Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state has described President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria’s choice of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, as the height of sectionalism by any Nigerian leader ever.
Fayose has had a running battle for the removal of the erstwhile Acting Chair of the commission, Aisha Zakari for being a relative of Buhari.
The Ekiti State governor in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Mr. Lere Olayinka, on Thursday, said Yakubu who was named chairman of the electoral body on Wednesday, should have been overlooked for another candidate not from the north.
“During the Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha regimes, no Hausa/Fulani man was appointed as chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria and General Abdulsalami Abubakar who established the current INEC did not also appoint his fellow Hausa man as chairman.
“When Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was the president, he never appointed a Yoruba man as INEC chairman. Dr Goodluck Jonathan too did not appoint an Ijaw man as INEC chairman.
“Former President Shehu Shagari too did not appoint a Hausa man like himself as chairman of the Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO). Rather, he appointed late Justice Victor Ovie Whisky.
“How then can we have a president from the north and at the same time have INEC chairman from the Hausa/Fulani northern Nigeria? Obviously, what is being witnessed is more like a situation where it appears the president is more interested in having someone malleable to him than serving the interest of Nigeria and its people,” Fayose stated.
Describing Buhari as a “sectional leader”, Fayose explained that he is worried that the three arms of government were being headed by northerners with “nothing” left for the three zones in the southern part of the country.
“Nigeria has entered a one chance bus and it remains to be seen who will save the country from its sectional president. President Muhammadu Buhari sees himself mainly as leader of the Hausa/Fulani, and not that of the entire people of Nigeria.
“Shouldn’t he have considered someone from either south-east, south-south or south-west as chairman of the electoral commission now that we have a president from the north?
“For reasons of perception, equity and fairness, don’t we have credible people from the southern part of Nigeria that can conduct credible elections as INEC Chairman? Or do we assume that the 2019 elections have already been won and lost by the appointment of this Hausa/Fulani professor as INEC chairman?”