INEC:DSS Battles To Save Image, As Nigerians Collect Their PVCs Ahead Of 2023, General Elections

By Lateef Adegbite and Suleiman Umaru

In spite of moves by the Department of State Security, DSS, to arrest and detain   Godwin Emefiele governor of Central Bank of Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which failed, the Nigerian government secret police has taken the bold initiative to also arrest and detain Mahmod Yakubu, a Professor and Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

Many believe that if the DSS, under the close watch of Yusuf Magaji Bichi, had succeeded in arresting  Emefiefe, the CBN governor, who, had travelled to the North American country of the United States US, last December for for Treatment of his heart, disease it would have been easy to pick  up the INEC helmsman, which, many beleive would have overheat the polity.

Somadina Uzoamaka , a Layer, may  have given an insight to the intention of the DSS, in going for the INEC boss,   when  she file a Suit  against  Abubabakar Malami, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN,   minister of Justice and Attorney Generalderation, AGF and Prof. Yakubu based on her presentations.

She was said to have sought among other things, an ‘’order of mandatory injunction directing and compelling the INEC Chairman to step down pending the investigation and consideration of the various allegations against him by the various security agencies’’. The Layer was said to have also sought an order of Court’’ stopping the INEC   Chief Executive officer, CEO, from holding or assuming public office for a period of 10 years’’.

Prof. Yakubu : INEC, Chairman

The INEC boss may have known the people’s plan to derail the 2023, general elections and throw the country into an imaginable confusion that he had prepared for the DSS and the other security agencies plotting to remove him from office to frustrate the elections. He was said to have produced in Court several ‘’exhibits to show the sources of money   for the purchase of the properties which his accusers had said were acquired illegally’’.

The trial Judge, Justice Maryan Hassam,of the Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, FCT,  High Court, Garki,  had quashed the allegations  of ‘’the  false assets declaration allegations  against the INEC Chairman’’. The Abuja High Court trial Judge had ruled   that the INEC Chairman cannot be investigated by the security agencies of any of the allegations listed by the any of the security agencies listed which the service may not have found funny.

 Recall that  late last December, Justice Usman Baba, of the Federal High Court , Garki,  had barred the DSS,  from arresting and detaining  Emefiele, the CBN , governor  over the trumped-up allegations  of  funding terrorism  and other sundry  offences against him.

 The DSS, may have taken the case to another Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice John Tosho but were disappointed at the Court ruling.  The Court had refused  to entertain  the suit  until credible  evidence  is brought  before it  as ‘’to the reason  why  the Court  should grant  the request   to arrest the apex bank governor  over alleged   terrorism funding  and other  economic crimes’’. The question on the lips of most people was why the DSS, will want arrest and detain the duo, who are key to Buhari’s Administration.

Given the criticisms over the DSS, moves to arrest and detain Prof. Yakubu, the INC, boss, over alleged assets false declaration by going through the Court process, may have informed why Peter Ifunanya, the agency spokesperson at the promptind of Bichi, the Director General had said that’’ it never dragged the INEC Chairman to Court over alleged non-declaration of assets’’. The DSS spokesperson would not agree that the agency is plotting to derail the 2023 elections.

He noted that ‘’the service  is aware of the  antics of  some mischievous  elements  within the polity   who are desirous  of fomenting crisis  in the country, including creating  unnecessary  controversies  around the forth coming elections’’.

He had said that one of the strategies of the mischief makers is ‘’to subvert the efforts of the DSS, in ensuring peaceful coexistence and harmony’’.  He further stated that the intention of the mischief makers   is ‘’to overheat the polity  and subtly  exploit  the judiciary   to distract  or even undermine  not only the service  but other security and Law Enforcement agencies from  undertaking their Constitutional roles’’.

Emefiele: CBN Governor, Earlier Targeted For Arrest And detention By DSS,

Nigerians may have taken the DSS spokesperson’s remarks with a pinch of salt because of their earlier attempt to use the Court ‘’to arrest and detain Emefiele, the CBN, governor which failed woefully.

Notwithstanding, the DSS intimidation of the CBN and INEC Chiefs, Prof. Yakubu, who had said that there was no going back   on the use of’’ the Bimodal Voter Accreditation Machine s, BVAS, in the conduct of the 2023, general elections’’ which had remained the bone of contention among the politicians over the last two years. He has urged Nigerian electorates to collect their Permanent Voter cards, PVCs, from their respective wards across the country, ahead of the 2023, general elections. The Commission had set between December 22, 2022 and January 22, 2023, for the exercise. 

