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2023 Nigeria’s presidential election—matters arising (part3) ~ by Godson Moneke                      

“This presidential election should be canceled “

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The 2023 Nigeria’s presidential election has come and gone. It is now left to the courts to determine the outcome of the election since a winner has been declared by the INEC. In my previous write-ups under the same headings, I enumerated my reservations about the entire election which in my opinion was way below par and an attempt to gaslight Nigerians by INEC. A bill of over N300billion to put up such a DISORGANIZED SHOW and RIPOFF Nigerians? It was nothing but a predetermined SCAM. Nigeria has more than enough lettered men and women to man all its vital institutions but what it does not have in such quantity are MEN AND WOMEN WITH CHARACTER. People with integrity are rare to find and they need to be SOUGHT OUT. The major problem of Nigeria is that people who are seriously deficient in morals and character often find their ways into the commanding heights of leadership. “Passing six is not Passing Sense” is an APHORISM used to let all know that INTELLIGENCE IS DIFFERENT FROM INTELLECTUALISM. It is in the same vein that we say those high academic qualifications and other highfalutin certifications though necessary but are not sufficient conditions for competence for a given task. Those who passed through universities in this country know that there are ‘clever’ students who CHEAT THEIR WAYS through schools and graduate in FLYING COLORS to become a menace to society.  They are unleashed on society where they continually mess up the very institutions that they are supposed to STRENGTHEN. We have seen it in INEC where they are not ashamed to FLOUNDER AT EVERY TURN and the high numbers of COLLECTED PVC which it readily quotes are used to justify the huge amount of money they collect from the common purse and not the real figures. They are quick to lie to Nigerians that they REGULARLY CLEAN UP THE VOTERS REGISTER WHICH THEY NEVER DO. INEC should be FORENSICALLY AUDITED to ensure that it spends the public funds for intended purposes. For example, I voted in the just concluded presidential election and while I was queuing up to vote, I noticed that the three young men both before and after me had the new PVC similar to that of my son who turned 18years recently and was voting for the first time. I became apprehensive whether my PVC was outdated and showed them what I had. In unison they told me that nothing was wrong with my PVC and that they too had my PVC type. I then asked them why they had the new and old PVC. Their response was that they went for the new PVC when they were told that the old ones would not be valid for the election but they had found out that it was not true. What that showed was that there were voters whose names appeared in different polling units on Election Day thus giving room for multiple voting by unscrupulous voters. Those who man a public agency like INEC is not ashamed of its sloppy and mediocre performances over the years.

Every competitive event is governed by its own rules, regulations and guidelines flowing from the enabling Act. The elections in Nigeria are not accepted from this maxim. It is laughable for INEC to brazenly flout its rules, regulations, guidelines, electoral act and the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria (as amended) and for people to be talking of substantial compliance with the legislations. What is substantial compliance in declaring somebody duly elected when the collaborative information evidenced in the primary data of the voting which took place in the polling units were yet to be uploaded as required by law? This is even when the law allows INEC a clear 14 days to put its acts together before making such a declaration? Why the rush if INEC is not being insincere? What is the nature of a computer glitch that affected the uploading of only the results of the presidential election and worked well in uploading the results of the senatorial and House of Representatives elections which held simultaneously at the same place and time? If people think that this is not serious or fundamental enough, I wonder what would. To imagine that two weeks after the elections, just less than 94% of the results of what took place at the polling units were uploaded and the entire results of the election had been announced and somebody declared as elected more than ten days ago based on results which were collated manually. This is the only situation I have seen where MANUALLY COLLATED RESULTS COME FASTER THAN THE ELECTRONICALLY TRANSMITTED RESULTS. INEC had no patience to cross-check the manually collated results with the ones which were transmitted to the IreV portal direct from the polling units through the BVAS. That, results would be uploaded from polling units implied that the BVAS machines were GEO-REFERENCED. The implication is that the purported results uploaded outside the polling units are both doubtful of CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY. How do you draw a NEXUS between THE PRIMARY RECORDS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION WHICH TOOK PLACE AT THE POLLING UNITS AND COLLATED FIGURES WHICH TOOK PLACE AT THE COLLATION CENTERS when it is common knowledge that results are often manipulated at collation centers? This is what the independent transmission or transfer of presidential election results direct from the polling units to the IreV portal was meant to cure. How do you talk of substantial compliance when the direct transmission or transfer of presidential election results from the polling units to IreV portal was rendered INEFFECTIVE BY THE SAME INEC WHICH PREDICATED THE CREDIBILITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE 2023 ELECTIONS ON THIS PROCESS? INEC SHOULD TELL NIGERIANS WHAT IT DID DIFFERENTLY IN 2023 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FROM WHAT IT DID IN THE 2019 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION EVEN WITH THE 2022 ELECTORAL ACT AND OTHER SUBSIDIARY LEGISLATIONS.

