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Nigerian democratic forces must take back Judiciary & electoral umpire —Intersociety

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  • The August 22, 2024 and October 21, 2025 of exit dates of two enemy-symbols of Nigeria’s most important public democratic institutions as a golden opportunity for Nigerian democratic forces to take back Judiciary and electoral umpire
  • in solidarity with NLC and need for pre-Oshiomhole era industrial action strategies in Nigeria
  • 70% of Imo’s “700,000 Governorship Votes” harvested and written

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), the South-East Zone of the Civil Liberties Organization (South-East CLO), the South-East Based Coalition of Human Rights and Democracy Organizations (SBCHRDOs) and the Human Rights, Social Development and Environmental Foundation (Port Harcourt) have collectively observed that a rare opportunity provided by the letters of the law and convention for Nigerians, particularly the country’s Democratic Forces, has offered itself for purpose of redeeming the country’s battered and bastardized democratic process and take back her Judiciary and Electoral Umpire in order to return the country and its democratic process back on track.

It has severally been investigated and found that most of democratic, judicial, political, defense, security and safety and economic tragedies facing Nigeria and Nigerians today are traced to the doorstep of the former Government of Retired Major General Muhammad Buhari and Prof Yemi Osinbajo which virtually abandoned multi-democratic principles and conventions in Nigeria as a multi-religious and cultural country; to a form of “Caliphate” system of governance and its accompanied dictatorial and totalitarian idiosyncrasies.

The above disastrous style of governance under Retired Major Gen Muhammad Buhari and Prof Yemi Osinbajo had ensured and supervised bastardization and destruction of traces of democratic institutions and processes including appointment of incurable conformists and democratically pariah persons into Nigeria’s democratic public institutions particularly Policing Bodies, Judiciary and Electoral Umpire.

The country’s legal system under Buhari and Osinbajo also became one of the worst hit; to the extent that most of Nigeria’s democracy enabling laws got afflicted with “ouster clauses” or anti-democratic, anti-rule of law and anti-human rights provisions.

The democracy-friendly sections of the country’s existing ‘Grund norm’ (1999 Constitution) were militarized and bastardized through ‘black-market’ enactment of dictatorial laws and administrative pronouncements; to the extent that they were administratively elevated and enforced above the country’s existing ‘Grund norm’ in brazen and blatant violation of its Section 1 (1), (2) and (3).

It is therefore not surprising that the present Government of Ahmed Bola Tinubu, with a brazen crisis of “input legitimacy”, is continuing with such disastrous policies and actions of the Buhari era including election rigging, battered and compromised judiciary and electoral umpire as well as serial borrowings and associated squander-mania.

It must be noted that Nigeria is presently cruising to the crossroads irretrievable turnaround. Unless lawful revolutionary measures are timely activated by the remainder of the country’s old generation democratic forces and emerging new ones; otherwise, the country will become a history; to the extent of its fragmented enclaves spending decades, if not centuries going round the circles of under-development and intractable backwardness.

Nigeria as presently found, is in dire need of rescue and there is urgent need to revolutionalize Nigeria’s public democratic institutions such as policing bodies, judiciary and electoral umpire. This must include flushing out their present top heads in line with letters of the law and conventions.

There is also need to set up a national legal think tank to review all the federal enactments made from 2011 to 2023 with a view to repealing those found obnoxious and inconsistent with global democratic principles and democracy friendly sections of the 1999 Constitution.

Nigerians, particularly democratic forces, are called upon to rise and seize the golden opportunity of the exit dates of the two enemy-symbols of the country’s most important public democratic institutions: Judiciary and Electoral Umpire, to put Nigeria’s democratic process back on track. Nigeria’s two most important public democratic institutions are the Judiciary under the Supreme Court of Nigeria headed by CJN, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola (JSC) and Independent National Electoral Commission headed by Prof Mahmood Yakubu.

It is also important to inform that the two most important institutions have been brutally compromised and bastardized; to the extent that their present headships are portraying unchecked public characters that are unfriendly to principles of globally standardized democracy and rule of law.

