By Stephen Ubanna
Mahmood Yakubu, a professor
Yakubu disclosed that the major problems that had informed the postponement of the election by one week have been solved. The INEC Chairman said on Wednesday , February 20, 2019, that the Commission was able to achieve all that following the postponement of the election, an indication that the electoral umpire was not ready to hold the general elections at the earlier period slated for it.
One of such problems was the configuration of the card reader. According to the INEC boss, who appeared very confident to hold the general elections this time around, confirmed that the card readers have been configured to the number of specific polling booths across the country by the Commission Information Technology personnel and not by any contractor as alleged. He said the card readers , which were introduced by former President Goodluck Jonathan in the Nigerian electoral system to facilitate the accreditation of electorate using the Permanent Voters card, PVC, were configured in such a way to ”forestall any illegal use of the card readers by politicians and their agents, before the appointed for the elections.
he may have sent a signal to the All Progressive Congress, APC and the People Democratic Party, PDP, officials, who have prepared the ground to rig the elections that the card readers could not be compromised because as ”it would only open for use at 8 a.m on the election day but would automatically shut down by 10 p.m .
The INEC boss maintained that politicians waiting on the wings to rig the election would be disappointed as ”there was no way anybody could compromise integrity of the process simply by knowing the voter identification number , warning those giving out money to collect voter ‘s identification number to manipulate the election to watch it.
The Political Science Professor, insists that ”there was no way anyone would use the Voter Identification number to either compromise the smart card reader or compromise the electoral process now”.
This should gladden the heart of Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the PDP, who fears that the security agencies : Nigeria Police Force, NPF, Military , Department of State Services, DSS and Nigeria Immigration services, NIS, personnel, would work for President Muhammadu Buhari who is seeking re-election on the platform of the APC, to rig the election. On its part, the APC, had accused the PDP of perfecting plans to rig the general elections. The two parties could accuse each other of ploting to rig the rig because of the enormous resources available to them to do so.
Recall that Donald Duke, a former governor of Cross river state and now Presidential Candidate of the Social Democratic Party , SDP, had said that the APC could do anything because of their unlimited access to funds.
Perhaps , to ensure that the Presidential and National Assembly go on as planned on Saturday, February 1 23, 19, the INEC, boss had confirmed that adequate progress had been made in the area of logistics, a major reason that led to the postponement of the general elections.
According to the Commission have completed the deployment of election materials to the states including the Abuja Area Councils An elated
The question on the lips of most people was why the items have not reached the other states , mostly in the north including Rivers, home state of Rotimi Amaechi , the minister of Transportation, who has threatened fire and brime stone , if the INEC, fail to endorse any APC Candidate in Rivers state including Tony Cole, a Lagos business and the party acclaimed governorship Candidate for the election.
many believe that there was no basis for the election materials not to have reached the 36 states of the federation and the Abuja, Area Council, by now, because of the working agreement between the Commission and the Nigeria Air Force to airlift the materials o the nearest Airport in state which would be handed over to the INEC and Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, that may be waiting for it under heavy security cover to avoid snatching of ballot boxes by desperate politicians on the road.
Despite the assurance by the INEC boss , that the general elections would go on ass rescheduled, Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and national Chairman, APC , appears to have joined the PDP leadership of the PDP to call for his resignation . By allying with the leading opposition PDP, to call for the resignation of a key appointee of the Buhari Administration , Oshiomhole , has tactical declared his political stand. he may have attracted much criticisms to himself from the party members for calling for Yakubu, the INEC Chairman to resign.
Babatunde Fashola, minister of Works, Power and Housing, who incidentally is the Director of Planning, APC, Presidential Council, said ”those calling for the resignation or sack of the INEC Chairman are confused”, nothing the ”electoral process was too far gone for a change in the leadership of the Commission”.
He querried Oshiomhole and others who are calling for the INEC boss resignation if that is what would take the country to election?. He has a word of advice for Yakubu, to reclaim the confidence that Nigerians expect in them and show that the Commission can be trusted by conducting a free, fair and credible election.
Already , the Army has taken proactive measure to stop electoral crimes such as snatching of ballot boxes and violence, during the election , the army has taking a proactive measure. Tukur Buratai, a Lt.General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, was to have issued an order that here would be ”no military escorts for retired military officers turned politicians to properly carry out a stop and search” during the elections. Recall that the Katsina state born Nigerian President had ordered security agencies to prepare to crack down on potential trouble makers during the rescheduled elections. The security agencies, were said to have identified the flashpoint states: Rivers and the north eastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Burati may have advised officers whose loyalty to the Nigeria state are in doubt because of their plan to connive with the politicians to resign on or before Friday, February 22, 2019 to avoid running into trouble
Given that the goverment may not want anything to disrupt the elections, Abdulrahman Dambazau, a retired Lt. General and minister of Interior , at the instance of the President had declared Friday a work- free day. Dambazau, said the banks and those offering essential services were excluded from the declaration. The Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, resident NIS, Border Patrol officers were said to have been given a standing order by their respective Heads including the other security agencies at the lander to tighten up security at the Border.
Dom Asogwa, resident Comptroller, NIS,
A visitor who was at Seme- Krake land Border on Thursday, February 21, 2019, said the Beninois and NIgerian Immigration officials , were very busy processing their travelling documents of Immigrants who may not want to be trapped at the Border because of the government directive as was the case last week.
Meanwhile Muhammed Uba Garba, Comptroller, NCS, Seme-Krake, Joint Border post, has given a standing order to Rashid Adahunsi, a Deputy Comptroller in-charge of the Command , Enforcement Unit, who in turn has read the riot act to the patrol teams to be on the alert to ensure that Vehicles and foreign par boiled rice and other Contraband items were not smuggled into the country under any guise. The government had banned the importation of vehicles and foreign through the land Border across the country on January 1, 2017. Garba , has told those that cares to listen the ban on the ”ban on the importation of rice and foreign rice through the land Border was still in force.
Foreign rice and vehicle smugglers who may have perfected plans with their sponsors across the country to beat the security agencies, particular, the Customs patrol team to it during this public holiday would be disappointed as Hameed Ali, a retired Colonel and the Customs Comptroller General’s men are everywhere at the Border and the major high ways. Take for instance, at the Lagos- Seme -Krake Joint Border, smugglers who escape the resident Customs officers may not be lucky with the Federal Operations Unit, FOU, Zone A or the Headquarters’ Strike Force team, Lagos Zonal office , under the Command of Salisu Shuaibu, an Assistant Comptroller. the team had stopped a major human trafficking deal along the busy Lagos -Seme which escaped the eagle eye of the border Patrol and Resident NIS last which made headline news in Major Newspapers as the Nigerian Television Authority , NTA, allocated adequate air time to it to speak on the dangers of human trafficking and why security must be tightened up at the nation’s land borders to avoid a repeat of such an ugly incident.