Fresh facts have surfaced over the weekend revealing that the trio of Nasir El Rufai, Babatunde Fashola, and Kayode Fayemi forcefully prevailed on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, through its national commissioner and relative to President Muhammadu Buhari, Amina Zakari and the national chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, to switch the name of Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, as the flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, for the November 26 Ondo governorship election.
Our investigations did not provide clarity as to if President Buhari is privy to the action of his ministers and the governor, who many said have been exerting more power and influence than the president since the All Progressives Congress came to power in 2015.
It would be recalled that INEC had replaced the name of Eyitayo in its final list of candidates released last Thursday, claiming it was obeying a court order by Justice Okon Abang despite. The INEC decision suspect because it ignored two other court rulings of coordinate jurisdiction restraining INEC from replacing Eyitayo as the PDP candidate.
Politics Nigeria obtained insider accounts that confirmed that INEC ignored the advice of its legal department and a consortium of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, advising it to obey court orders restraining it from removing Jegede’s name and replacing it with Jimoh Ibrahim, a billionaire businessman discovered to be a stooch of the three APC chieftains.
Further findings by our investigative journalists reveal that that trio of El Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, Fashola, the minister of power, housing, and works, and Fayemi, the minister for mineral resources are the unseen hands tele guiding INEC in its conduct on the governorship elections in Ondo and that the tainted politicians are motivated by the 2019 presidential ambitions of the Kaduna governor.
The 2019 Maneuvering
According to a top source in the ruling party, El Rufai is building structures across the country with which to launch his presidential aspiration by pouching like-minds and pulling down every perceived obstacles using his close relationship with the president.
One of the regions which the Kaduna governor is worried about is the South West because of the threat posed by Bola Tinubu, a co-founder of APC and erstwhile national leaders of the party.
“El Rufai believes that Tinubu will not support his 2019 presidential ambition, so he is working the usual Fulani political tactic, to divide and rule,” the APC chieftain told our reporter on condition of anonymity.
“So he cashed in on the frosty relationship between Tinubu and his “boys” Fashola and Fayemi. He is hoping to undercut the South West leader to achieve his aim of becoming president in 2019 and he sees Governor [Olusegun] Mimiko as his biggest threat to winning the vote in Ondo State.
“El Rufai knows he doesn’t stand a chance in the South West because of his cantankerous nature, which is made worse by his highly publicised spat with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, so he is pulling out all the cards into the game to undermine Yoruba politicians. But it will not work,” our source concluded.
2019: Fashola (Or Fayemi) As VP
According to a reliable source in the presidency, “What is happening with the Ondo election is also part of the game plan to clear all obstacles for the emergence of El-Rufai as the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019, and either Fashola or Fayemi as his running mate.
“Part of the orchestrated plan also led to the humiliation of the national leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu during the Ondo APC primaries where his preferred candidate, Dr. Segun Abraham was rigged out of the race to pave way for Rotimi Akeredolu, who they believe is one of them and would be loyal to the El-Rufai/Fashola/Fayemi 2019 Presidential ambition,” the source said.
Another source in the APC also disclosed that “after outsmarting Asiwaju Tinubu in their game of wit, in their desperate move to capture Ondo for the APC in order to enable smooth ride for El-Rufai in Ondo State ahead of the 2019 elections, they believe rigging the election in favour of Akeredolu of the APC against Jegede the most popular candidate in the race, will not be very easy for them”.
Fashola is a two-term former governor of Lagos, while Fayemi is a one-term former governor of Ekiti.
The Mimiko Determinant
The politician from one of the other South West states, who declined to be mentioned, continued, “They also see the big threat in Mimiko a highly experienced and smart politician whose political sagacity they cannot match, so they sought to use Jimoh Ibrahim to break the PDP in Ondo and capture the state as part of their 2019 agenda.
“When El-Rufai, Fashola and Fayemi consulted Jimoh, who had no intention to be governor. The plan was to use him obtain a court order from the controversial Justice Okon Abang to displace Jegede as the candidate of the PDP, thereby creating a smooth ride for the APC.
“Part of the deal was that when APC wins the Ondo election, the yet to be commissioned Ondo State Power Plant in Ore and the new International Events Center, The Dome in Akure, would be sold to Jimoh Ibrahim. While his lingering court battle with the Asset Management Company (AMCON) would also be settled,” he disclosed to our reporter.
Mimiko, who is presently fighting what has been described as one of the greatest political battles of his life, learning from the humiliation Asiwaju Tinubu suffered in the hands of El-Rufai, Fashola and Fayemi, seems to have seen the handwriting on the wall that the trio will leave no stone unturned to ensure he doesn’t handover to his preferred choice as next Ondo Governor.
The governor has been running from pillar to pole to ensure his party’s preferred candidate is reinstated on the INEC list before the November 26 election.
Meanwhile, the Appeal Court as set Tuesday, November 1, 2016 to pass judgement on the applications to set aside the dubiously obtained court order by Justice Okon Abang.