Minister of Information and Culture, Alh Lai Mohammed, has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari failed to intervene in the Adamawa governorship election fiasco.
While fielding questions from state house correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, Mohammed said the responsibility to deal with the infraction commited by the suspended Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Barr Hudu Yunusa Ari, rests with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
According to him, Buhari did not intervene in the Adamawa State election crisis because he does not micromanage any institution of government.
The minister explained that he was not aware that a petition had been written to Buhari on the need to take action against Ari, who he pointed out is an employee of INEC.
Recall that Ari had prematurely announced the victory of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Aisha Dahiru Ahmed ‘Binani,’ when collation of results had not been concluded.
INEC consequently suspended the REC and promised to report him to the president, who is the appointing authority for appropriate action.
But Mohammed said that government has never intervened in the way INEC conducts its elections.
“So, there’s no need for us to intervene. It was an entirely INEC matter and INEC handled it.
“The chairman of INEC is in charge of all employees and he’s handling it. So, what do you want the government to do?” he queried.
Asked whether Buhari was disappointed at the attitude of the REC, Mohammed said: “The President does not micromanage any institution. I think you go ask INEC. INEC handles all these businesses. Honestly, if I were you, I will ask INEC that question.
“You said INEC took certain steps, right, it is in the context of INEC to so do. I’m not aware that there’s a petition. It was not addressed to me. That’s why I said your best bet is probably to ask INEC.
“You see, the President does not micromanage every institution…I think I’m the wrong person you are asking this question.”
The minister also explained why he accused the presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, of committing treason, saying that if his running mate had called for insurrection and he did not react, he is guilty as charged.
“What I said about Mr Peter Obi is very clear. I said Mr Peter Obi has every right to seek redress in court like Labour Party. But nobody has the right to call for insurrection or to threaten to say that if the President-elect is sworn in, that will be the end of democracy.
“That was precisely what the running mate of Mr Peter Obi said on live television. And I have not heard Peter Obi rein him in or correct him.
“So, if your running mate said something, of course, he is saying it on behalf of the party and that of the candidate.
“That’s why it’s an act of treason for anybody to say if a duly elected president in Nigeria is sworn in, that will be the end of democracy.
“It’s treason for anybody to say if you swear in a duly elected president, you’re swearing in the military. It is crazy. So, I don’t see anything controversial in that,” he said.