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The End Of Buhari's Presidential Candidacy

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By Femi Aribisala
If Nigeria is a nation of laws and of the rule of law, the presidential

candidacy of Muhammadu Buhari should end this week. The reason is

well-known to all. Buhari swore an oath on his INEC application that his

creådentials are with the military. This turned out to be a lie.

The military has come out to deny that it has Buhari's credentials. That

means Buhari committed perjury instead of fulfilling INEC requirements.

For this reason, he must be disqualified from contesting the presidential

The matter has been taken to court and the courts should decide the matter

this week. I am not a lawyer, but from my layman's perspective, this is an

open and shut case. Buhari lied willfully. As a former military secretary

of the Nigerian Army, he knew that the military does not keep any

credentials of its service-men. Nevertheless, he lied on oath that his

credentials are with the military. He must face the penalty for this

perjury. There can be debate about whether, and for how long, he should go

to jail. However, there can be no question about his resultant

ineligibility to contest: he must be disqualified.
To overlook this infraction is to succumb to Buhari's appraisal that

Nigeria is corrupt. If we are going to deal with corruption, we must not

fail to deal with the likes of Buhari, who are contemptuous of the laws of

the land. Buhari's false affidavit is corruption. The disqualification of

Buhari by the courts will be a testament to the determination of the

judiciary to show zero tolerance for corruption in the coming new

Some of us have watched APC make a song and dance about the possibility of

postponing the 2015 elections. The party brought out all its big guns to

tell us that the election cannot be postponed. They insisted that if it is

postponed all hell would break lose. Well, the election has been postponed

and nothing has happened. It has been postponed and the APC can do nothing

about it. It was postponed according to the law.
Similarly, the heavens will not fall with the lawful disqualification of

Buhari. Of all those APC could present as its presidential candidate, it

chose a man without the appropriate credentials. APC has nobody to blame

but itself for this fiasco. It has forfeited its chance of presenting a

candidate for the 2015 presidential election. The contest should now be

between the remaining 13 presidential candidates. Shikenan!

The excuse used to force Attahiru Jega to postpone the elections is the

inability to provide effective security given the insurgency in the

North-East. However, there is little likelihood that the security

situation will improve within the next six weeks of the postponement. So,

strictly-speaking, security has nothing to do with the postponement. One

major reason for the postponement was to prevent INEC from compromising

the election.
INEC has long ceased to be a disinterested umpire in this election. The

evidence is now overwhelming that INEC is determined to bias the election

in favour of Muhammadu Buhari and the APC. This is evident in INEC's

determination to go ahead with the election in spite of the fact that out

of 68 million registered voters, over 20 million have yet to receive their

permanent voter's cards (PVCs).
It is remarkable that, in announcing the postponement, Jega conveniently

forgot to mention the nagging issue of the inadequacies of INEC in

providing voters with their PVCs. It is also remarkable that Jega briefed

the Council of State that INEC was ready to conduct the elections. This

was one big lie. You cannot be ready to conduct elections when there is a

cacophony of complaints, especially in the South, that people are unable

to claim their PVCs. Given the time it took INEC to distribute 40 million

PVCs, it could not have realistically expected to be able to distribute

the outstanding 20 million in just one week?
INEC rigmarole
What is even more sinister is INEC's willful determination to

disenfranchise select geopolitical regions which represent areas of

strength for Goodluck Jonathan. Credible Alternative Alliance, an

independent political interest organization led by former Kaduna State

governor, Balarabe Musa, observed in INEC activities: “a criminal gross

disparity of voter spread designed to tilt the election to a

pre-determined outcome.”
It said: “Voters in the zones that tend to support President Goodluck

Jonathan are massively disenfranchised by the application of the so-called

PVCs debacle, 40% to 50% of voters in these regions who are lawfully and

duly registered to vote will be denied their right to vote by INEC. That

is nearly half of the support base of the President, simply nullified by

administrative failure prior to the election. By comparison, the zones

that tend to support Buhari are handed a massive voter advantage, nearly

80% of his support base will be allowed to cast their votes by INEC.”