The Supreme Court dismissed Atiku’s claims that he won the 2019 presidential election because INEC told the court that the 2010 electoral act did not permit it to transmit the then presidential election results from the fields to the its server at the headquarters. The 2022 electoral act was meant to cure and correct those ills to allow for the direct electronic transmission and transfer of primary presidential and other election records to the INEC ELECTRONIC database. The 2022 Electoral Act arose from a Bill sponsored by INEC meaning that it was not imposed on it. Why then would INEC sabotage its legislations and render them ineffectual only to come up with flimsy excuses pretending to ride a MORAL HIGH HORSE? This republic which began in 1999 is now about 25 years old. INEC started operating in 1998 but its existence was codified in the 1999 constitution (as amended), meaning that for 25years we have allowed this incompetence and given this important institution the benefit of doubt. IMPROVE ON FUTURE PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN ALL WE HAVE HEARD IN THE PAST 24 years but rather than improve on their future performances, they have continued to retrogress and post worse performances over time. We cannot continue INDULGING INEC OTHERWISE THEY WILL END UP DESTROYING NIGERIA. It is common to hear INEC after committing ELECTORAL HEIST to challenge aggrieved parties to go to court because the JUDICIARY HAS ALWAYS TREATED THEM WITH KID GLOVES WITH THE HOPE THAT THEY WOULD GROW UP. Now that INEC has refused to grow up and act responsibly, the judiciary should draw the line and hold them to account. Over time, nobody has subjected the activities of INEC during elections to evaluations and they have always behaved as if they have no responsibilities in ensuring that elections are properly run. INEC has behaved as if it is immune from being an accountable and responsible corporate citizen. Political parties have always been at each other’s throat while the activities of INEC have rarely been subjected to any searchlight. Thus, INEC has gotten away with impunities and numerous infractions. The modus operandi must change otherwise INEC will continue in the current irresponsible trajectory.

The 2022 electoral act provides for INEC and the Chief Electoral Officer to review results whenever political parties contest their validity within seven days of the election before announcing the final results within fourteen days. But INEC and its Chairman ignored these provisions despite the serious protestations by the PDP and Labour Party which led to their staging a workout. In the results announced by INEC, these two political parties between them accounted for over 50% of the valid votes in the presidential election. They had legitimate expectations and their calls for reviews ought not to be dismissed with contempt as INEC did. With the NNPP equally showing dissatisfaction with the results as announced by INEC, one can comfortably say that the political parties which control over 60% of the valid votes cast in the presidential election are complaining about INEC behavior. Such a behavior does not engender the confidence of Nigerians. These cannot be ignored in any democratic dispensation especially when INEC is acting against the express provisions of the law. The rule of law is the foundation of democracy and it is the duty of all to protect it at all times. The other day, the presidential candidate of the LP was interrogating the process which culminated in the official declaration of a winning candidate by INEC. He had argued that a faulty process cannot produce a credible outcome. I cannot agree more with him on this score because every student of science, technology, engineering and mathematics knows how important the nexus between WORKINGS AND ANSWERS is. An answer which has no workings is seriously frowned at. So, it is the duty of INEC to give Nigerians a credible outcome to the presidential election, not just by announcing PANEL BEATEN OR VOODOO results concocted out of questionable processes. INEC MUST ALLOW NIGERIANS TO FREELY CHOOSE THEIR LEADERS AND STOP IMPOSING LEADERS ON THEM, HOPING THAT JUDICIAL TECHNICALITIES WOULD ENDORSE THEIR QUESTIONABLE ACTIONS.

