Explosive! PDP in Limbo over Handover!

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…Many skeletons in FG’s cupboards

The uncertainty pervading the unpopular decision to shift Nigeria’s first card-reading elections raises concern in many quarters regarding true transformation and true change, writes Our Political Correspondent

 

If the event of the last one week after the questionable postponement of the February elections is anything to go by, then the trouble for President Goodluck Jonathan and his scheming to perpetuate himself in power using instrument of the state will not be as easy as it is initially envisaged and that will mean the alleged plotters still have a long way to go; and a very rough road too to reach its destination if they will indeed reach.

Certainly, the six weeks extension of the polls, which credible insiders say will allow Mr. Jonathan and the handlers of his desperate return to power, with a grossly inadequate mechanism to either win public support or restore his deteriorating public rating or to even plot the rigging of what appears to be the most important election in Nigeria’s history.

But it appears that the ruling PDP is determined with its incumbency power and advantage couple with its several acts of impunity to impose itself on Nigerians, despite the glaring danger and consequences of its planned action on the polity and the survival of the country itself.

The first agenda of the PDP and the obvious reason why it pursues the postponement of the election took only four days after Prof. Attahiru Jega officially announced the extension of the election to manifest. Expectedly the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode suddenly saw Mr. Jega unreliable and alleged without any evidence that the INEC boss has held meetings with leaders of the opposition APC in Dubai where he claimed Jega has compromised and accepted to rig the election for the APC. In fruitless and unconvincing efforts to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it or to put the INEC boss on the defensive, the PDP through Kayode is questioning even the contract for the production of the PVCs awarded by the Commission and mischievously insinuating that INEC’s method of distributing the PVCs is lopsided in favour of areas where the APC has more supporters. But the same PDP has forgot that it told the nation during one of its campaign rallies that it has more supporters in the same states it is now claiming is the strong base of the APC and even insisted that because of the large supporters it has in those critical states like Lagos and Kano they will win in those states convincingly.

The PDP is rattled last week by some events which is clearly an indication that despite the reported intrigues and the power of the state it will be easier for the head of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for it to succeed in imposing itself on the nation despite intimidating resources and a willing security chiefs at its disposal.

DESERT HERALD exclusively gathered that even before the exposure of Captain Sagir Koli’s audio that detailed how the PDP used the Army, Police and the INEC to rig the Ekiti State gubernatorial election officers of the Army precisely are hugely divided over the manner the presidency is allegedly politicizing their conduct and constitutional role. This reporter was told by a credible insider that military officers had written a secret letter to President Jonathan even before the Koli audio was leaked indicating to him the dangers he is leading the military to and advising him that “enough is enough”.

The source told DESERT HERALD weekly that Captain Koli’s audio that exposes Mr. Jonathan’s minister of defense and key associates of the president and how the Ekiti election was successfully rigged “has not only devastated the presidency but is forcing it to think of another method because the Ekiti strategy which has now been exposed has earlier been approved for maximum implementation in all the strong hold states of the APC in order to ensure total ‘victory’ for President Jonathan.

The second development that will mean further tragedy for the PDP and which is making nonsense of the election shift is the increasing public sympathy both locally and internationally for the APC which is contrary to what the schemers of Jonathan’s return expected. The international community including the United States has expressed concern and condemned the election postponement because of its obvious motives despite the fact that the extension did not violate any aspect of the law.

DESERT HERALD weekly gathered that the United States and Canada to be specific have sufficient intelligence report that Mr. Jonathan contrary to his claim during last Wednesday’s Media Chat actually plotted the postponement through blackmailing the embattled INEC Chairman and at the end Mr. Jega considering the weighty allegations forwarded against him had no option that to accept the postponement which was earlier rejected by the nation’s highest advisory body, the Council of State.

The postponement plot, according to the intelligence report reportedly gathered by the United States and Canada, is to allow Mr. Jonathan and his party more time to plot the exclusive use of security agencies which are seen as the last and only hope that will ensure his return to power because according to the said report Mr. Jonathan is convinced that unlike what Jega allegedly did in his favour in 2011 he is not willing to do it now. They said the INEC boss may not be reappointed if his tenure expires in June 2015 and that he is determined to write his name in gold by supervising a free and credible election.

DESERT HERALD can also exclusively report that all previous attempts by close associates of Mr. Jonathan allegedly to compromise the position of Jega ahead of the 2015 election were resisted by the INEC boss and that he always insists that he will declare whoever convincingly won the election.

PDP’s in a desperate effort to win support suffered a major setback when in an interview in London last week during the launching of his book, My Watch, former President Olusegun Obasanjo openly made statement that directly or indirectly endorsed the presidential ambition of Gen. Buhari and insisted that with his (Buhari’s) experience he is the right person to handle the job and that Buhari is intelligent enough to know that he will be operating by the constitution not military decree if elected as president.

Obviously referring to the plotters of Gen. Buhari’s certificate forgery allegation which they want to use to technically disqualify the APC presidential candidate through a willing judge, Mr. Obasanjo told newsmen in London “when I joined the army, it was mandatory that one must have WASC or GCE before enlisting in the armed forces. The requirement is the same when Gen. Buhari joined the army in 1961.  Even if Buhari did not have the required qualifications then, he had gone through the staff college which is equivalent to a first degree and the U.S. War College which is equivalent to a master’s degree.

“If anybody thinks that I’m illiterate or uneducated after attending many military institutions in the UK, India and the US, they should read my books. Those engaged in Buhari’s qualification debacle should focus on real issues and stop degenerating into trivialities”, he said.