The qualities of individuals occupying membership of the National Judicial Council are also direct opposites of the rule of law, democracy and human rights compliant and ruled Society. The last time we checked, the exit date for the current CJN (Justice Olukayode Ariwoola) is August 12, 2024 when he will clock mandatory 70 years retirement age and leave the stage.

Prof Mahmood Yakubu as the current INEC Chairman will leave the stage mandatorily on October 21, 2025, having been first appointed on October 21, 2015 and will be completing his second term of five years on October 21, 2025. By letters of the law and convention, Prof Mahmood Yakubu as INEC Chairman will be unfit to conduct ‘Anambra’s off-circle Governorship Election of Nov 2025 and that of Osun in 2026 other than those of Edo and Ondo in 2024.

To ensure that the two most important public democratic institutions in Nigeria (Judiciary and INEC) are not allowed relapsing into the hands of ‘anti-democratic elements’ and pariah others as their succeeding heads, the ‘prodemocracy revolutionary’ content of the industrial actions of the Labor Unions and Rights and Democracy CSOs must be activated and used to ground the National Assembly and stop them from rubber-stamping compromised elements and pariah others as presidential nominees for the posts of CJN and INEC Chair.

The Labor Unions and CSOs must from the beginning beam their searchlights on those the presidency nominated for the two top public seats. Time has also come for the Labor Unions and CSOs to rise beyond “industrial action on the basis of workers’ pay packages alone” and expand it to include “Public Interest downing of industrial tools”.

To achieve this, the Industrial Action in Nigeria must be returned to pre-Adams Oshiomhole era of “industrial action in the daytime and suspension of it in the hours of the blue law” and under controversial circumstances.

70% Of Imo’s “700,000 Governorship Votes” Harvested And Written

As correctly predicted in our joint Press Conference of October 29, 2023 and Press Statement of Nov 9, 2023; our latest findings have shown that not less than 70% or “490, 000 votes” announced by INEC as “total lawful votes cast” arising from the Nov 11, 2023 Imo Governorship Election were composed of “harvested and written results”. It was also found that most of the “540,000 votes” allocated to the INEC-declared winner of the shambolic poll were harvested and written. Out of the remaining 210, 000 validly cast votes in all, at least 40% were independently found to have been garnered through voter intimidation and corruption including vote-buying. The allocated “540,000 votes” to the INEC-declared winner also magically surpassed the total lawful votes cast arising from the 2023 Presidential Poll in the State (459,261) garnered by the trio of Peter Obi of Labor Party (352, 904), Ahmed Bola Tinubu of APC (66, 171) and Atiku Abubakar of PDP (30, 004). Of the three Governorship Polls held (in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa); Imo, with 27 LGAs and most difficult terrains (according to INEC’s earlier statements), magically became the fastest to be delivered in less than 24 hours as against Bayelsa’s three days with only 8 LGAs. In the Imo Governorship Poll, there were also no reports of election or result cancellation despite the State being the most security and safety challenged of the three election-held States. Imo’s 27 LGAs were further found to have become the “fastest, freest and safest” to vote, collate and announce “results”. The State also became the South-East State with “largest turnout of voters” or “33% of the registered voting population of 2,2m” since Nigeria’s 1979 General Elections or in a period of past 34 years.

