Healing The Wounds Of Aborted Scientific Rigging Of 2015 General Polls In Nigeria: What Nigerian Authorities Must Do
1. Prof Attahiru Jega
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission
The INEC Headquarters, Plot 436, Zambezi Crescent
Maitama District, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
2. Air Chief Marshal AS Badeh
Chief of Defense Staff, the Armed Forces of Nigeria
The Defense Headquarters, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
3. Senator Anyim Pius Anyim
Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Shehu Shagari Secretariat Complex
Three Arms Zones, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
4. Mr. Ita Ekpeyong
Director General, State (Department of) Security Services
The SSS (DSS) Headquarters, Three Arms Zone
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
Healing The Wounds Of Aborted Scientific Rigging Of 2015 General Polls In Nigeria: What Your Respected Authorities Must Do
(Democracy & Civil Liberties, Onitsha Nigeria, 10th February 2015)-The news of shift in the dates of the Nigeria's 2015 General Elections announced by the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission led by Prof Attahiru Jega has reached us.
In our last public statement, dated 6th of February 2015 and titled: the Return of Sectional Human Rights, Media & Political Activism in Nigeria, we stated clearly that fixing of dates or shifting of same for general polls, or a part of it in Nigeria, solely resides with INEC and that if INEC deems it fit to shift or retain same, it is constitutionally grounded provided it does not exceed thirty (30) days before the next handover (29th May, 2015).
Adjustment of the dates of the all important polls to 28th day of March and 11th day of April 2015 has come and gone, but thorny issues begging for practical and proactive attentions have remained unresolved. Chief among them is the issue of PVCs production and distribution and enfranchisement of 68, 833, 476 registered voters irrespective of tribe, sex, class or religion.
We totally agree and align ourselves with the position of the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon that: “the INEC should take advantage of the shift in polls to embark on rapid distribution of the remaining Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) to all eligible voters”. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon also pointed out that “rapid distribution of PVCs to all eligible voters is imperative to ensure credible polls”. And he urged “the electoral authority to take all necessary measures, such as the rapid distribution of the remaining PVCs, to enable registered voters, including those displaced, to exercise their right to vote in a timely manner”. According to him, “this is imperative for ensuring a credible, free and transparent election” (source: Ban Ki-Moon, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 8th February 2015).
The above is a very credible, fair and commendable comment/advice from the UN to INEC and a clear departure from sectional media and politically engineered comments from a number of foreign missions. It also rubbishes sustained attempts by interested parties and third parties in the media, CSOs and political circles to divert the attention of Nigerians and international watchers from the fundamental issue of PVCs and their obvious manipulation for purpose of scientific rigging and massive disenfranchisement of millions of registered voters particularly in the South
What INEC Must Do: Having gone through and carefully studied the full text of the INEC's Chairman press conference leading to the adjustment the polls' dates, the Commission must do as follows:
1. Disclose publicly with the State-by-State breakdown of the total number of registered voters in Nigeria, which the Commission now says is 68, 833, 476.
2. Disclose publicly with the State-by-State breakdown of a total of 1, 543, 961 registered voters, which the Commission labeled “double registrants” and deleted from the National Register of Voters between November/December 2014 and first week of January 2015.
3. In view of the fact that the 2010/ 2011 pre-AFIS figure in the National Register of Voters was 73, 528, 040 and post AFIS (automated fingerprint identification system) of 70, 383, 427 registered voters; Nigerians want to be told publicly by the Commission how it came about the total of 1, 543, 961 registered voters, which it summarily and magisterially labeled “double registrants” and deleted within two months.
4. The Commission should publicly tell Nigerians the total number of registered voters captured or registered since 2012 in its continuous voters' registration exercises.
5. In view of the fact that those 1, 543, 961 summarily deleted “double registrants” voted in 2011 general elections, the Commission should publicly tell Nigerians how they suddenly became “double registrants” in late 2014 and first week of 2015.
6. Nigerians want to know whether those 1, 543, 961 deleted registered voters are “double registrants” for real or victims of “INEC data loss” or ethno-religious demographic data manipulation perceived to have been designed for a particular zone against the other.
7. In view of the security challenges in the Northeast, acknowledged by the Commission leading to the present polls' shift, the Commission should publicly disclose to Nigerians how it came about distribution of whopping 6, 678, 148 PVCs in the entire six States of the zone as at 27th January, 2015, which are: (a) Bauchi State: 1, 745, 441, (b) Gombe State: 873, 698, (c) Yobe State: 740, 336, (d) Adamawa State: 1, 239, 820, (e) Taraba State: 1,079, 338 and (f) Borno State: 999, 470. The referenced figure (6, 678, 148) has as at 5th February hit over seven million PVCs with Borno State, which still has twenty out of its 27 LGAs in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents; hitting over one million PVCs.