And in what the media see as an open endorsement of Buhari by the former president even though he (Obasanjo) was later reported to have said that he is yet to officially endorse any presidential candidate, Obasanjo said “I would assess the candidates in the election and vote for one with the best record. The circumstances [Buhari] will be working under if he wins the election is different from the ones he worked under before, where he was both the executive and the legislature — he knows that. He’s smart enough. He’s educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?”

And in what appears as indicting President Jonathan and closing any possibility of supporting him, Obasanjo said the inability to contain Boko Haram “is a question of leadership — political and military. A crisis is facing the army. I think you need to ask [Jonathan] how has he let [the army] go to this extent?.?.?.? Many things went wrong: recruitment went wrong; training went wrong; morale went down; motivation not there; corruption was deeply ingrained; welfare was bad.”

 

But instead of the PDP or the presidency to lament why a godfather that singlehandedly made Mr. Jonathan a governor and then nominated him as the vice president and supported his emergence as president but vehemently refused to endorse his bid to return as president now they are celebrating the report that Chief Obasanjo did not actually endorse any presidential candidate. But the statement of Chief Obasanjo on Gen. Buhari in London is very clear, self explanatory and expresses his direction even if the former president did not formally endorse Buhari’s candidature as he (Obasanjo) later clarified. It was nevertheless a huge relief for the crumbling PDP as it spent last week publicizing and celebrating Obasanjo’s denial that he is yet to endorse a presidential candidate.

But if the position of Obasanjo as a PDP president for eight years and a former Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees is anything to go by then even his current position (that he has not yet endorsed a candidate) amounts to huge indictment on the part of the PDP’s Mr. Jonathan and indirect support for the opposition APC candidate. And the fact that it is only few weeks to the presidential election coupled with his refusal and resistance of all entreaties to formally endorse and support his party’s presidential candidate, Mr. J derscores how crucial it is to get Obasanjo’s support and endorsement which rubbishes onathan, is enough trouble for the PDP, and the desperation of the party in that regard un the earlier statement of Fani Kayode that Obasanjo’s reported support for Buhari means nothing to them because he (Obasanjo) like other Nigerians have only one vote.

But the PDP going by the previous comments of its national chairman and pressures from Mr. Jonathan on Obasanjo knows very well that the support of their former president is more than just because of his one vote but one capable of determining the direction of the 2015 election outcome.

As an indication that the PDP’s politics of divide and rule along religious lines is failing and that the nation is now only after a leader that will bring the country’s past glory; restore security, improve its crippling economy, eradicate corruption in public and military life, resuscitate health, agricultural and education sectors and build infrastructure, the APC’s decision to endorse a pastor vice president is not only working for the PDP but is taking away the tension and suspicion built by wicked political strategists. Till in the space of less than one week of the unpopular extension of the polls, northern Christian leaders have endorsed the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, for the March 28 presidential elections.

 

The Christian leaders under the auspices of Northern Christian Leaders Eagle-Eyes Forum endorsed Mr. Buhari in a meeting last Thursday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The forum declared support for ‎Buhari, “because of his integrity, honesty and incorruptible antecedents.”

Buhari has attended the current meeting with Northern Christian leaders with his running mate Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, among other APC chieftains. But it appears that the extension of the election which may cost so much for the nation was well orchestrated officially at the top and the plotters because of the personal interests are not willing to give up even if heavens will fall. An investigative online mediumAbusidiqu.com has reported that contrary to the make believe by the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, that the military will be prosecuting a six weeks war against the Boko Haram insurgents group in the north east and therefore would not be able to provide security if the 2015 general elections were to hold as earlier scheduled on February 14, the medium has learnt from very reliable sources that the six weeks postponement of the election as announced by INEC was actually to enable the Jonathan government carry out a marshal plan aimed at winning the 2015 presidential election at all cost.

While Mr. Jega told the nation that the security agencies were commencing a six-week special operation due to start February 14 against Boko Haram insurgents in the north eastern corridors of the country and would rather not be distracted by the elections, impeccable sources told the online medium that the postponement was necessitated by the impending defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was facing had the February 14 election date stood.

Jonathan, one of our sources, said had in the last few weeks commissioned agencies within and outside the country, including the United States, Israel and Canada to conduct opinion poll on who is likely to win the 2015 presidential election between him and APC rival, General Muhammadu Buhari. But in all of the poll results, Jonathan was roundly defeated by Buhari, a development that did not go down well with the presidency.

The source said the best result the Jonathan had in one of the opinion poll was 40%, while Buhari had the worst score of 60%. This paper recalls that several opinion polls organised in Nigeria, most of which were spearheaded by individuals and groups loyal or sympathetic to President Jonathan, returned Buhari with the highest number of polled votes. The latest of such poll was the one organised by Africa Independent Television (AIT), which was pulled down as Buhari was leading with about 79% on the grounds the site was undergoing maintenance. The TV station was to claim days later that Buhari supporters hacked the polling site, a claim experts discovered was forged and manipulated to discredit Buhari.

It was on this basis that the plot to postpone the election was hatched so as to give the PDP more time to perfect its alleged rigging plan. The plot initially was to use the none collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) as the basis for the postponement of the election, but when it became clear that this was not going to work, following the insistence by INEC that it was ready for the election, the Service Chiefs were brought in to use security as the determining factor.

The Jonathan government, using the military and their security report as a kill to get Jega to postpone the election for six weeks as requested by the service chiefs, has reportedly put together a six weeks marshal plan with which it will perfect its plans to win the election.

