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2023 Election: How Mahmood Yakubu’s INEC Betrayed Nigerians



By Eric Elezuo

Call it shameful, shambolic or unprofessional, one will not be far from the truth regarding the just concluded Nigerian Presidential election, which eventually and controversially produced a former governor of Lagos State, and ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as president-elect.

Across the divides, across the regions, across ethnic and religious affiliations, individuals, groups, corporate entities and foreign observers, one fact has remained undisputed, and that is the entire process was a huge charade, flawed with spectacular irregularities. The conduct, and the announcement of Tinubu as the winner left many Nigerians in a state despair, worry and indecision as they wonder why the electoral body, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would allow an election that has been so condemned to stand.

Prior to the elections of February 25, 2023 when Nigerians in their millions trooped to various polling units to exercise their franchise and elect President Buhari’s replacement, a lot of promises were made; promises that were soothing, evolving and tended to create a new Nigeria. From the signing of the Electoral Act to the procurement of electronic devices to frustrated rigging, both the Buhari-led federal government and the INEC appeared ready to conduct the best of elections. The populace were not left out as they waddled through thick and thin to procure their Permanent Voter Card (PVC); the only that qualifies anyone up to the age of voting to vote.

In February 2022, and after many failed attempts, President Buhari appended his signature on the electoral bill, bring an end to years of waiting and dilly-dally, and giving Nigerians renewed  hope to believe that elections will wear a new cloak of transparency, where anyone declared winner will be winner indeed. But that was not to be as the hopes of Nigerians, who throng polling units across the federation were dashed as result of failed promises, molestation, harassment, outright violence, stealing and destruction of ballot papers and boxes and collusion of INEC officials with corrupt governments and candidate. This is not forgetting the bypassing of the almighty BVAS, which had incubated the hopes of the electorate.

While signing the Act, an elated Buhari, who believed it was major legacy to Nigerians, said in line with established tradition, he received inputs from relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government after careful and thorough reviews of the Bill and its implications to democratic processes in Nigeria.

“It is gratifying to note that the current Bill comes with a great deal of improvement from the previous Electoral Bill 2021. There are salient and praiseworthy provisions that could positively revolutionize elections in Nigeria through the introduction of new technological innovations. These innovations would guarantee the constitutional rights of citizens to vote and to do so effectively.

“The Bill would also improve and engender clarity, effectiveness and transparency of the election process, as well as reduce to the barest minimum incidences of acrimony arising from dissatisfied candidates and political parties.

“These commendable efforts are in line with our policy to bequeath posterity and landmark legal framework that paves the way for credible and sound electoral process that we would all be proud of.

“Distinguished Senators and Honourable Members of the National Assembly, from the review it is my perspective that the substance of the Bill is both reformative and progressive. I am making this bold declaration because I foresee the great potentials of the Bill. Worthy of note include the democratic efficacy of the Bill with particular reference to sections 3, 9(2), 34, 41, 47, 84(9), (10) and (11) among others.

“This, however, cannot be said about one provision as contained in the proposed Bill, which provision constitutes fundamental defect, as it is in conflict with extant constitutional provisions.

“Section 84 (12) constitutes a disenfranchisement of serving political office holders from voting or being voted for at Conventions or Congresses of any political party, for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election in cases where it holds earlier than 30 days to the National Election. The section provides as follows: “No political appointee at any level shall be voting delegate or be voted for at the Convention or Congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election”.

“This provision has introduced qualification and disqualification criteria that ultra vires the Constitution by way of importing blanket restriction and disqualification to serving political office holders of which they are constitutionally accorded protection.

“The practical application of section 84(12) of the Electoral Bill, 2022 will, if assented to, by operation of law, subject serving political office holders to inhibitions and restrictions referred to under section 40 and 42 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“It is imperative to note that the only constitutional expectation placed on serving political office holders that qualify, by extension as public officers within the context of the constitution is resignation, withdrawal or retirement at least 30 days before the date of the election.

“Hence, it will be stretching things beyond the constitutional limit to import extraneous restriction into the constitution on account of practical application of section 84(12) of the bill where political parties’ conventions and congresses were to hold earlier than 30 days to the election.

“Arising from the foregoing, with particular regards to the benefits of the Bill, industry, time, resources and energy committed in its passage, I hereby assent to the Bill and request the Nationally Assembly to consider immediate amendments that will bring the Bill in tune with constitutionality by way of deleting section 84(12) accordingly,” Buhari noted.

As a follow up to the promises of transparent election, INEC’s chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu and the Commission’s Commissioner on Voter Education, Festus Okoye, on different occasions and in many fora, assured Nigerians that nothing can go wrong as the commission was fully ready to nip every challenge in the bud, including vote buying.

