To Hell With Prof. Jega & The Conquest Masters.
The Independent National Electoral Commission did not really have a choice besides shifting the dates of the 2015 general elections. Shortly before Prof. Attahiru Jega announced the shift, the signs were crystal clear to me. The INEC under him have (surprisingly) failed. The PVC distribution process had been hijacked by dishonest members of the APC in conjunction with some district heads and imams in APC dominated areas in the North and Lagos State. The processes of recruiting INEC adhoc staff for the elections have been reduced to a reward appointment for Nigerians that have remained loyal to APC. Members of the National Youth Service Corps who would play a crucial role in the elections had not even concluded training. To be exact; the INEC had not justified the huge expenses it incurred so far in the process of preparing for the elections. I'm only surprised it took the INEC chief such a long time to admit these flaws but it better late than never. Now that the elections have been shifted in the interest of Nigerians, it becomes necessary that some issues be highlighted that will guide the INEC in gathering its acts so we do not get drawn back to kind of elections organized by the INEC under the supervisions of Dr. Abel Guobadia and Prof. Maurice Iwu with the sponsorship of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo; the wing commander and navigator-in-chief of the APC. These issues are huge but I shall limit this note to just one of them which I consider most essential and critical - INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS for which this writer shall consider three (3) kinds who may not vote going by prevalent circumstances but who MUST be allowed to vote:
BOKO HARAM INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS.
My heart bleeds for this category of Nigerians who have suffered tremendously as a result of an irrational chase of power by some dubious politicians from the North who they have as MASTERS. These MASTERS are a cabal of backward thinking laid backs that dwell in this 21st century but still think and believe that RULERSHIP by CONQEST is an acceptable method of attaining political power. It is on account of these men that thousands of my country mean are seeking refuge in strife, hunger and disease ravaged lands like Niger Republic and Chad. It is important that I state here that the condition of these Nigerians have not caused the power thirst of the CONQEST MASTERS to wane. Even in their distressed situation, they have gotten their Permanent Voters' Card but what the persons who ensured they got PVC's (while in Chad and Niger Republic) did not say is the extent to which they (IDP's) will utilize the cards. I perceive that special efforts were made by the APC to ensure they are provided with PVC's because they will most likely vote for them. Funny as these seems the Christian IDP's who migrated towards Yola and environs are still left without cards because their allegiance to the APC cannot be determined. The APC is so concerned about the IDP's in Borno and Yobe States. They are determined that they must not be disenfranchised. They must vote no matter how dangerous it is to make them do so. Why then are they not showing equal concern about the IDP's in Southern Adamawa State? Simple; Those in Northern camps are mostly Muslim that will vote Buhari while those in Southern camps are Christians from Southern Yobe, Borno and Northern Adamawa who will vote President Goodluck Jonathan. True, they are Internally Displaced Persons but are by all standards, these persons are Nigerians; they MUST be allowed to vote their preferred candidates.
POLITICAL NORTHERN INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS.
We must stop pretending like there are no security threats in the North. There are threats; real ones and there are very huge chances that these threats will translate to real action if the outcome of the elections does not satisfy the expectation of prominent members of the APC. Already, General Muhammadu Buhari has sworn not to concede defeat because he “WILL NOT LOOSE.” What manner of political “giri die” is this? The influence if these statement on his derailed under age supporters cannot be under emphasized. Already, some moderate Moslems are being constrained to leave their homes in most part of the core north. Past experience of post election violence laced with a dose of religious and tribal violence in mainly Christian areas in Plateau, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Adamawa, Gombe and Southern Kaduna can be remotely linked to this mass Buhari/APC induced exodus. This is a calculated attempt aimed at reducing the 25% per State needed for winning. It is part of the disenfranchisement plan because these moderate Moslems who do not share the beliefs and quest of the CONQEST MASTERS are likely to vote for President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples' Democratic Party in the coming elections. As I write, a large number of displaced persons are unknown as they are scattered in towns and villages where they feel safer. Of course, they do not own PVC's contrary to the lie The INEC cleverly told and are without any form of State assistance. Unless they are identified as victims of the Ebola virus were spotted and rescued, they will be disenfranchised.