8. INEC must dutifully, speedily and aggressively distribute the remaining 23,003, 668 PVCs particularly in the South and take delivery of the remaining 2.8m PVCs yet to be produced or “4%” of the total PVCs ordered.
9. INEC must ensure that as many as 95% of Nigeria's registered voters receive their PVCs before the adjusted polls' dates even if it means taking them to their homes or polling units and subjecting same to delivery on identification. Extending the date for PVCs distribution to 8th day of March 2015 is not enough.
10. INEC must publicly and transparently disclose to Nigerians how it came about the so called “special polling booths” for red spots in the Northeast zone as well as legal basis upon which it did it.
11. INEC must explain to Nigerians the reasons as well as legal basis behind its decision not to transfer the voters' cards of those registered voters mostly non indigenes of the Northeast and the Northwest numbering about five million or more who fled or relocated to the South and other safer areas of the country following insurgency threats and other politically oiled unsafe conditions. What about the safety of their PVCs?
12. Upon the above basis, INEC owes Nigerians expeditious explanation as in whether its decision runs or does not run contrary to Section 13 (1-4) of the Electoral Act of 2010.
13. That out of 5,905, 852 registered voters in Lagos State, only 2, 267, 039 have received their PVCs as of date leaving 3,638, 813 in the State without PVCs; is very shocking and alarming, especially when compared with Kaduna State's 2, 976, 628 PVCs out of 3,407, 222 registered voters; Kano State's 3, 190, 417 PVCs out of 4, 975, 701 registered voters; and Katsina State's 2, 245, 039 PVCs out of 2, 827, 943 registered voters. To this effect, the ugly trend under reference must be reversed by the Commission.
14. Henceforth, Nigerians must no longer accept any PVCs distribution public update by INEC unless it is accompanied with State-by-State breakdown. In other words, INEC must always attach State-by-State breakdown of its PVCs distribution update across the country.
15. INEC must adopt across board procedures all over the country in PVCs distribution and conduct of the polls proper and ensure that all its ad-hoc and substantive staff adhere strictly to them.
16. INEC must enforce to the letter strict adherence to voting accreditation particularly in the Northeast and the Northwest.
17. INEC must practically eliminate all forms of under-age accreditation and voting, which is very rampant in the Northeast and the Northwest.
18. INEC must look into serious allegations by non indigenes in Lagos State that their PVCs are either withheld or caused to go missing or be burnt by suspected APC agents particularly in Surulere and Aguda areas with a view to disenfranchising them. In some cases, calls are put across to some of the referenced non indigenes by voices suspected to be APC agents, asking them who they will vote as a condition for releasing their PVCs or otherwise.
19. INEC must publicly tell Nigerians the academic status of Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress particularly whether he has provided the Commission with any constitutionally required post primary school certificate (and if yes, when and whether it was done in conformity with legal deadline). Though a number of civil suits have been filed to that effect but the applicants may most likely lose the case on the fundamental grounds of “locus standi”; thereby leaving Nigerians in further dark without knowing whether their potential president & commander-in-chief will govern them, if elected, with “ a Daura Nomadic certificate” or “ a school term exams result sheet”.
What The Service Chiefs, Security Agencies & The Federal Government Must Do:
20. They must ensure that the new polls' dates are not tempered with on security grounds again because they will be in grave dispute with the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended in 2011.
21. They must carry out their duties in consonance with the Constitution, public interest and safety and disallow all forms of primordial and clannish distractions from alarmist political parties, politicians, rights CSOs, ethno-religious groups and media.
22. Reports on security concerns emanating from the media, CSOs or political circles must be further subjected to forensic securitization investigation or verification before being acted upon. This is because there is a virus in circulation emanating from psychology of politics and alarmist brigades, which can cause security blunders and breaches.
23. The Northeast and the Northwest zones must be designated as security and poll nipping points or red spots during and after the polls.
24. All the palaces of Emirs and District Heads as well as Mosques and Houses of leading politicians in the areas must be placed on tight and close watch during and after the polls.
25. Thumb-printed ballot papers and boxes emanating from areas or palaces, mosques or houses other than polling units or booths clearly known to INEC and the Federal Government, must be impounded, confiscated and destroyed.
26. All under-age voters and people holding PVCs with different photographs particularly in the Northwest and the Northeast must be identified and arrested.
27. All registered voters with correct PVCs particularly in the Northeast and the Northwest must be compelled to go through voting accreditation processes before they are allowed to vote.
28. Street urchins, who are notorious in triggering off group violence or threat of same particularly in the Northwest and the Northeast, for the purpose of evading voting accreditation, must be cocooned and warded off.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons.) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program