In one of his speeches, at the Annual Conference of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, held in Lagos, Yakubu stressed that votes would determine the winners among the 15,322 candidates contesting various positions, reiterating its commitment to deliver credible, free and fair elections, with a reassurance that the votes of the electorate would definitely count.

“The 2023 general election is fast approaching. It is now 141 days to the Election Day. Polling units will open at 8.30am on Saturday, February 25, 2023, for national elections (presidential and national assembly), and at the same time on Saturday, March 11, 2023, for state elections (governorship and state assemblies).

“Campaign in public by political parties officially commenced on Wednesday, September 28, 2022. Therefore, the tempo of political activities has increased as parties, candidates and their supporters commenced campaigns, rallies, processions and media advertisements to canvass the support of the electorate.

“The Commission has published the final list of 15,322 candidates contesting for 1,491 seats (one presidential, 28 governorship, 109 senatorial, 360 house of representatives and 993 state assembly constituencies) in the General Elections”, he assured.

He further explained that the technological innovations introduced by the Commission would guarantee and protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls.

He said: “For this reason, the Commission has introduced many new innovations, supported by the deployment of appropriate technology, to protect the sanctity of the choice made by Nigerians at the polls, ranging from voter registration to voter accreditation and result management. The deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) with its dual fingerprint and facial biometric accreditation process has ensured that only genuine voters are accredited to vote during the elections. This has curtailed the incidence of multiple voting and other sharp practices associated with voter accreditation during elections.

“The BVAS has come to stay and will be the only means by which voters will be accredited in the 2023 general election.

“Furthermore, the introduction of the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) Portal has made the result management procedure more transparent. Polling Unit results are now uploaded in real-time to the IReV portal for public view”, he said.

But the belief Nigerians bestowed upon the Commission was truncated, betrayed, leading to the conduction of one of the worse elections ever held in the country. From every polling unit, tales of BVAS malfunction or unavailability became a slogan. Where INEC officials, including youth Corps members were not manipulating results, thugs loyalty to some political parties, especially the APC in Lagos State were threatening opposition and other race other than the southwest race to either vote for the APC or go home. Wher elections were conducted, thugs returned to destroy every electoral materials and votes already cast. The people began to lose hope in the bogus of INEC, and called for the cancellation of the election. As the results trickle in, it was discovered that the ruling party were having an upper hand albeit undeservedly. This was collaborated by evidences of massive collusion leading to rigging with high ranking INEC officials.

The distrust culminated in the walking out of the results collation process by the PDP and the LP among others, led by Dino Melaye, who was PDP party agent. Since then, the controversies have ranged with prominent bodies and governments giving the process a thumb down.

Declaring the official results, INEC’s Yakubu said Tinubu polled a total of 8,794,726 million votes to defeat his closest challengers, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) who polled 6,984,520 million; 6,101,533 million and 1,496,687 million votes, respectively.

The Financial Times of London is among the those who scored the election very low, saying it was badly flawed, lambasting the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for misfiring. The newspaper also advised the courts to take a hard look at the emergence of the president-elect, Mr. Bola Tinubu if his victory was challenged in court by his opponents. It would be recalled that the PDP and LP candidates, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and Mr. Peter Obi, have disclosed their readiness to challenge the election in court. As at the moment, the Appeal Court has granted the parties leave to examine the election materials. And it promises to be one of the major legal battles in the Nigerian electoral history.

The London-based publication gave the advice in its editorial published on Thursday, adding that Tinubu’s tally of 8.8 million in a country of 220 million people gave him the weakest of mandates. It warned that the former Lagos State governor would be faced with one of the most difficult jobs in the world as Nigeria has been teetering on the edge of catastrophe with a breakdown of security and an almost total absence of growth.

The paper has argued that all that Nigeria needed was a clean election to reiterate the basic message of democracy where a sovereign people could choose its leaders, saying “sadly, it did not happen.” It maintained that the, “election which appears to have delivered the presidency to Bola Tinubu, a wealthy political fixer running for the incumbent All Progressives Congress — was badly mismanaged at best.” It added that the presidential election failed to set the example needed for West Africa, where too many national leaders have extended term limits or resorted to seizing power at gunpoint, and noting that, “Nigeria remains a democracy, but only just.”

The paper praised the emergence of Labour Party’s Obi as a viable third-party candidate, saying it had brought ‘excitement and forced candidates to talk about policies, if only a little’.

It further frowned at the disappointment that INEC became as neutral observers had thought that the electoral body was in good shape and that they had high expectations that the electoral umpire’s promise to transmit voting tallies electronically from polling stations would eliminate ballot stuffing adding that “the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, had staked what remains of his tattered reputation on a clean contest.

