👤 By Dr Chima Matthew Amadi, @AMADICHIMA

I have just finished reading Dr Farooq Kperogi’s assertions that the biggest threat to Atiku Abubakar winning the 2019 presidential election is not the electorate but the Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.

Dr Kperoogi, someone I have never met in person but have lots of respect for, based his conclusions on the hearsay by a “brother to a close friend” of the INEC Chairman. Dr Kperoogi then went further to assert that he has other disturbing hearsay from other persons about some deep-seethed resentment that the INEC Chairman has for Atiku which makes him the biggest threat to Atiku’s ambition.

Dr Kperoogi then evidenced these recollections of these unnamed individuals by swearing on the Holy Quran as a practicing Muslim and wants us to believe these tales based on the spiritual invocation of Allah’s name. Like I said before, I hold Dr Kperoogi in high esteem and will not doubt that some persons actually told him whatever he said he was told. But it is established wisdom that actions speak louder than words.

Dr Kperoogi did “concede to admirable actions” taken by Professor Mahmood to prove his independence but then said that those acts were “window-dressing” to hide a more sinister intent for the elections.

Either Dr Kperoogi has not been studying events more closely than he should,or he is not aware of decisions and actions taken by the Commission that makes the electoral victory of Buhari very difficult.These actions were not taken to spite the president but to follow the rules as laid down in the enabling statutes and guidelines undergirding elections in Nigeria. Let me summarize a few.

One, the APC is already handicapped in two states-Zamfara and Rivers States due to the insistence of the Chairman on rules. These two States combined have over 4 million votes . If the Chairman was indeed Atiku’s greatest enemy, nothing stops him from bending to accommodate the APC in these elections. But the man has stuck to his gun, earning him public reproach by the hierarchy of the party. Dr Kperoogi must have missed this.

Two, the Chairman’s decision to open up the INEC Situation Room to opposition/Observer Groups is unprecedented.

Three, in the Osun election that Dr Kperoogi referenced,the PDP would not have even been on the ballot due to an error of judgement they made but the Chairman bent over to accommodate them.He could have been perfectly on the right side of the law if he had decided to apply the finer technical rules. If he had, and the PDP had lost the elections on legality, even before a single vote was cast, perhaps Dr Kperoogi would have used it as evidence that the Chairman was in the hook to be used against Atiku.

Four, the papers were awash with the news that INEC refused to defend the Osun results at the tribunal, certainly, a Commission that ‘worked’ to deliver victory to a party of choice would have been too eager to defend it.

Five, the extension of the deadline for the collection of PVCs is not a move made by someone who wants to skew the results in a certain way especially when the appeal for that extension was made by the opposition.

Six, in the past,the Commission ‘s introduction of the Continuous Accreditation and Voting System saved the election for PDP’s Seriake Dickson. The CAVS was introduced in the second ballot after it dawned on the Commission that the older system would have compromised the elections.

Dr Kperoogi may not be aware that elections in Nigeria are changing. It is becoming almost impossible for the EMB to determine the outcome of elections. Any sincere commentator would note the appreciable improvements in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.

This is the season of rumor mongering and old women tales, and therefore , many conspiracies would be woven by agents intent on getting relevance. I urge Nigerians and Dr Kperoogi to discountenance such tales .

Professor Mahmood Yakubu habours no bitterness against anyone , certainly not Atiku Abubakar, a man I doubt the amiable Professor could have crossed paths with on a personal level to warrant such personal grudges and resentment.

I have done this because I know the Chairman will never respond to this as his wont but it is important that this dangerous narrative is dispelled because of its wider ramifications.

READ ALSO : OPINION : In Defence Of @RMKwankwaso Over Allegations Of Bigotry And Fanaticism

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