“In an election, which many say will be won or lost by a slim margin, to

now disenfranchise 20 million voters through a questionable and unlawful

rule by INEC is not acceptable by any measure. CAA condemns in its

entirety this attempt by INEC to undermine our nascent democracy through

this criminal enterprise to determine the outcome of this election before

the ballot is cast.”
This position is corroborated by different observers in the field. INEC

needs to explain how more people in the war-torn North-East have collected

their PVCs than in the South-West, South-South and South-East. In the APC

strongholds of the North-West and the North-East, 80.18% and 81.09%

collection rates were recorded respectively. In the North-Central, the

figure was 69.89%. However, the figures in the South were significantly

lower than these. In the South-East, it was 59.22%. South-South: 66.66%;

and South-West 43.15%.
Since INEC under Jega is no longer an independent umpire but is now

clearly working for the opposition, Jega should be sent on compulsory

leave and a temporary chairman should be nominated to handle the

elections. Jega can no longer be trusted.
Former Central Bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, caused uproar when he

declared that $49.8 billion of Nigeria's oil money was missing, allegedly

diverted by the NNPC. For a Central Bank governor, the statement was not

only irresponsible, it was downright mischievous. If it were not that

Nigeria is an innumerate society where we have little or no understanding

of figures, it would have been obvious that, for the size of the Nigerian

economy, it was impossible for such a large sum to be missing.

However, the allegation fell into the narrative of the opposition APC

party which was determined to portray the Jonathan Administration as the

most corrupt in the history of Nigeria. There was a lot of hue and cry in

the press about the missing money; after all, the claim was made by the

Central Bank governor no less. However, the governor seemed to have

plucked the missing figure out of thin air.
Soon, it was not $49.8 billion at all, but $10.8 billion. Then again, it

was no longer $10.8 billion but $20 billion. It should have been clear

from all this that the CBN governor was just fibbing. But in Nigeria, we

are socialissed to believe the worst.
School-certificate economics
General Buhari, the APC presidential candidate, has used this fictitious

$20 billion dollars to preach his own school-certificate economics on the

campaign stump. He said: “$20 Billion at N210 to $1.00 is equal to N4.2

trillion- nearly a year's federal budget.”
If so, how can Buhari believe an amount nearly equal to Nigeria's annual

federal budget could possibly be missing? No matter how corrupt a nation

can be, it is ridiculous to presume that public officers would go ahead

and steal the entire annual federal budget? Haba! Buhari then used this

malarkey to formulate his own voodoo economics.
He said: “If it is true that this sum cannot be accounted for, this is

grossest form of corruption. Just think at N5 million per vehicle, this

money would have bought 840,000 patrol vehicles; (this would have improved

security in every town and village in the country). At N13.5 million for a

high capacity bus this money would have bought 311,000 buses; (this would

have revolutionised the transport and production side of the economy).”

It is this kind of rudimentary economics that Buhari has been presenting

as an excuse for an economic policy to Nigerians in this election season.

Just listen to this vain platitude from our eminent retired general. He

says: “The monies we realised from anti-corruption campaign will be

adequately used to improve education in the country.” Now that is an

economic policy that is practically meaningless.
Forensic audit
Because of the nuisance value of men like Buhari, the Finance Minister,

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was constrained to ask for a forensic audit of NNPC

accounts in order to put the matter to rest. She chose

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC); one of the big four auditors in the world,

along with Deloitte, EY and KPMG.
PwC has now provided a conclusive report that shows Sanusi's allegation of

a missing $20 billion is one big fabrication. This matter needs to be

emphasized now that the report is out. Lamido Sanusi lied. The Central

Bank governor deliberately cried wolf when he jolly well knew there was no

wolf. He was just determined to malign and discredit the government; and

he was playing a script to the benefit of the opposition APC.

This then lends credence to the PDP allegation that Sanusi was an APC mole

in the government. Indeed, the PDP claims Sanusi gave the APC 1 billion

naira of Central Bank money to open its offices nationwide. It also

maintains that a fraudulent N48 billion contract was awarded by Sanusi's

CBN to a leader of the APC, while a further N5 billion was paid to another

APC member as consultancy fee. So much for APC's anti-corruption hogwash!

Femi Aribisala is a scholar and international affairs expert. He is

currently an iconoclastic church pastor in Lagos. He is also a syndicated

essayist for a handful publications in Nigeria.
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