commissioners and the commissioner elevated from the state.
In the South-East, Festus Okoye's tenure still subsists.
However, Prof Okechukwu Obinna lbeanu, who was the National Commissioner in charge of Electoral Operations of INEC, was denied a second term because of Anambra election that he declined all entreaties by APC’S Andy Uba’s group to have the election compromised.
In the South-South, pro-politician commissioners whose position on any issues are not known and who are considered write-offs in the event of consequential situations were nominated.
The national commissioner nominee from Bayelsa State, Prof Rada Gumus, was selected by Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipreye Silva.
Recall that Silva also nominated Prof Braibafah as managing director of NDDC and was disgraced from office over corruption but the matter was swept under the carpet without prosecution till date.