The first among the marshal plan of the government is to revive the 2011 support for President Jonathan by using state resources to curry as many people as possible to support Jonathan the same way he was supported in the last election.

Also included in the marshal plan is to allegedly actualise the greed of northern traditional rulers where Buhari is believed to have more support than the president by bribing them with huge boxes of hard currencies and promises of oil wells if President Jonathan is returned to office.

The marshal plan also contained strategies for the rigging of the election with the use of soldiers like it was done in Ekiti to intimidate voters on the day of election and rig the votes. This plan seems to have already commenced as the Jonathan presidency has allegedly began a three-day meeting with commanders of army formations in Kaduna. The said meeting, according to the APC, was purely to strategize on how they will rig the election for the PDP.

With an audiotape of how Ekiti election was rigged by top government functionaries, this should not really come as a surprise. The Aso Rock as part of the marshal plan is also allegedly planning to win over as many disgruntled PDP members as possible. This they hope to achieve by dangling huge sums of money before them with the belief that many of them have gone broke, especially since the conduct of the party primaries last year.

The PDP led government is also considering the option of intimidating the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, as well as the states resident electoral commissioners (RECs) to do the bidding of the PDP. In that regard the EFCC is expected to play the leading role. The plot, according to insiders, is to get Jega to quit his job as the commission’s boss and replace him with a less independent minded person who will do the bidding of the PDP.

The source who is privy to this details said the Jonathan administration is very confident that with these marshal plans to be executed within the next few weeks, the presidency is as good as won for President Goodluck Jonathan. However, if all the plans fail, as the APC revealed last week, the option of an interim government which the army will head by the Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah, will work out.

Although the Army had denied the claim of the APC regarding the planned interim government, insiders however insist that the current plan by the Goodluck Jonathan presidency is for Minimah to lead an interim government for 6 months and then conduct new elections that will transfer power to PDP (Jonathan). The Nigerian government officials and some army chiefs are reportedly terribly afraid of the consequences for their actions of corruption and against the Nigerian state that are expected to be investigated and sternly dealt with by a Buhari/Osinbajo administration.

The APC in an interview with DESET HERALD weekly said that the threat of war by Asari Dokubo and his associates is meant to instigate riots and is planning utilizing its Niger Delta militant terrorists to stage attacks that will enable the scuttling of the elections at any stage, before, during and after as all projections show a Buhari/Osinbajo victorious sweep. In this event, the army will appear to suddenly decide to stabilize the country, but this is the ultimate plan being made now, ahead of the incidents.

It is believed that Kenneth Minimah may not transfer power back to civilians if an interim government is formed in the 6 months as he will be demonstrably busy containing Boko Haram terror and other militant action, but this is a risk the Jonathan government is prepared to take.

But the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adokie, has reacted to the insinuation that the Presidency plans to constitute an interim national government if the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, wins the forthcoming elections.

Mr. Adokie said an interim government was alien to the Nigerian constitution.

In a statement last week, Mr. Adokie said interim government is not a “viable solution” to Nigeria’s challenges, citing its unconstitutionality.

The statement reads, “My attention has been drawn to recent calls in the media by some Nigerians for the constitution of an Interim National Government to ostensibly mid-wife the 2015 General elections to usher in a new democratic Government.

“While I recognize and appreciate the inalienable right of Nigerians to freely express themselves and proffer solutions to perceived national challenges, I am deeply concerned that some undiscerning Nigerians are being unwittingly led to believe that a certain prescription, which is totally alien to the Constitution, can be adopted as viable solution to our national challenges.”

He maintained that the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria did not envisage interim national government, adding that it was imperative to ensure citizens are not misled.

“It has therefore become necessary to correct this misconception and refocus the citizenry on the path of constitutionalism and democratic tenets consistent with our quest for democratic consolidation in Nigeria. For avoidance of doubt, it is pertinent to state that the framers of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 did not envisage the constitution of Interim National Government to superintend over the affairs of Government. It is therefore not surprising to observe that no provision for Interim National Government was made in the Constitution.

“The contraption called “Interim National Government” is therefore alien to Nigeria’s constitutional framework and the arrangement should not be promoted by well–meaning Nigerians under any guise or circumstance. Nigerians are therefore enjoined to continue to rely on the Constitution, which contains adequate provisions on how the democratic process can be activated to elect their leaders from time to time.”

As the presidency ‘wages war’ to sack Mr. Jega by all means going by what Femi Kayode started to insinuate on the same person the president appointed and with the successful postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Presidency has launched a two-pronged war to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan wins the election convincingly.

The two strategies are to stop Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress candidate, from contesting the election with Jonathan and the replacement of the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, with a less independent-minded person. Jega, it was gathered, had been described by hawks around the president of being too independent-minded and ‘uncooperative’ despite being given the job on a platter of gold by the president’s men.

This paper learnt that Jega might have unwittingly played into the hands of the forces arrayed against him by agreeing to shift the elections. Competent sources said the move to remove Jega and the legal fireworks against Buhari, would be taken up simultaneously with effect from this week given the timeframe made possible by the shift.

The retired general is to be prosecuted by a team of legal luminaries for ‘lying on oath’ that he had a school certificate with the Nigerian Army when he knew that it was untrue. The plaintiffs are said to have settled for trying Buhari for alleged ‘perjury’ instead of outright non-possession of certificate following legal advice that the latter would be more difficult to prove within the time at their disposal.