Having said these, I cannot emphasize more on the need for the PDP and LP to cooperate if they hope to dislodge the ruling party at any time. It happened in 2015 when it took the rainbow coalition of the CPC, ACN, PDP, ANPP and a faction of APGA to defeat the then ruling PDP. The ascendency of the Obidients has only weakened the PDP base in the southeast and south geopolitical zones. The Obidients movement did little harm to the traditional base of the APC. The movement comprises TRADITIONAL PDP VOTERS (especially Igbos), YOUTHS, WOMEN AND INDEPENDENTS, therefore, it would not surprise any keen observer that the movement did better than expected in the polls. But whether this performance is enough to push LP across the FINISH LINE as to earn the political party the FIRST POSITION is debatable at least until the courts rule so. In this contest, there is no SECOND POSITION as it is the first position that only matters. Therefore, no matter how sensational your performance is without it pushing you to the first position, it is a NON-STARTER.  If the PDP and the LP had worked together, their victory would have been unassailable. Now both of them lost out because of GREED AND INORDINATE AMBITIONS OF SOME PEOPLE. I believe that it is the absence of strategic thinking that makes people think that going for a COALITION in political pursuits is not worth it. Nearly cannot kill a bird if your efforts cannot catch or kill the bird. That should be the major lesson.

The angst of the southeast people against the PDP is unwarranted because the injustice being suffered by the southeast is not different from that being suffered by the northeast and north central geopolitical zones except that they are not as vocal about it as the people of the southeast. In the fullness of time, Nigerians will collectively protest the injustice being meted against these geopolitical zones. PEOPLE SHOULD REMEMBER CORE NORTH SHOUTS WHEN OBASANJO APPOINTED GENERAL VICTOR MALU AS THE CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF. Talking of the G-5 led by governor Wike, events have shown that they are a bunch of noisemakers and rabble rousers with little or no political capital. What happened to governor Wike’s thesis that you cannot win the presidential election in Nigeria without winning RIVERS, LAGOS AND KANO STATES?  Did it occur to the flippant governor Wike that the person who was declared winner in the presidential election by INEC would still have scored the highest number of votes without winning any of the three states? This MYTH WHICH WAS PROVEN WRONG SHOULD WORRY THE GARRULOUS GOVERNOR WIKE IF HE STILL HAD ANY SHAME LEFT. With all the ABRACADABRA that went on in River’s state in the name of the presidential election, WIKE COULD ONLY SECURE A LITTLE OVER TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND VOTES FOR HIS PREFERRED APC CANDIDATE. If you take away the CULTURAL VOTES OF THE APC IN THE STATE, HOW MANY EXTRA VOTES CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO GOVERNOR WIKE’S INFLUENCE? Wike should allow a free and fair election in the state to test his popularity with the electorates.

I believe that the 2023 presidential election was not credible and was not conducted in substantial compliance of the 1999 constitution (as amended), 2022 electoral act, INEC guidelines, rules and regulations together with its public announcements, TV advertisements etc. Opposition parties who claim that they won the election cannot be claiming that the process is dubious and at the same time be laying claim to the outcome of the same discredited dubious process. That to me is contradictory. THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SHOULD BE CANCELED AND A NEW ONE CONDUCTED!!!!!!

*Godson O. Moneke, a quantity surveyor, economist, sociologist, administrator and sociopolitical advocate. 

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