“Yet the INEC badly misfired. Voting started late in many districts, depriving millions of the right to vote. The system to upload results from 177,000 polling stations stuttered, causing legitimate concerns of vote tampering during long delays. “Violence was troubling. Party goons invaded many polling stations in what appeared to be blatant acts of intimidation. The Financial Times witnessed armed men remove a presidential ballot box in Surulere, Lagos.” The London-based media outfit stated.

It further said, “More worrying still was voter turnout, which was pitifully low at 27 per cent. If official results are right, two-thirds of the 87 million people who lined up for hours to collect their voter registration cards failed to cast their ballot. Apathy cannot explain it.

“Something, including the possibility of widespread voter suppression, must have prevented them from voting. Total turnout of 25mn votes in a country of 220mn people is unacceptably low.

“Tinubu’s tally of 8.8 million gives him the weakest of mandates.”

Using the examples of Kenya in 2017 and Malawi in 2020, it advised Nigeria should not shrink from annulling individual contests or even the whole result if any suspicion is proved.

In the same vein, Yiaga Africa, a civil society organisation, fully approved to observe the election, faulted the presidential election results in Rivers and Imo States declared by the INEC, saying the results were inconsistent with its observations.

In a statement signed by Aisha Abdullahi, the board chair and Samson Itodo, the executive director, Yiaga Africa, the group said

“The state-level presidential results for Imo and Rivers are inconsistent with the Yiaga Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) projections for both states.

“For Rivers, INEC announced 231,591 votes for APC or 44.2%; 175,071 for LP or 33.4%; and 88,468 for PDP or 16.9%. This is in sharp contrast to the Yiaga Africa WTV estimates for Rivers which are: APC 21.7% ±5.0%; for LP 50.8% ± 10.6%; and for PDP 22.2% ±6.5%.

“For Imo, INEC announced 66,406 for APC or 14.2%; 360,495 for LP or 77.1%; and 30,234 for PDP or 6.5%. Again, this is at variance with the Yiaga Africa WTV estimates for Imo which are: APC 5.1 ±2.3%; LP 88.1% ±3.8%; and PDP 5.7% ±2.3%,” it said.

It therefore said “INEC should clarify the inconsistencies in some of the results, especially presidential election results from Rivers and Imo states”, and called for a fundamental reform of INEC to allow the electoral commission to have authority over its state structures and ultimate responsibility for the conduct of elections.

As it stands today, it is only the judiciary, which the duo of Atiku and Obi had turned to for succour, can restore the confidence of Nigerians in any other electoral process, even as the governorship election holds next Saturday.

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Breaking: Founder, DAAR Communications, Raymond Dokpesi is Dead




By Eric Elezuo

The Founder of DAAR Communications, owners of the foremost radio and television stations in Nigeria, Raypower and African Independent Television (AIT), High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, is dead.

Reliable sources said the High Chief died while exercising on a treadmill on Monday afternoon.

The source said Dopkesi suffered a stroke some weeks ago.

Details soon…

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I Stand on Rule of Law, with Our Candidate, Atiku Abubakar, PDP, Says Dele Momodu




By Eric Elezuo

Frontline journalist and Director of Strategic Communications of the Atiku/Okowa Presidential Council in the just concluded Presidential election, Chief Dele Momodu, had said that he remains a loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and will always stand on the side of rule of law, and with the party’s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

Momodu made the revelations in a statement he signed himself, noting that the last election, which brought Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to power, was savagely manipulated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

He praised the steps Atiku, and the presidential candidate of the Labour candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, have taken in seeking legal redress.

The statement in details:


My position on the state of our country NIGERIA is simple and straightforward. I’m a loyal member of PDP who owes absolute allegiance to Nigeria and its Rule of Law. My political party PDP and others passionately hold the view that the last Presidential election was savagely manipulated by the ruling party APC and the cases are already in courts. Nothing will make me abandon my party on the altar of convenience and profit. Win or lose, I will continue to stand on this principle without any malice or prejudice against those who think otherwise. Democracy is a game of choice and I’m resolutely standing by our candidate, the former Vice President ALHAJI ATIKU ABUBAKAR (GCON) who has taken the honorable and peaceful step of going to court to seek redress. This is the only way we can deepen our hard earned Democracy. Sacrifice is not always convenient but painful.

I salute and respect The Wazirin Adamawa and others like my dear friend and Brother, former Governor Peter Obi, the Labor Party Presidential candidate, for promoting the best tenets of Democracy in Nigeria and I’m willing to encourage them rather than discourage their onerous quests…


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Tinubu Gives First Policy Directive, Removes Fuel Subsidy




In the first policy directive of his administration, President Bola Tinubu has announced the removal of fuel subsidy.

He disclosed this on Monday in his inaugural speech as the new President of Nigeria.

According to him, subsidy can no longer justify its ever increasing costs in the wake of drying resources.

“We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, healthcare and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” Tinubu stated.

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