This reporter learnt that although Jega reluctantly succumbed to pressure from the Presidency and its security chiefs to shift the polls, he might still not be allowed by the forces to conduct the rescheduled elections between March 28 and April 11. We further gathered from competent sources that the Presidency was no longer comfortable with Jega and was, therefore, working tirelessly to get him out of the commission to pave the way for a more ‘trusted hand’ to conduct the rescheduled elections.

It was learnt that the forces arrayed against the INEC boss had convinced the President not to renew Jega’s tenure, which is expected to lapse on June 13 this year. The forces, it was learnt, felt that Jega was rather too ‘difficult’ to deal with, having not allowed himself to be dictated to by anyone since assuming office like other appointees of the government.

It was learnt that in a bid to sweep off Jega from his seat without raising any dust, he would be asked to comply with the civil service procedure by proceeding on his three months terminal leave with effect from March 1, this year since he is expected to retire on June 13.

DESERT HERALD gathered that in his place, the Presidency was considering bringing in another academic from the South-West, who is currently heading a tertiary institution in the country. The professor of Political Science and International Relations is said to be a sibling of a serving governor in the South-West, who is a close ally of President Goodluck Jonathan and his party.

Competent sources also told this reporter that although the name of the academic had been made known in security circles, it was not clear whether the man had been cleared by the forces with a view to sending his name to the National Assembly for possible confirmation, as required by law.

As a prelude to removing Jega from office, some close allies of the President had started accusing him of taking side with the opposition to undermine the success of Jonathan and his party in the next election. Earlier penultimate week, Jonathan’s godfather, Chief Edwin Clark and other prominent politicians from the Southern part of the country had accused Jega of working against the interest of the president and the PDP and asked him to resign from the commission.

Although no evidence was adduced by Clark and his group to support their allegation, they nonetheless called for the arrest of Jega. Similarly, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, last Saturday, said Jega had lied about the state of the commission’s preparedness for the conduct of the election.

In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, accused INEC of working with the opposition to deny its members of permanent voter cards in some states. He called on the security agents to probe the commission over the development.

The Vanguard newspaper report of last week was categorical that the election postponement was plotted by President Jonathan’s men in power, in uniform and close to Aso Rock and that Jega was only blackmailed to do the presidency’s bidding. The paper reported that pressure mounted by President Goodluck Jonathan’s loyalists and service chiefs on the Independent National Electoral Commission led to the postponement of the 2015 general elections, we have learnt.

Those who pushed for the postponement, despite the opposition from the All Progressives Congress and many Nigerians, include the Presidency; the Peoples Democratic Party; Jonathan’s loyalists; the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki; the Chiefs of Defence, Army, Naval and Air Staff, among others.

Unconfirmed but credible sources confided in this paper that Col. Dasuki is also working for Jonathan’s return to serve his own interest as the National Security Adviser was allegedly assured by Mr. Jonathan that he will make him the Sultan of Sokoto if and when returned as president. The source said considering the desperation of the NSA to become the Sultan there is nothing humanly possible even if it is against the laws of the land the NSA cannot do to ensure that Mr. Jonathan is imposed on the people. He alleged that the ‘success’ of the election postponement was the result of the intrigues by Sambo.

The actual reason for the election shift, which insiders say was plotted by the NSA, is gradually unfolding. What appears even more questionable, suspicious and a source for concern late last week Thursday to the opposition APC and keen watchers of the do or die politics of the PDP is the reversal or the u-turn of the allegations of the ruling party and their cohorts against Prof. Jega. The PDP on Thursday said it now has confidence on Mr. Jega after only few days back the likes of Chief Edwin Clerk openly called for the sacking and even the arrest of the INEC helmsman.

The questionable vote of confidence passed on Jega also came barely two days after the PDP presidential campaign mouthpiece, Fani Kayode, accused Jega before the world that he (Jega) has been compromised and even went confidently to accuse the INEC chairman of secretly meeting APC stalwarts in Dubai to perfect strategies of rigging the presidential election for APC’s Gen Buhari. This allegation, as weighty as it was, was by implication discredited less than 30 hours of the reported vituperation of Fani-Kayode by the National Chairman of his party, Mr. Adamu Muazu, during a media briefing at Wadata Plaza. The PDP boss in a move that creates further suspicion about their new found love for Jega was categorical that they have “total confidence on Jega to organize and supervise free, credible and transparent elections in 2015″.

Pundits, however, averred that for the PDP to suddenly and abruptly make such a u-turn and contradict its earlier position of indicting Jega and literally passing a vote of no confidence on him by accusing him of holding nocturnal meetings with the APC leadership outside Nigeria something must be really fishy and indeed there is more to it. An APC chieftain who prefers not to be mentioned told DESERT HERALD weekly that “it is either Mr. Jega had finally accepted a deal with the PDP by succumbing to its blackmail machinery for it (PDP) to now confidently say it has confidence in him or the presidency most have perfected a strategy to manipulate the election and have got Jega’s cooperation in that regard hence the sudden change of tune”.

While from all assessment Mr. Jonathan is out of public favour and the opposition is determined more than ever before to ensure credible election and to stop the Ekiti type of rigging and any other one for that matter, and considering the current tempo in INEC’s leadership (that if the Chairman is not sacked by a desperate president) the next few weeks will reveal more about how the election will be and the direction of the country as well.

What is however very clear to keen observers of Nigeria’s politics within and outside the country is that election victory for the APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, if the PDP at all allows the election to be conducted in a free and fair atmosphere, is a stone throw.

Explosive!

PDP in Limbo over Handover!