Festus Okoye, a National Commissioner in INEC and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he said that the Commission has resolved ‘’to devolve the PVC collection to the 89,809   Registration Areas/Wards from January 6, 2023 to January 15, 2023’’. He had said that the exercise will revert to the Local Government Area offices of the Commission on January 22, 2023, and will be opened on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to people.

Peter Obi,the LP,Presidential Candidate, for the 2023, general elections, may have taken advantage of the extension of the  dead line for the PVCs collections ‘’to call on Nigerians to do so’’   , describing the election as ‘’critical  and existential  for Nigerians to endeavor to vote in credible Leaders ‘’.

The Commission had said that no fewer than 6.7 million Nigerians   are yet to collect their PVCs   in 17 states of the Federation, in less than seven weeks to the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

In Lagos state, Olusegun Agbaje, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, had said that 953,803 PVCs were yet to be collected by their owners, who, according to informed sources are mostly non-Yoruba residents, particular, Ibos.

The situation in Lagos state was not different in the south –south state of Edo where INEC, had said that 661,783, PVCs, are yet to be collected in their office by their respective owners.  Tmidi Wariowie, Head, Voter Education in INEC office in the state may have shocked Nigerians when he said 409,332 of the uncollected PVCs   were old ones while 251,951, were the new cards.

In Osun state,  437,354, PVCs , both old and new cards,  Muitiu Adegoke , the state REC, had said , are yet to be collected, stressing that the uncollected Cards are enough  to elect  a governor. It was not surprising why the state REC, may has decided ‘’to take the sensitization campaigns to all churches    in the state, urging the congregation to take seriously the forth coming election.

 Indeed, he may have sent a message to Nigerians, ‘’it is your civic responsibility  to obtain  PVCs , cast your vote  on the election day,   and monitor INEC, declaration of the results ‘’ to ensure that there is no hanky-panky in the process of uploading the results into the Commission’s portal.

 It is also on record that in Ogun, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, home state, over 4000 PVCS, have not been collected by their owner. Niyi Ijaye, the state REC, was said to have urged the people to take advantage of the extended deadline for the collection of the PVCs by INEC, to approach their nearest office in their Local Government Areas in the state to collect their voters’ cards. 

The Ogun state Resident Electoral Commissioner was said to have told residents that ‘’necessary logistics had been put in place to ensure a seamless collection’’.  He had said   that the exercise has become imperative in order for eligible voters to perform their constitutional rights of electing their preferred candidates in the 2023, general elections.

For the first time, the Leadership of INEC,   has expressed satisfaction with the turnout of Nigerians who are yet to collect their PVCs, within the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT, doing so, ahead of the 2023, general elections, which will kick-start with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, 2023.

Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of Information and Voter’s Education had attributed ‘’the development to the sensitization by Leaders at different levels both at the Local, state and Federal levels’’. He had said that ‘’the PVCs collection varies from one state to another and from one place to another, noting that some of the state RECs send their reports to the Commission every two days or  on a weekly basis ,  which are still being collated to get the final figure , which would be made public in due course.

Last October, Prof. Yakubu, the INEC, Chairman, had said that over  93,500,000  Nigerians  are eligible to participate  in the 2023, general elections as voters  at the third quarterly meeting  with the Leadership of the Political  parties in Abja.

Ngige: Wants Voters To Look At Presidential Candidates Manifestos And Vote

Aware that he is no longer going for any elective office  or seeking any  political appointment,  may have informed why Chris Ngige , a one-time governor of Anambra state and minister of Labour and Employment,  may have asked  Nigerian electorates  to  keep ethnicity and religion away   and ‘’look   at  the Presidential Candidates of the  18 registered Political parties registered by  INEC,  and heir Manifestos and vote, according to what is right for the country’’.

The  Anambra Born politician, may have known that Some of the Presidential Candidates , jostling to take over from  The Katsina state born Nigerian President  have no Manifestoes but desperate to rule Nigeria.   Aswaju Bola Tinubu, the APC, Presidential Candidate had said that he will continue from where Buhari had stopped.

This may have informed why he had said that he will not go around campaigning for candidate A or B or C’.   He had said that  the trio , Tinubu,  Presidential candidate of the, APC,  Obi, the LP, Flag bearer, described as his ‘’everything’’  and Senator Rabiu Kwankwanso, a former governor of Kano state and Candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party, NNPP,  are his friends and would not want hurt his conscience. 

But for the fact that he had said that he has ‘’conscience   and won’t jump from party to party’, he would have campaigned for Obi, the LP, candidate, who was his successor in Anambra state as governor. Hear him: I know him too well. I know his capacity.

 Political analysts believe that it is a tacit endorsement of Obi, the LP, Presidential candidate for the 2023, general election.              

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