2019: How INEC Bungled the election

By Nwangwu Uba

the last may not have been heard about the postponement of the Saturday , February 16, 2019, Presidential and National Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC. Appearing before  on Channels Television last Sunday, Mike Ogini, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Akwa Ibom state, may have opened a can of worms when he said the political parties and the petitions arising from  the party primaries and Court injunctions ‘s should be blamed for the Commission decision.

 Igini,  the Akwa Ibom state, REC, confirmed that as at present  there are about 640 Court cases by aggrieved politicians joining the electoral umpire and a total of 14 Court orders asking the Commission to add or remove  a name.  He may have alluded tothe Social Democratic Party, SPP. Initially , the party  had submitted the name of Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross river state as the presidential candidate but there a Court order asking INEC to substiture the with that of Jerry Gana, a former minister of Information and National Orientation under the former Olusegun Obasanjo Administration Administration. It was said to have been done but Duke’s name found his way back on the INEC list through the Court process.  Giving an insider information, the Akwa Ibom state REC, explained that the issues  arising from  the party primaries caused a delay  in the ” printing  0f ballot papers for the election an indication that the Commission was not ready for the election.

He stated stated further that the parties did not help matters  by” keeping to the election timetable and detailed electoral activities ,  prepared by Commission” , thus mounting pressure on them.

He insists that the parties derailed INEC, in carrying out its mandate of conducting  the elections as scheduled. Igini lamented that there was no much the Commission could have done  when it was left with only one month to prepare the ground for the election to allow the dust in the parties to settle.According to him, over ”4000 million ballot papers  were printed  containing 91 political parties and 71 Slots for Presidential Candidates,, including the name of Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of Education under Obasanjo Administration and Allied Congress Party of Nigeria ACPN who withdrew from the race.

 In a voice laden with emotions on Channels, he said,”’ following the production  of the ballot paper , the Commission  was faced with another hurdle  of moving  the heavy ballot boxes  across the country by air and road.. He said the Commission did everything within its powers to move the items to the states but time was not on its side.

Not that it had engaged the services of the Nigerian AirForce, which started airlifting the heavy ballot boxes and ballot papers  to the state which were received at the various airports across the country by INEC and Central Bank of Nigeria officials under tight security. That was how far , INEC  could go.

Brig. Gen. Suleiman Kazure: Director General, NYSC

Recall that Mahmood Yakubu  a Professor and Chairman, INEC,  who had emerged from a closed door meeting with top officials of the Commission  late hours in the early hours of Saturday, February 16, 2019,  had justified the postponement of the election to logistical challenges  and disruptions by fire disasters in some of its offices across the country as the Commission was forced pay attention to  recovery of election materials than preparing for the conduct of the election.  In preparing for the election , Yakubu  disclosed that the Commission that recruited  and trained about one million adhoc staff, mostly Youth Corpers.

Many believe that INEC  and the APC , prepared the ground to  derail the election. This is because there had been making the rounds that the APC , on their own , had trained ,  electoral officials that would take over from the INEC recruited and trained adhoc staff and nothing was done about it.  It was learnt that the parties used the waiting time to perfect plans to replace the real INEC adhoc staff with the fake ones at the polling booths to facilitate the rigging in the election.

The protest in Borno state by over 300 Youth Corpers  ”adhoc” staff in Borno state over the replacement by  people speaks volume, presumed to be APC supporters in the state speaks volume.

According to the NYSC members , their names  came out on the first list , but on getting to the various  polling centers, , their names  have been substituted  with other names.  The situation was the same in other parts of the country , which was suggestive that some INEC officials have connived  with the politicians  to replace their names with party faithfuls. The situation was the same in parts of the country forcing Suleiman Kazuare, a Brigadier General and Director General, NYSC, to speak out , that the NYSC adhoc staff cannot be  be replaced unilaterally by INEC or group of persons. This may have forced INEC officials to go back to the drawing board to put things  right as Yakubu, the INEC boss declared that they made ”adequate provision for the  adhoc staff” and there was no plan to replace the Corpers who had been released by the NYSC Secretariat and trained for the election. Who is fooling who, INEC?

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