  • Many skeletons in FG’s cupboards

The uncertainty pervading the unpopular decision to shift Nigeria’s first card-reading elections raises concern in many quarters regarding true transformation and true change, writes Our Political Correspondent

 

If the event of the last one week after the questionable postponement of the February elections is anything to go by, then the trouble for President Goodluck Jonathan and his scheming to perpetuate himself in power using instrument of the state will not be as easy as it is initially envisaged and that will mean the alleged plotters still have a long way to go; and a very rough road too to reach its destination if they will indeed reach.

Certainly, the six weeks extension of the polls, which credible insiders say will allow Mr. Jonathan and the handlers of his desperate return to power, with a grossly inadequate mechanism to either win public support or restore his deteriorating public rating or to even plot the rigging of what appears to be the most important election in Nigeria’s history.

But it appears that the ruling PDP is determined with its incumbency power and advantage couple with its several acts of impunity to impose itself on Nigerians, despite the glaring danger and consequences of its planned action on the polity and the survival of the country itself.

The first agenda of the PDP and the obvious reason why it pursues the postponement of the election took only four days after Prof. Attahiru Jega officially announced the extension of the election to manifest. Expectedly the likes of Femi Fani-Kayode suddenly saw Mr. Jega unreliable and alleged without any evidence that the INEC boss has held meetings with leaders of the opposition APC in Dubai where he claimed Jega has compromised and accepted to rig the election for the APC. In fruitless and unconvincing efforts to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it or to put the INEC boss on the defensive, the PDP through Kayode is questioning even the contract for the production of the PVCs awarded by the Commission and mischievously insinuating that INEC’s method of distributing the PVCs is lopsided in favour of areas where the APC has more supporters. But the same PDP has forgot that it told the nation during one of its campaign rallies that it has more supporters in the same states it is now claiming is the strong base of the APC and even insisted that because of the large supporters it has in those critical states like Lagos and Kano they will win in those states convincingly.

The PDP is rattled last week by some events which is clearly an indication that despite the reported intrigues and the power of the state it will be easier for the head of a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for it to succeed in imposing itself on the nation despite intimidating resources and a willing security chiefs at its disposal.

DESERT HERALD exclusively gathered that even before the exposure of Captain Sagir Koli’s audio that detailed how the PDP used the Army, Police and the INEC to rig the Ekiti State gubernatorial election officers of the Army precisely are hugely divided over the manner the presidency is allegedly politicizing their conduct and constitutional role. This reporter was told by a credible insider that military officers had written a secret letter to President Jonathan even before the Koli audio was leaked indicating to him the dangers he is leading the military to and advising him that “enough is enough”.

The source told DESERT HERALD weekly that Captain Koli’s audio that exposes Mr. Jonathan’s minister of defense and key associates of the president and how the Ekiti election was successfully rigged “has not only devastated the presidency but is forcing it to think of another method because the Ekiti strategy which has now been exposed has earlier been approved for maximum implementation in all the strong hold states of the APC in order to ensure total ‘victory’ for President Jonathan.

The second development that will mean further tragedy for the PDP and which is making nonsense of the election shift is the increasing public sympathy both locally and internationally for the APC which is contrary to what the schemers of Jonathan’s return expected. The international community including the United States has expressed concern and condemned the election postponement because of its obvious motives despite the fact that the extension did not violate any aspect of the law.

DESERT HERALD weekly gathered that the United States and Canada to be specific have sufficient intelligence report that Mr. Jonathan contrary to his claim during last Wednesday’s Media Chat actually plotted the postponement through blackmailing the embattled INEC Chairman and at the end Mr. Jega considering the weighty allegations forwarded against him had no option that to accept the postponement which was earlier rejected by the nation’s highest advisory body, the Council of State.

The postponement plot, according to the intelligence report reportedly gathered by the United States and Canada, is to allow Mr. Jonathan and his party more time to plot the exclusive use of security agencies which are seen as the last and only hope that will ensure his return to power because according to the said report Mr. Jonathan is convinced that unlike what Jega allegedly did in his favour in 2011 he is not willing to do it now. They said the INEC boss may not be reappointed if his tenure expires in June 2015 and that he is determined to write his name in gold by supervising a free and credible election.

DESERT HERALD can also exclusively report that all previous attempts by close associates of Mr. Jonathan allegedly to compromise the position of Jega ahead of the 2015 election were resisted by the INEC boss and that he always insists that he will declare whoever convincingly won the election.

PDP’s in a desperate effort to win support suffered a major setback when in an interview in London last week during the launching of his book, My Watch, former President Olusegun Obasanjo openly made statement that directly or indirectly endorsed the presidential ambition of Gen. Buhari and insisted that with his (Buhari’s) experience he is the right person to handle the job and that Buhari is intelligent enough to know that he will be operating by the constitution not military decree if elected as president.

Obviously referring to the plotters of Gen. Buhari’s certificate forgery allegation which they want to use to technically disqualify the APC presidential candidate through a willing judge, Mr. Obasanjo told newsmen in London “when I joined the army, it was mandatory that one must have WASC or GCE before enlisting in the armed forces. The requirement is the same when Gen. Buhari joined the army in 1961.  Even if Buhari did not have the required qualifications then, he had gone through the staff college which is equivalent to a first degree and the U.S. War College which is equivalent to a master’s degree.

“If anybody thinks that I’m illiterate or uneducated after attending many military institutions in the UK, India and the US, they should read my books. Those engaged in Buhari’s qualification debacle should focus on real issues and stop degenerating into trivialities”, he said.