How Imo’s Shambolic Governorship Poll Went

The State recorded the highest number of voter apathy and lowest voter turnout than Anambra State during its Nov 6, 2021 Governorship Poll where only 10.12% of the State’s registered voting population of 2,46m voted. Election only took place in some areas of some LGAs including Owerri Municipal,  Owerri West, Mbaitolu, Ikeduru, etc. It was very risky and life threatening to vote in Imo especially in over half of the State’s 27 LGAs under siege. Voting in those areas could attract instant or post election targeted violence against persons and properties including assassination and house burning by dreaded Ebubeagu and Government-linked political death squads or armed non state actor squads. At St Paul Catholic Church near Owerri Waterside, where voting took place, voter intimidation was the order of the day and attempts not to vote for the opposition candidates became the beginning of wisdom. Political thugs and Ebubeagu dreaded militias were also let loose on few courageous voters. In Ehime Mbano, the stronghold of one of the opposition candidates, live bullets were flying from left, right and center chasing away those that mustered courage to come out and vote. Soldiers, Police Crack Squads (Tiger Base, etc) and Ebubeagu killer militias and Government-allied others were fully deployed to terrify and terrorize the voting arenas and voters. At Nkwere, for instance, one Chinasa Nwanneri and a notorious Tiger Base Police IRT Commander, “Chukwukadiba” were reported to have held the area under siege leading to a confrontation with some personnel of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps.

LGAs where voters stayed away from voting for fear of losing their lives and properties or being targeted for assassination or arson; INEC officials were reported to have a field day harvesting and writing results using compromised arenas within the Headquarters of such Local Government Areas. Such was the case in Okigwe, substantial parts of Ideato North, Ideato South, Orsu, Orlu, Isu, Njaba, Oru East, etc.  In places like Ideato North where election took place in very polling units, voters were beaten mercilessly for wanting to vote independently. In Ehime-Mbano, NYSC corpers were reported to have compromised their duties and forced to do dirty jobs. In Isiala-Mbano and Ikeduru, gunshots and ballot box snatching were the order of the day; likewise in Mbaitolu and Oru West, characterized by vote-buying and voter intimidation. Oguta and environs were also a no go area. In Awo-Omamma located Oru East with three electoral wards, voting did not take place in most of them. In its ward 2 with 18 polling units, election only took place in two polling units: Pioneer Primary School (1 and 2) with polling units 007 and 011. The voting arenas there were held under siege by dreaded Ebubeagu militias, threatening and forcing voters to vote the Candidate of APC. Election did not place and no INEC officials were seen throughout the period of the election in the remaining 16 polling units of 001-Umubochi Primary School, 002-Okwuorji Primary School, 003-Umudim Hall, 004-Ubachima Primary School, 005-Umuelibe Primary School, 006-Ugobie Market Square, 008-Amaji Primary School-1, 009-Amaji Primary School-2, 010-Umuifa Hall, 012-Duru Anowa Hall, 013-Amaekele Umuchukwu, 014-Orie Ukwuorji, 015-Ama Ugweru Village Square, 016-Ojubia Square, 017-Umuduru Otutu Hall and 018-Ekenkika Market Hall.

We had in our joint Press Conference of October 29, 2023 asked: Nov 11 (2023) Imo Governorship Poll: Is INEC Truly Organizing Free, Fair, Secured And Credible Election Or Planning To Harvest And Write Results For The Incumbent? We also alerted Nigerians and the entire world and urged them to Expect 500,000 “Results” And Above For The Fake Winner If ‘Harvested And Written”. And in our joint statement of Nov 9, 2023, we additionally asked:  Is INEC truly deploying its nine RECs in Imo for free, fair, secured and credible election or for purpose of mathematically plotting and re-plotting of figures arising from harvested and written results to a favored candidate(s)? The independent journalists and observers were also afraid and scared that they shunned the Imo Governorship Poll. The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room had in its Nov 13, 2023 joint statement observed that: “the disturbing reports of high levels of results falsification and other forms of irregularities in the Governorship Elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa States have raised serious questions about the credibility of elections and the future of democracy in Nigeria”.

Signed

Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist-Researcher)
For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law
Comrade Aloysius Emeka Attah
For: Civil Liberties Organization, South-East Zone
Prof Jerry Chidozie Chukwuokolo
For: South-East Based Coalition of Human Rights and Democracy Organizations
Comrade Justine Ijeomah
For: Human Rights, Social Development and Environmental Foundation

Contacts:
Mobile/WhatsApp/Mobile: +2348174090052
Email: info@intersociety-ng.org
Website: https://intersociety-ng.org

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