Dr. Anthony Philips
Nigerians were clearly unhappy with the last general elections and they have continued to ask questions. Can we govern ourselves? We have not been able to conduct a viable and acceptable nationwide census. Neither can we conduct a free and fair election that will win worldwide respect. Isn’t this such a shame, that the most populous Black nation in the world is left in the wilderness when the rest of the continent has moved on?
Those generations of leaders that hijacked our sovereignty since the 1970s would not allow the system to serve the true sovereignty.
Let us return to the main topic of whether or not the last elections were rigged. Well it is generally accepted by Nigerians that the elections were rigged. Even the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which benefited from the process admitted that it was faulty. The party, in its defence, continues to push the narrative that INEC over-promised and under-delivered. They couldn’t explain further what was under-delivered. What was the obligation of INEC to the people? What was INEC’s promised delivery package? Was it just an announcement of declaration of a winner? Was it just about the announcement of a result? Exactly what was wrong with the choices made by INEC? How did it affect the eventual outcome of the elections? These and many are questions that we need to answer in order to find definitions for INEC’s failure.
Again, going back to the main topic, regarding the rigged elections, from INEC’s perspective, election did not take place.
From the position of the law, there couldn’t have been an election without accreditation. BIVAS, according to INEC recorded the accreditation of voters. However, for whatever reasons given by INEC, the results couldn’t be posted in real time on IREV. So it requires some days before the results were posted.
It was intriguing that by Day Four, when the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmood, made the declaration of a winner, only 120,000 polling units results were available out of 176,600 polling units. And for over two weeks after the announcement, over 9,000 polling units were yet to be posted. This raised concerns for most of the political parties, poll observers, Nigerians nationwide and the international community. When questions were put to the INEC Chairman by the political parties’ agents, his response was evasive.
For a credible umpire, who is principled and believes in EQUITY and FAIR-PLAY, Mahmood has an obligation to address the concerns. Rather, he told them point-blank that they should go to court if they were not happy with the results he announced. Clearly, from this point, this umpire was not working for Nigerians. That response was for his new boss to appreciate the job he was doing.
Another thing is that we have so many inconclusive elections as a result of so many reruns of the elections conducted on the same day at the same time with the presidential election. Yet according to the INEC Chairman, these reruns had no impact on the presidential election and were therefore inconsequential to his declaring the winner of the election.
Furthermore, the announcement of cancelled elections by states’ returning officers on Election Day was unique. It was a chorus, echoing one after the other the same narratives. Results were cancelled because:
- a) Elections were disrupted
- b) Ballot snatching happened
- c) Over voting took place.
Yet as we speak, no offender has been prosecuted. Who masterminded the distributions that took place mostly in states with incumbent governors?
All the above, and so many questions yet to be answered by INEC, call for concern about the questions as to whether the election took place or if it was rigged.
If one goes by INEC’s disposition, I do not think election took place on the 25th February for the following reasons.
1) If there were accreditation, the results would have been displayed simultaneously with the accreditation as the two events took place at the same time.
2) INEC has no justifiable reason to suspend or delay the posting of the results on the IREV.
3) The belatedly posted results were doctored and contaminated as depicted by the pictures later uploaded on the IREV.
4) Accessing the modalities of the pattern of results collation, INEC did not collate results. Rather it worked to a preconceived result –what is commonly known as “working to the answer.”
5) From the incidents INEC reported that led to the cancellation of results in some places, it was obvious that INEC and not Nigerians’ votes decided the election results. A pointer to the charade called election results is epitomised by the Adamawa REC declaring a fake winner without election results. If this fraudulent practice happened in Adamawa, where only 69 polling units were involved, clearly in the case of 176,600 polling units, INEC had a field’s day.
In conclusion, going by INEC disposition in its conduct throughout the electioneering process and the published mutilated results, one can only deduce that THERE WAS NO ELECTION AS THERE WAS NO ACCREDITATION AND NO PUBLISHED RESULTS AS AT THE TIME THE INEC CHAIRMAN DECLARED A WINNER.
Dr. Anthony Phillips, a leader of the Atiku People United (APU), writes from Lagos