And in what the media see as an open endorsement of Buhari by the former president even though he (Obasanjo) was later reported to have said that he is yet to officially endorse any presidential candidate, Obasanjo said “I would assess the candidates in the election and vote for one with the best record. The circumstances [Buhari] will be working under if he wins the election is different from the ones he worked under before, where he was both the executive and the legislature — he knows that. He’s smart enough. He’s educated enough. He’s experienced enough. Why shouldn’t I support him?”

And in what appears as indicting President Jonathan and closing any possibility of supporting him, Obasanjo said the inability to contain Boko Haram “is a question of leadership — political and military. A crisis is facing the army. I think you need to ask [Jonathan] how has he let [the army] go to this extent?.?.?.? Many things went wrong: recruitment went wrong; training went wrong; morale went down; motivation not there; corruption was deeply ingrained; welfare was bad.”

 

But instead of the PDP or the presidency to lament why a godfather that singlehandedly made Mr. Jonathan a governor and then nominated him as the vice president and supported his emergence as president but vehemently refused to endorse his bid to return as president now they are celebrating the report that Chief Obasanjo did not actually endorse any presidential candidate. But the statement of Chief Obasanjo on Gen. Buhari in London is very clear, self explanatory and expresses his direction even if the former president did not formally endorse Buhari’s candidature as he (Obasanjo) later clarified. It was nevertheless a huge relief for the crumbling PDP as it spent last week publicizing and celebrating Obasanjo’s denial that he is yet to endorse a presidential candidate.

But if the position of Obasanjo as a PDP president for eight years and a former Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees is anything to go by then even his current position (that he has not yet endorsed a candidate) amounts to huge indictment on the part of the PDP’s Mr. Jonathan and indirect support for the opposition APC candidate. And the fact that it is only few weeks to the presidential election coupled with his refusal and resistance of all entreaties to formally endorse and support his party’s presidential candidate, Mr. J derscores how crucial it is to get Obasanjo’s support and endorsement which rubbishes onathan, is enough trouble for the PDP, and the desperation of the party in that regard un the earlier statement of Fani Kayode that Obasanjo’s reported support for Buhari means nothing to them because he (Obasanjo) like other Nigerians have only one vote.

But the PDP going by the previous comments of its national chairman and pressures from Mr. Jonathan on Obasanjo knows very well that the support of their former president is more than just because of his one vote but one capable of determining the direction of the 2015 election outcome.

As an indication that the PDP’s politics of divide and rule along religious lines is failing and that the nation is now only after a leader that will bring the country’s past glory; restore security, improve its crippling economy, eradicate corruption in public and military life, resuscitate health, agricultural and education sectors and build infrastructure, the APC’s decision to endorse a pastor vice president is not only working for the PDP but is taking away the tension and suspicion built by wicked political strategists. Till in the space of less than one week of the unpopular extension of the polls, northern Christian leaders have endorsed the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, for the March 28 presidential elections.

 

The Christian leaders under the auspices of Northern Christian Leaders Eagle-Eyes Forum endorsed Mr. Buhari in a meeting last Thursday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. The forum declared support for ‎Buhari, “because of his integrity, honesty and incorruptible antecedents.”

Buhari has attended the current meeting with Northern Christian leaders with his running mate Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, among other APC chieftains. But it appears that the extension of the election which may cost so much for the nation was well orchestrated officially at the top and the plotters because of the personal interests are not willing to give up even if heavens will fall. An investigative online mediumAbusidiqu.com has reported that contrary to the make believe by the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, that the military will be prosecuting a six weeks war against the Boko Haram insurgents group in the north east and therefore would not be able to provide security if the 2015 general elections were to hold as earlier scheduled on February 14, the medium has learnt from very reliable sources that the six weeks postponement of the election as announced by INEC was actually to enable the Jonathan government carry out a marshal plan aimed at winning the 2015 presidential election at all cost.

While Mr. Jega told the nation that the security agencies were commencing a six-week special operation due to start February 14 against Boko Haram insurgents in the north eastern corridors of the country and would rather not be distracted by the elections, impeccable sources told the online medium that the postponement was necessitated by the impending defeat the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was facing had the February 14 election date stood.

Jonathan, one of our sources, said had in the last few weeks commissioned agencies within and outside the country, including the United States, Israel and Canada to conduct opinion poll on who is likely to win the 2015 presidential election between him and APC rival, General Muhammadu Buhari. But in all of the poll results, Jonathan was roundly defeated by Buhari, a development that did not go down well with the presidency.

The source said the best result the Jonathan had in one of the opinion poll was 40%, while Buhari had the worst score of 60%. This paper recalls that several opinion polls organised in Nigeria, most of which were spearheaded by individuals and groups loyal or sympathetic to President Jonathan, returned Buhari with the highest number of polled votes. The latest of such poll was the one organised by Africa Independent Television (AIT), which was pulled down as Buhari was leading with about 79% on the grounds the site was undergoing maintenance. The TV station was to claim days later that Buhari supporters hacked the polling site, a claim experts discovered was forged and manipulated to discredit Buhari.

It was on this basis that the plot to postpone the election was hatched so as to give the PDP more time to perfect its alleged rigging plan. The plot initially was to use the none collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC) as the basis for the postponement of the election, but when it became clear that this was not going to work, following the insistence by INEC that it was ready for the election, the Service Chiefs were brought in to use security as the determining factor.

The Jonathan government, using the military and their security report as a kill to get Jega to postpone the election for six weeks as requested by the service chiefs, has reportedly put together a six weeks marshal plan with which it will perfect its plans to win the election.

