There’s nothing at the moment taking place that implies that the Chairman of the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu won’t find yourself on the unsuitable aspect of historical past when the chips are down. In Nigeria, fairly quite a few jobs throughout the public area are by nature thankless whatever the efforts one places in, however a job might be achieved so badly. For the INEC chair, what would he will probably be remembered for are the ugly episodes and reminiscences of failure which he promoted to alarming ranges.
Professor Yakubu got here at a time when all of the instruments wanted to conduct credible elections had been at his fingertips. The electoral framework was up to date to enhance the method and expertise was totally given a distinguished position within the electoral course of. For the primary time for the reason that 4th Republic got here into impact, Nigeria was in a position to provide you with the Electoral Act 2022, which certainly was a distinct form of regulation, an development from the Electoral Act 2010.
Many Nigerians celebrated the emergence of the brand new Electoral Act and described it as a sport changer for Nigeria with the novel improvements such because the monetary independence of INEC which was clearly acknowledged in Part 3(3), early conduct of primaries, and submission of candidates record in Part 29 (1), authorized backing of digital voting and transmission of ends in Sections 47 and 50(2), redefinition of overvoting in Part 51, the particular provisions for the bodily challenged in Part 54, the non-eligibility of political appointees as delegates or aspirants in Part 84(12), early graduation and an extended interval of campaigns in Part 94, provision for a central digital database in Part 9, and so forth. Many Nigerians had causes to consider that the had simply mounted an integral a part of their nationwide life and democracy, nevertheless, little did they know that Professor Yakubu had different plans.
Earlier than the elections, the INEC boss went on to energise the Nigerian lots extra by boasting many occasions earlier than the elections that the fee was totally prepared to offer Nigerians the easiest election they’d ever witnessed. With out being compelled to take action, Prof. Yakubu went in every single place pushing out messages about how outcomes of the train could be uploaded from polling items to the INEC Outcomes Viewing Portal, in real-time for each Nigerian and in reality, anyone in any a part of the world to entry.
Opposite to these guarantees, the elections got here and INEC delivered an entire charade to Nigerians. The main points of how badly INEC disillusioned Nigerians are well-captured by the reviews of varied observers, native and worldwide, and the tsunami of litigations which have since greeted the elections. Certainly, Nigeria’s 2023 common election is about to go down as one of the disputed within the nation’s electoral cycle for the reason that first common elections had been held within the nation in September 1923 underneath the Clifford Structure of 1922. INEC blatantly rigged the elections with a lot impunity with out contemplating the variety of hopes they shattered within the course of.
Learn Additionally: Yakubu: The ‘Professor of Rigging’ And Fraudulent INEC
The efficiency of INEC was so shabby and wobbly that following the charade that occurred on February twenty fifth on the Nationwide degree and March 18th on the State degree, the electoral physique had no possibility however to conduct supplementary elections in 24 states of the nation to attempt to treatment a number of the damages. The elections had been declared inconclusive in 2,660 polling items, 93 Legislative constituencies, and 185 native governments.
These supplementary elections happened on Saturday, April 15. INEC stated it was higher ready, having learnt classes from its most up-to-date workout routines, and having examined the Electoral Act in a common election. It was doable to consider that sure classes had been learnt throughout the area of near a month: March 18 – April 15. The Inspector Common of Police lent his voice to the matter and stated that the supplementary elections would proceed easily. However on April 15, it was déjà vu. The morning after, The Vanguard newspaper reported as follows: ‘Supplementary Elections: Violence, vote-buying reign as NNPP wins extra seats in Kano.” The Sunday Punch instructed us: “Supplementary Elections: 4 Killed, Homes razed, Thugs Disrupt Polls in Rivers, Anambra, Others”. The paper added in its front-page story: ‘Three killed in Kano for disrupting ballot, troopers shoot Kebbi poll snatcher useless, APC, PDP, NNPP await INEC declaration of Adamawa, Kebbi gov seats.’ … The report by Sunday Solar was as follows: “Violence, Apathy, Late Arrival of Supplies Mar Supplementary Elections’, with the rider: ‘3 feared killed in Kano, Thugs, police, Ebubeagu thrust back voters, abduct electoral officers in Imo, 6 individuals arrested, 1 at massive in Adamawa, over try and hack BVAS, vote shopping for , thuggery in Anambra, apathy, intimidation in Edo…” The Nigerian Tribune reported: “Supplementary Elections: Once more, violence, poll snatching rock train – 4 killed in Kano, Kebbi, EFCC arrests 12 in Kano, Katsina for vote-buying.”. The Sunday Unbiased stated: “Sokoto Polls undergo voter apathy, late arrival of supplies”.