POLITICAL SOUTHERN INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS.
These are Southerners living in Northern Nigeria, especially the huge masses of Igbo traders and their families. There are nearly N10,000,000 of them. Threats of the mother of all violence and the memory of the post 2011 election violence are driving them from the North. By the date of elections very few will remain in the North. This is deliberately being orchestrated to deny President Goodluck Jonathan and the Peoples' Democratic Party 25% of votes in Northern States and to massively reduce the number of persons voting for PDP. Nobody is making any arrangements for their voting elsewhere. It is part of the disenfranchisement plan because they are likely to vote for PDP and Jonathan, unless this is countered, the rigging think tank and machinery of the All Progressives' Congress superintended by Bola Tinubu and Chibuike Amaechi will have taken Nigerians for a wild ride.
It's was the height of disservice to Nigeria for the INEC to have fought to retain the former dates of the election having full knowledge of these. On the part of the APC whose lobbyist facilitated the visit of Secretary John Kerry to Nigeria nothing can be more despicable than this. The truth is that the APC fought to retain the February 14th election date because they knew the INEC chief wasn't exactly committed to delivering value to Nigerians. Isn't it strange that a PROGRESSIVE party is demanding that elections hold when it's crystal clear that as many as over 20 million eligible Nigerian voters will be disenfranchised? A truly progressive party of democrats, liberals and socialists should be concerned about protecting democratic rights of eligible persons to vote. In the Nigerian setting, the APC that pretends to be one should be at the vanguard of insisting that Nigerians must not be disenfranchised but we disappointingly have an APC that are confiscating PVC's of Nigerians whose loyalty to them cannot be determined in Lagos State and most states in the North. Little wonder they successfully placed the INEC chief under pressure by issuing press statements demanding that elections must hold.
Like thieves denied their loot, they have burst into Ijebu incantations; screaming blue murder seeking to introduce a spin that the extension of the elections is a ploy by the PDP to rig when in fact they are scared that the shame they suffered on account of the disposition of President Goodluck Jonathan to elections in Ekiti, Ondo and Anambra states will befall them again. The recorded voices of Sen. Musiliu Obanikoro and some PDP Chieftains are a fraud and were only created to advance their immorality. If the APC were patriotic, they should as a matter of national urgency champion the plight of displaced Christians in the North. Let us get this clear. No one is planning for Internally Displaced Persons who are Christians and will most likely vote for Jonathan while everything is being done to ensure that Muslim IDPs are able to vote. What is good for Muslims IDPs must be made good for Christians IDPs and everyone else.
Prof. Attahiru Jega must understand that Nigerians are not completely shallow in reasoning hence he must emancipate himself from the stupid thought of doing the CONQUEST MASTERS a favor and avoid the worst double standards and hypocrisy of all times. The biggest internal electoral displacement and disenfranchisement in the North today are not those in the North East. A look at the voting strength of the north is shocking, but to think that the persons who make up that strength are all northerners is more shocking; a high percentage of those numbers are Igbo's as well as other Southerners. There are over 9 million Igbo's in the North who will secure the required 25% of votes in Northern States for President Goodluck Jonathan. The fear of another Buhari/APC induced killing, maiming, arson and looting have forced them to flee and they are fleeing the North in droves like they fled in 1966 from the wanton massacres. They are fleeing alongside other Southerners and moderate Moslems who will all be disenfranchised as part of a conscious plan to use threats of violence to force disenfranchise them as a means of ensuring the defeat of President Jonathan.
ACTIONS THAT WILL RESOLVE AN IMPENDING MASS DISENFRANCHISEMENT.