The first among the marshal plan of the government is to revive the 2011 support for President Jonathan by using state resources to curry as many people as possible to support Jonathan the same way he was supported in the last election.

Also included in the marshal plan is to allegedly actualise the greed of northern traditional rulers where Buhari is believed to have more support than the president by bribing them with huge boxes of hard currencies and promises of oil wells if President Jonathan is returned to office.

The marshal plan also contained strategies for the rigging of the election with the use of soldiers like it was done in Ekiti to intimidate voters on the day of election and rig the votes. This plan seems to have already commenced as the Jonathan presidency has allegedly began a three-day meeting with commanders of army formations in Kaduna. The said meeting, according to the APC, was purely to strategize on how they will rig the election for the PDP.

With an audiotape of how Ekiti election was rigged by top government functionaries, this should not really come as a surprise. The Aso Rock as part of the marshal plan is also allegedly planning to win over as many disgruntled PDP members as possible. This they hope to achieve by dangling huge sums of money before them with the belief that many of them have gone broke, especially since the conduct of the party primaries last year.

The PDP led government is also considering the option of intimidating the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, as well as the states resident electoral commissioners (RECs) to do the bidding of the PDP. In that regard the EFCC is expected to play the leading role. The plot, according to insiders, is to get Jega to quit his job as the commission’s boss and replace him with a less independent minded person who will do the bidding of the PDP.

The source who is privy to this details said the Jonathan administration is very confident that with these marshal plans to be executed within the next few weeks, the presidency is as good as won for President Goodluck Jonathan. However, if all the plans fail, as the APC revealed last week, the option of an interim government which the army will head by the Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah, will work out.

Although the Army had denied the claim of the APC regarding the planned interim government, insiders however insist that the current plan by the Goodluck Jonathan presidency is for Minimah to lead an interim government for 6 months and then conduct new elections that will transfer power to PDP (Jonathan). The Nigerian government officials and some army chiefs are reportedly terribly afraid of the consequences for their actions of corruption and against the Nigerian state that are expected to be investigated and sternly dealt with by a Buhari/Osinbajo administration.

The APC in an interview with DESET HERALD weekly said that the threat of war by Asari Dokubo and his associates is meant to instigate riots and is planning utilizing its Niger Delta militant terrorists to stage attacks that will enable the scuttling of the elections at any stage, before, during and after as all projections show a Buhari/Osinbajo victorious sweep. In this event, the army will appear to suddenly decide to stabilize the country, but this is the ultimate plan being made now, ahead of the incidents.

It is believed that Kenneth Minimah may not transfer power back to civilians if an interim government is formed in the 6 months as he will be demonstrably busy containing Boko Haram terror and other militant action, but this is a risk the Jonathan government is prepared to take.

But the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adokie, has reacted to the insinuation that the Presidency plans to constitute an interim national government if the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, wins the forthcoming elections.

Mr. Adokie said an interim government was alien to the Nigerian constitution.

In a statement last week, Mr. Adokie said interim government is not a “viable solution” to Nigeria’s challenges, citing its unconstitutionality.

The statement reads, “My attention has been drawn to recent calls in the media by some Nigerians for the constitution of an Interim National Government to ostensibly mid-wife the 2015 General elections to usher in a new democratic Government.

“While I recognize and appreciate the inalienable right of Nigerians to freely express themselves and proffer solutions to perceived national challenges, I am deeply concerned that some undiscerning Nigerians are being unwittingly led to believe that a certain prescription, which is totally alien to the Constitution, can be adopted as viable solution to our national challenges.”

He maintained that the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria did not envisage interim national government, adding that it was imperative to ensure citizens are not misled.

“It has therefore become necessary to correct this misconception and refocus the citizenry on the path of constitutionalism and democratic tenets consistent with our quest for democratic consolidation in Nigeria. For avoidance of doubt, it is pertinent to state that the framers of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 did not envisage the constitution of Interim National Government to superintend over the affairs of Government. It is therefore not surprising to observe that no provision for Interim National Government was made in the Constitution.

“The contraption called “Interim National Government” is therefore alien to Nigeria’s constitutional framework and the arrangement should not be promoted by well–meaning Nigerians under any guise or circumstance. Nigerians are therefore enjoined to continue to rely on the Constitution, which contains adequate provisions on how the democratic process can be activated to elect their leaders from time to time.”

As the presidency ‘wages war’ to sack Mr. Jega by all means going by what Femi Kayode started to insinuate on the same person the president appointed and with the successful postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the Presidency has launched a two-pronged war to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan wins the election convincingly.

The two strategies are to stop Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress candidate, from contesting the election with Jonathan and the replacement of the INEC Chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, with a less independent-minded person. Jega, it was gathered, had been described by hawks around the president of being too independent-minded and ‘uncooperative’ despite being given the job on a platter of gold by the president’s men.

This paper learnt that Jega might have unwittingly played into the hands of the forces arrayed against him by agreeing to shift the elections. Competent sources said the move to remove Jega and the legal fireworks against Buhari, would be taken up simultaneously with effect from this week given the timeframe made possible by the shift.

The retired general is to be prosecuted by a team of legal luminaries for ‘lying on oath’ that he had a school certificate with the Nigerian Army when he knew that it was untrue. The plaintiffs are said to have settled for trying Buhari for alleged ‘perjury’ instead of outright non-possession of certificate following legal advice that the latter would be more difficult to prove within the time at their disposal.