The identical weekend, get together primaries had been held in a number of the states the place off-cycle elections would happen later in 2023. The primaries had been simply as problematic. In Kogi state, 4 aspirants had been reported to have rejected APC Gubernatorial primaries. The Nation stated: “Sylva wins Bayelsa APC Guber Main… Confusion as Labour Occasion holds factional primaries in Imo… Anxiousness in Kebbi, Adamawa over guber elections”. In a single phrase, regardless of all of the considerations and anxieties expressed concerning the 2023 course of as seen on February 25 and March 18, the supplementary elections of April 15, and even the get together primaries in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi states, indicated very clearly, that nothing had modified and nothing would in all probability change going ahead.
Nigerians run a peculiar form of democracy the place something and all the things is feasible and the one factor that issues is successful in any respect prices. It’s a democracy of deaf and dumb individuals fixated on just one aim and who outline democracy strictly by private requirements. I’ve came across the argument that there’ll by no means be a time Nigerian democracy will probably be run by saints and I’m tempted to consider that ours could be described as a democracy of villains, the place the neatest villain wins. The one comfort is that the day might by no means come when Nigerian democracy will probably be black-listed by the worldwide neighborhood as a misplaced trigger just because Nigeria is essentially the most populous nation in Africa, the most important market within the continent, a rustic whose geo-political significance has direct bearing on the soundness of the West African sub-region. The place then does that depart the limitless speak on this nation, about reforms, legacy and establishments?
Which takes us instantly to Adamawa State, Nigeria the place a present of disgrace was enacted on Saturday by a sure Hudu Yunusa Ari, grownup, male, and Resident Electoral Commissioner of Adamawa State who engaged in a violent act of breach of public peace by disrupting the collation of the outcomes of the supplementary Gubernatorial election in Adamawa state in a legal and roguish method. It could be recalled that INEC had declared the Gubernatorial election in Adamawa State on March 18, 2023 inconclusive attributable to points in Fufore Native Authorities, which triggered a lot furore, and on the bottom that the variety of cancelled votes exceeded the margin of lead between the Individuals’s Democratic Occasion candidate, incumbent Governor Ahmadu Fintiri and the closest challenger, Aishatu Dahiru of the All Progressives’ Congress. By 9 am on Sunday, April 16, collation officers and the returning officers on the State Collation Centre in Yola, the state capital had introduced the outcomes from 10 of the affected LGAS, with Fintiri, the PDP candidate main with a large margin. The Returning Officer then introduced a recess for a continuation of collation and additional announcement of outcomes to re-commence by 11 am.
However earlier than that marketed time of resumption, the State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) reportedly got here into the centre and holding a handwritten notice, with out asserting any excellent collated outcomes, proceeded to announce Aisha Dahiru of the APC because the winner of the Gubernatorial election in Adamawa State. This threw the collation centre into confusion as get together brokers requested: How? Inside a short time, the Gubernatorial candidate of the APC, Aisha Dahiru, popularly generally known as Binani, appearing on this improvement, instantly gave an acceptance speech. INEC would later declare REC Hudu Yunusa Ari’s motion “null, void and of no impact”. INEC stated it could deal with the matter and requested the state REC, the Hudu Yunusa Ari man and the state Returning Officer, Professor Mele Lamido to report back to the INEC Headquarters in Abuja. Yesterday, INEC directed that Hudu Yunusa-Ari ought to keep away from INEC workplace till additional discover, and that Adamu Gujungu, administrative secretary in Adamawa ought to take cost of the workplace with rapid impact. The suspension of Hudu Yunusa-Ari doesn’t go far sufficient. His rogue conduct have to be addressed totally in accordance with the regulation. His behaviour quantities to impunity, criminality, desperation and such brazenness that deserves nearer investigation. This isn’t a matter that may be swept underneath the carpet, as a result of it’s a mockery not simply of the Adamawa supplementary election however of all the electoral course of. It gives sturdy justification for many who maintain the view that this has been a shambolic occasion.