Six weeks is a lot of time to correct the failure of a tiny system as our INEC. The manner in which the Ebola virus was contained and defeated by Nigerians points to the truth that where there is will, there is nothing wrong with our system that cannot be corrected. It is worthy to note that some intellectually deficient Nigerians are actually in support of this systematic disenfranchisement. This is either because they are middlemen benefitting from the fraud or they are propelled by a blind show of solidarity towards a political ideology they cannot define but are compelled to admire because of the crowd of irate foot soldiers and supporters already attracted to it. On this basis, I am of the firm view that the following options are viable and can be deployed.
The Central Bank of Nigeria and Commercial Banks has crucial roles to play here. The federal government as a matter of national security must nullify the entire voters' registration supervised by Prof. Jega. Existing PVCs have been seriously compromised and even cloned as discovered by the DSS. INEC is just not safe and secure anymore. In its stead, commercial banks should handle a new and safer process of registration like they do when they are requested by customers to produce ValuCards, MasterCards and VISACards for their customers. Already, each bank has a data base of its customers hence the only challenge becomes that of duplication. As a way of resolving this logjam, ICT providers like Galaxy Backbone and Zinox Computers can be hired to procure software that will ensure that once a customers' biometrics is captured and fed into the voters' registration portal once, it is captured and transmitted to INEC central database where it will be retained. This software must contain a firewall chip that will make it impossible for one finger print and portrait to be recognized more than once; The methodology is simple, the Federal Government of Nigeria MUST compel the CBN to issue a circular to commercial bank that Permanent Voters Cards shall remain the only accepted means of identification for transactions till the elections are over.
By implementing this new registration method; incidences of underage voters will be defeated and situations wherein foreign nationals have been procured by politicians, registered and persuaded to vote will be of no consequence. This will give a new opportunity to counter cloned PVCs, replace lost PVCs, re-register new people and eliminate under-age voters. Banks cannot be compromised; they will eliminate all underage voters and bring down the excessive registrations in Northern Nigeria especially the North West. This new PVCs can be replaced for a cost once lost and all the PVC burden will be taken off the INEC. Where banks do not have branch networks, community or micro finance institutions will be empowered to perform the exercise under very strict monitoring by the Department of State Security and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corp. Religious institutions and tertiary institutions are also essential to the success of this mobilization. The student's community must be compelled to obtain their cards by making it a condition for attempting examinations while churches and mosques should direct their members to show their PVC's at entry points.
This idea of tying people to a ward is fast becoming archaic and no longer makes sense. In America and the UK people can even register to vote from wherever they are. INEC just has to feed its machines with data directly derived from national databases (derived from the National Population Commission). This is very possible and can be achieved in less than fourteen days. Like Automated Teller Machine cards which can be used at any point, it is possible. If this is achieved, the era of mass disenfranchisement will have been defeated. Mind you, the threat of violence against southerners in the north and moderate Moslems is now a potent weapon of the opposition with which they can cause their rivals to lose entirely in areas they dominate. Rather than get them to eschew this, the government can beat them to it by applying this method as a means of making people who feel unsafe being in a location during elections to migrate to their preferred location and still have their voting rights protected.
No doubt the INEC have failed flatly; only a myopic Nigerian will insist it hasn't. Lately, an official of the Peoples' Democratic Party confirmed that a large number of PVC's are still in far away China awaiting shipment. Besides this damning testimony, Alhaji Balarabe Musa have decried the manner the INEC have handled the PVC distribution process. The elder statesman further collaborated my initial claim that Prof. Attahiru Jega did a perfect job by ensuring that the PVC distribution process favored the APC and its presidential flag bearer to the detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians. The headquarters of the INEC must urgently take steps to redeem it already battered image and save itself the misfortune of being seen as the PVC distribution wing of the APC just like Sahara Reporters and Boko Haram are known to be its media and military wing. If Prof. Attahiru Jega considers himself as not capable of delivering of this simple task of conducting an acceptable election because of his loyalty to the APC and the CONQUEST MASTERS he should resign his appointment and exit the INEC with whatever reputation he still has left.
Ezeani, Chukwunonso Elvis is the South West Zonal Director of Communication, Research & Strategy at the Peoples' Democratic Party National Youth frontier. He can be reached @NonsoEzeani1