This reporter learnt that although Jega reluctantly succumbed to pressure from the Presidency and its security chiefs to shift the polls, he might still not be allowed by the forces to conduct the rescheduled elections between March 28 and April 11. We further gathered from competent sources that the Presidency was no longer comfortable with Jega and was, therefore, working tirelessly to get him out of the commission to pave the way for a more ‘trusted hand’ to conduct the rescheduled elections.

It was learnt that the forces arrayed against the INEC boss had convinced the President not to renew Jega’s tenure, which is expected to lapse on June 13 this year. The forces, it was learnt, felt that Jega was rather too ‘difficult’ to deal with, having not allowed himself to be dictated to by anyone since assuming office like other appointees of the government.

It was learnt that in a bid to sweep off Jega from his seat without raising any dust, he would be asked to comply with the civil service procedure by proceeding on his three months terminal leave with effect from March 1, this year since he is expected to retire on June 13.

DESERT HERALD gathered that in his place, the Presidency was considering bringing in another academic from the South-West, who is currently heading a tertiary institution in the country. The professor of Political Science and International Relations is said to be a sibling of a serving governor in the South-West, who is a close ally of President Goodluck Jonathan and his party.

Competent sources also told this reporter that although the name of the academic had been made known in security circles, it was not clear whether the man had been cleared by the forces with a view to sending his name to the National Assembly for possible confirmation, as required by law.

As a prelude to removing Jega from office, some close allies of the President had started accusing him of taking side with the opposition to undermine the success of Jonathan and his party in the next election. Earlier penultimate week, Jonathan’s godfather, Chief Edwin Clark and other prominent politicians from the Southern part of the country had accused Jega of working against the interest of the president and the PDP and asked him to resign from the commission.

Although no evidence was adduced by Clark and his group to support their allegation, they nonetheless called for the arrest of Jega. Similarly, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, last Saturday, said Jega had lied about the state of the commission’s preparedness for the conduct of the election.

In the same vein, the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh, accused INEC of working with the opposition to deny its members of permanent voter cards in some states. He called on the security agents to probe the commission over the development.

The Vanguard newspaper report of last week was categorical that the election postponement was plotted by President Jonathan’s men in power, in uniform and close to Aso Rock and that Jega was only blackmailed to do the presidency’s bidding. The paper reported that pressure mounted by President Goodluck Jonathan’s loyalists and service chiefs on the Independent National Electoral Commission led to the postponement of the 2015 general elections, we have learnt.

Those who pushed for the postponement, despite the opposition from the All Progressives Congress and many Nigerians, include the Presidency; the Peoples Democratic Party; Jonathan’s loyalists; the National Security Adviser, Colonel Sambo Dasuki; the Chiefs of Defence, Army, Naval and Air Staff, among others.

Unconfirmed but credible sources confided in this paper that Col. Dasuki is also working for Jonathan’s return to serve his own interest as the National Security Adviser was allegedly assured by Mr. Jonathan that he will make him the Sultan of Sokoto if and when returned as president. The source said considering the desperation of the NSA to become the Sultan there is nothing humanly possible even if it is against the laws of the land the NSA cannot do to ensure that Mr. Jonathan is imposed on the people. He alleged that the ‘success’ of the election postponement was the result of the intrigues by Sambo.

The actual reason for the election shift, which insiders say was plotted by the NSA, is gradually unfolding. What appears even more questionable, suspicious and a source for concern late last week Thursday to the opposition APC and keen watchers of the do or die politics of the PDP is the reversal or the u-turn of the allegations of the ruling party and their cohorts against Prof. Jega. The PDP on Thursday said it now has confidence on Mr. Jega after only few days back the likes of Chief Edwin Clerk openly called for the sacking and even the arrest of the INEC helmsman.

The questionable vote of confidence passed on Jega also came barely two days after the PDP presidential campaign mouthpiece, Fani Kayode, accused Jega before the world that he (Jega) has been compromised and even went confidently to accuse the INEC chairman of secretly meeting APC stalwarts in Dubai to perfect strategies of rigging the presidential election for APC’s Gen Buhari. This allegation, as weighty as it was, was by implication discredited less than 30 hours of the reported vituperation of Fani-Kayode by the National Chairman of his party, Mr. Adamu Muazu, during a media briefing at Wadata Plaza. The PDP boss in a move that creates further suspicion about their new found love for Jega was categorical that they have “total confidence on Jega to organize and supervise free, credible and transparent elections in 2015″.

Pundits, however, averred that for the PDP to suddenly and abruptly make such a u-turn and contradict its earlier position of indicting Jega and literally passing a vote of no confidence on him by accusing him of holding nocturnal meetings with the APC leadership outside Nigeria something must be really fishy and indeed there is more to it. An APC chieftain who prefers not to be mentioned told DESERT HERALD weekly that “it is either Mr. Jega had finally accepted a deal with the PDP by succumbing to its blackmail machinery for it (PDP) to now confidently say it has confidence in him or the presidency most have perfected a strategy to manipulate the election and have got Jega’s cooperation in that regard hence the sudden change of tune”.

While from all assessment Mr. Jonathan is out of public favour and the opposition is determined more than ever before to ensure credible election and to stop the Ekiti type of rigging and any other one for that matter, and considering the current tempo in INEC’s leadership (that if the Chairman is not sacked by a desperate president) the next few weeks will reveal more about how the election will be and the direction of the country as well.

What is however very clear to keen observers of Nigeria’s politics within and outside the country is that election victory for the APC presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, if the PDP at all allows the election to be conducted in a free and fair atmosphere, is a stone throw.

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