Hudu Yunusa-Ari was required to report back to the INEC headquarters. If he has not achieved so, he needs to be declared a wished individual by the safety businesses instantly! By INEC’s personal declaration, he broke the regulation. One, the Electoral Act of 2022 grants particular powers to the Returning Officer because the official who’s empowered to collate and announce outcomes – see Part 64 (4) and (5). Certainly, Part 65 of the identical Act makes use of the phrase “shall be ultimate” with regard to the “choice of the Returning Officer on any query associated to poll papers and the declaration of outcomes. Part 66 gives additional specificity as regards the declaration of outcomes, vested because it had been within the individual of “the suitable returning officer”. The now suspended Adamawa Resident Electoral Commissioner not being the RO, knowingly violated the regulation. He needs to be made to face the complete wrath of the regulation.
In Half VII of the Electoral Act, coping with Electoral Offences, particular penalties are prescribed to cope with “dereliction of obligation” in Part 120 (1 -6) the place sturdy penalties are supplied in Part 120(4) which states that “Any one who declares or publishes an election outcome realizing similar to be false or which is at variance with the signed certificates of return commits an offence and is liable on conviction or imprisonment for a time period of 36 months.” Sections 120 (5) and (6) additionally prescribe imprisonment for a time period of three years. The indicted REC have to be subjected to thorough investigation. Did he collude with others? Was he induced? Is he a part of a hoop of conspiracy? There have been allegations that sums working into about N2 billion exchanged fingers. Actually? Two, Yunusa-Ari’s disruptive and disorderly conduct can also be questionable underneath Part 249 of the Legal Code. His unlawful declaration of Aisha Dahiru as winner threw Adamawa state and all the nation right into a state of tension and confusion. Aggrieved individuals within the state descended on the 2 INEC Nationwide commissioners who had been despatched to supervise the Adamawa course of. Considered one of them was brutalized. The opposite, Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, a former Vice Chancellor of Usman Dan Fodiyo College, Sokoto was overwhelmed and stripped bare with blood streaming down his physique. It was a case of mistaken identification. His assailants thought he was the REC that made the unlawful announcement. Whereas we don’t suggest jungle justice, the assault on harmless Professor Zuru is most unlucky. INEC has requested the safety businesses to establish the assailants and produce them to ebook, however INEC must be taught a lesson from right here: the necessity to shield its officers, and pay extra consideration to their private safety.
The unmasking of rogue components just like the embattled Adamawa REC must also level to one thing else. INEC officers on the sector throughout elections have to be subjected to routine alcohol and psychiatric assessments. That is the strongest believable response to Hudu Yunusa-Ari’s behaviour. What worsens all the matter in our view is that he was reportedly accompanied on his unholy mission by the Adamawa state Commissioner of Police and different policemen. In different phrases, the illegality was dedicated within the presence of regulation enforcement officers! Nigeria is one nation the place those that are presupposed to implement the regulation have no idea the legal guidelines of the land! The Inspector Common of Police had promised that the police will stay as much as expectations throughout the supplementary elections on April 15. Your guess is pretty much as good as mine. The least that the IGP can do is to ask the Police Command in Adamawa to provide their pal, the now suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner! Going ahead, a lot better consideration have to be paid to the recruitment of individuals for electoral duties. The INEC Chairman earlier than the election had stated that RECs, Collation Officers, and Returning Officers had been anticipated to be non-partisan, that’s impartial, within the discharge of their duties. They even swore on oath to that impact. Nigeria’s 2023 elections coincided with the Holy Month of Lent (Christian) and Ramadan (Muslim), and but in the identical season, the nation has witnessed a lot corruption and dishonesty.
Mrs. Aishatu Dahiru shouldn’t have delivered that acceptance speech of disgrace, realizing the motivation for it to be of doubtful extraction. Nigerians could be excited to have a feminine Governor who contests and wins an election, however that have to be by way of truthful and sq. means, not by ambush or fraudulent means. She owes the folks of Adamawa a proof and an apology. Many others, together with Festus Keyamo, SAN jumped the gun. I’ve expressed the shock that greater than a day after the fake pas, Keyamo, an officer within the temple of justice, was but to take down his Twitter publish on the Adamawa election. The ball is now squarely in INEC’s court docket to make sure that the method in Adamawa’s supplementary election is concluded and that due course of runs its full course in a simply method. The large ogre in all that is how corruption is on the core of the Nigerian character from politics to catering enterprise.