SaharaReporters learnt of a secret meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Sunday night to perfect a plan by President Goodluck Jonathan and a coterie of officials of the Peoples Democratic Party to rig the forthcoming governorship election in Edo State.
The meeting, which featured President Jonathan and Tony Anenih, the self-styled “Mr. Fix It” of the ruling PDP, focused on strategies for capturing the Edo Government House,” said one of our sources. The governorship election is scheduled for July 14, 2012.
Apart from President Jonathan and Mr. Anenih, the meeting was also attended by the PDP’s governorship candidate, Major-General Charles Airhiavbere (rtd) and Dan Orbih, the Chairman of the Edo State chapter of the party. There were also a few other participants considered key to Mr. Anenih and Mr. Jonathan’s scheme to snatch the Edo governorship at all cost in the upcoming election.
One source disclosed that Mr. Jonathan is determined to win the state in order to help him gather enough delegates for his 2015 re-election project as his support from across the country is said to be dwindling on a daily basis due to poor performance.
In addition to losing political support from his erstwhile northern allies, Mr. Jonathan is reportedly disturbed by his loss of appeal in the South-West and even in his base in the South-South.
A source close to Mr. Anenih told SaharaReporters that the former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the PDP as well as the party’s leadership in Edo State were upset by the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to suspend the continuous voter registration in Edo State. Mr. Anenih and the PDP had planned to use the voter registration to flood the voter registry with fake voters from other states who would then be paid to inflate the votes for the party’s governorship. The commission had announced the suspension of the questionable exercise after a meeting it held in Abuja last Friday with the leadership of various political parties as well as stakeholders.
Mr. Anenih has told associates that he intends to teach incumbent Governor Adams Oshiomhole a lesson for distancing himself from the PDP “chieftain.” According to one source, Mr. Anenih believes he greatly helped Oshiomhole to assume the governorship as a way of punishing former Governor Osunbor, whose removal was ordered by a panel of the Court of Appeal.
An aide to Governor Oshiomhole, the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), said his party was not surprised that the PDP would be plotting to rig the election. “Chief Tony Anenih has never won anything in his life without rigging,” the source said, adding that “Chief Anenih will be in for a shock if he thinks the ACN and the people of Edo will sit idly by and allow him to thwart the will of the people of Edo State.”