Nigerian Pilot report
Ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Saturday February 14, 2015, investigations have uncovered a grand strategy by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to rig the election in favour of General Mohammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
According to the findings, the plot to tilt the outcome of the election began almost two years ago when INEC chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega reshuffled top echelon of the Commission. Some key officials of the Commission that he perceived to be a stumbling block to the plot to rig the election were either retired, or transferred.
Having succeeded in planting his core loyalists in very sensitive strategic positions, the INEC leadership came up with the idea of establishing additional 30,000 polling units, with about 21,000 of the new units in the northern part of Nigeria.
The plot to use the new polling units to skew the outcome of the 2015 election was abandoned by INEC following public outcry over the lopsided distribution of the additional 300, 000 polling units.
In a bid to perfect the plot to rig the election, one of the INEC National Officers was reported to have met with select leaders of the Northern Elders Forum, led by Prof Ango Abdullahi, on August 20, 2014 “where strategies and modalities for enthroning a president of northern extraction through vote rigging were discussed and agreed upon.”
The plot to rig the polls went into full blast during the voters continuous registration exercise when INEC allegedly registered hundreds of thousands of underage children, some of them as young as 10 years old, in two states in the south west and most of the states in the north.
Not only were underaged children registered, they were also issued with the Permanent Voters Cards, PVCs, while millions of eligible voters are yet to receive their cards.
When Prof Jega was confronted with reports of registration of underage voters, he merely glossed over it and said; “for now, the remedy to underage voting is to arrest such voters when they come to vote. The fact that they have been registered in error does not mean they have a right to vote.”
The plot to rig the election is already causing internal crisis in INEC as Prof Jega and eleven national commissioners, including some Directors are at daggers-drawn over unresolved issues that threaten disenfranchisement of select geopolitical regions.
It was gathered that some of the INEC Commissioners from the South are not happy with Jega when the bulk of the PVCs were sent to the North West and North East zones while only about 50 percent of PVCs were sent to voters in the North central and the three zones in the southern part of the country.
INEC was also said to have adopted different distribution modalities for the core north and other parts of the country.
The cold war in INEC led to near physical confrontation between one of Jega’s close ally, Dr. Mohammad Wali (Chairman of Tender’s Board) from Sokoto and one of the commissioners from the south.
It was revealed that a ‘shouting-match’ ensued as the modalities for the distribution by INEC was marshaled out to the agents on the field – instructing that the PVCs should be delivered to the various INEC offices at the Local Government Area headquarters for the registered voters to pick up/collect – with the presentation of a valid identification card.
The southern commissioner, Nigerian Pilot weekend learnt, discovered that the rules for the distribution for the PVCs were different for the northern geopolitical regions – the rules were relaxed to enable easy distribution of the PVCs to the populace.
According to an INEC commissioner, the PVCs dispatched to Gombe, Kebbi, Zamfara, Bauchi, Jigawa, Sokoto, Yobe, Kano, Plateau, Nasarawa, Katsina and Kaduna were accompanied by an agent of Dr. Wali.
The PVCs were not delivered to the INEC officer at the local government headquarters; rather, it was registered at the INEC office at the local government headquarters and then delivered to the local chiefs and local Imams to complete the distribution to the masses. The PVCs were then recorded as having been collected by registered voters.
This distribution pattern has made it impossible for supporters of one of the leading presidential candidates to collect their cards in the far North.
INEC is also reported to be denying non-indigenes in APC-controlled states their PVCs because of the perception that they will vote for a particular candidate during the presidential election.
According to the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, “This inexcusable misconduct is also being perpetrated in Kano, Edo, Sokoto, Lagos, Kebbi, Nasarawa, Kwara among other APC controlled states where fraudulent INEC officials and the APC are orchestrating hitches to disenfranchise non-indigenes.
He emphasised that “evidence of this crime abounds in Alimosho and Amuwo-Odofin Local Governments of Lagos states; Nasarawa Local Government and Sabon Gari area of Kano state as well as other strategic places where PVCs belonging to non-indigenes are even burnt to ensure that they did not get to their rightful owners.”
“We know that the aim is to deny the PDP of its well-deserved victory in APC states since over 90 percent of these non-indigenes are supporters of the PDP and will vote en-mass for President Goodluck Jonathan and other candidates of our great party at the elections. We are aware of a script that has already been prepared to rationalise the eventual non-participation of the non-indigenes by attributing it to voter apathy”, the party said.,
Balarabe Musa confirms plot to rig polls
Worried by recent developments, a political interest organization, Credible Alternative Alliance, CAA, led by former Kaduna state Governor, Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa has alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is tilting the distribution of Permanent Voters Card to favour areas believed to be strongholds of All Progressives Congress’ candidate, General Muhammed Buhari.
While speaking on the controversy raging over the coming election, Balarabe Musa said there is no way INEC would be able to distribute the outstanding PVCs within the remaining two weeks.
“INEC cannot meet up with the issuance of voters cards to all registered voters, even the PVCs is not being realistic because of the past failures. For example, INEC is talking about distributing permanent voters cards. Let us assume that sufficient PVCs have been produced by the commission, how come the PVC is still being distributed?
“We have credible information that in some places in the rural areas, INEC staff takes the PVCs for distribution and because of the disappointments of the past, people refuse to come out for collection of their PVCs. The commission staff then leaves the PVCs to community leaders to distribute. I believe that should not be the responsibility of the village heads to do but that of INEC.
“Again, how can we realistically expect INEC to make PVCs available to every registered voter within two weeks, something they failed to do in many years?”
The group presented a statistical analysis of the distribution of PVCs which showed the number of registered voters yet to collect their PVCs in various zones.
According to CAA, South-East has (3,287, 530) , South West (7,411,205), South-South (3,844,370) , North-East (2,429,763), North West (4,835,556), North Central (3,907,849) and FCT(421,559).
On the distribution of PVCs, CAA said it has observed “a criminal gross disparity of voter spread designed to tilt the election to a pre-determined outcome”.
The group insists that all the 68.8 million registered voters must be given unfettered access to freely collect their PVCs and cast their vote as provided for in the constitution, adding that, it would be forced to take INEC to court if that condition was not met.
“Let us call a spade, a spade. There are two main contenders for the Presidency in this election. The analysed data above depicts a worrying trend. 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 the 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 20million voters through a questionable and unlawful rule by INEC is not acceptable by any measure, the organisation said, further stressing that, “CAA condemns it 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.”
Nigerian Pilot report