The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law wishes to reject strongly, the repeated promises by the Independent National Electoral Commission to give Nigeria and Nigerians “free, fair and credible elections” come February 14 and 28, 2015 respectively. Just yesterday, 1st February, 2015, INEC, while “extending” the PVCs distribution for seven days (1st to 8th February, 2015) repeated its hoax promises of delivering free, fair and credible polls to Nigerians.
We wish to state unequivocally that shoddy preparations put in place by INEC as well as the Commission’s gross incompetence, have robbed the referenced polls in an unprecedented manner, of their freedom, credibility and fairness. The referenced shoddy preparations range from poor, uneven and skewed distribution of PVCs; delays in production of same; multiplicity of candidates allowed by the Commission; high percentage of underage voters particularly in the North; to roguish management of the National Register of Voters.
In the area of gross incompetence, millions of adult Nigerians eligible to vote particularly in the South, were not captured as registered voters. Same also led to massive “data loss and missing names” in the Commission’s electoral register data. In the realm of same, 1, 543, 961 lost their names randomly and arbitrarily as “double registrants” between November 2014 and January 13, 2015. There is also outdated “polling units system” retained by the Commission; whereby the polling units created in 1996 by the military and their grossly lopsidedness, are still in use. The mother of all is deepened manifestation of bias and partiality by the headship of INEC; whereby there appears a sustained and settled conspiracy to return the presidency of the country to the North at all costs.
A typical case of shoddy preparation and gross incompetence on the part of INEC for the referenced polls; is gross data inconsistencies. For, instance, after the 2011 general voters’ registration exercise, INEC arrived at “73.5million” as total number of adult Nigerians captured as “registered voters”. The figure was subjected by the Commission to “automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS)”, for the purpose of elimination of double/multiple registrants, after which the figure came down to “70, 383, 427”. This figure remained the Commission’s official figure as Nigeria’s total registered voting population from 2011 to 2014. As a matter of fact, as at September/October 2014, the figure was retained by INEC.
Suddenly, the Commission woke up on January 13, 2015 and told Nigerians that the total number of registered voters in Nigeria stood at “68, 833, 476” and claimed that those names deleted numbering “1, 543, 961” were “double registrants”. Funny enough, since 2011, the INEC’s total number of registered voters in Nigeria remained “70, 383, 427” or stagnated. This is in spite of all continuous voters’ registration exercises variously carried out by INEC across the country, which ought to have increased the registered voting population figure under reference.
Till date, INEC has adamantly refused to provide Nigerians with State-by-State breakdown of the so called “double registrants” of 1, 543, 961, which it magisterially and arbitrarily deleted in a twinkle of an eye as well as same breakdown with respect to its new registered voting population of “68, 833, 476”.
This leaves us with no other option than to hold that the deletion is in furtherance of our earlier strong suspicion that “the PVCs distribution and the entire management of the National Register of Voters regarding the referenced polls are clearly skewed and laid in scientific/demographic manipulations for ethno-religious reasons and strategic advantage.” If INEC continues to withhold the referenced State-by-State breakdown as per the deleted number of 1, 543, 961 registered voters, then we will also conclude that greater percent of same was effected in the South to further cripple their demographic/electoral numerical strength to the advantage of their Northern counterparts during the referenced polls.
For Jega’s INEC hoax promises of “free, fair and credible polls” to hold water, its PVCs distributed in the Northeast and the Northwest zones should be forensically and thoroughly investigated. We suspect strongly and un-apologetically that the so called “12, 794, 880 PVCs” distributed in the Northwest zone and “6, 678, 148 PVCs” distributed in the troubled Northeast zone as at January 27, 2015; are not in the right hands. We also suspect deeply that the number of registered voters allocated to these two zones is bogus and untenable. That the totality of PVCs distributed in the two zones under reference comprising 13 States (19, 473, 028) far out-numbers those of the entire South comprising 17 States (16, 996, 840) is shocking and deeply disbelieving. That the PVCs distributed in war-stricken Northeast (6, 678, 148) is much higher than those distributed in the Southwest (6, 403, 534) and South-south (6, 214, 977) is a shocker of 2015 served on Nigerians by Jega’s INEC.
Finally, we wish to further observe that the INEC’s hoax promises under reference have been dealt a fatal blow by recent announcement of the European Union Election Observers to the effect that they will not monitor polls in the Northeast zone for security reasons. The express implication of this is that “there may most likely be free for all electoral manipulations” in the area using Emirs and District Heads’ palaces and Mosques following thickened desperation to return presidency to the North.
Of all the so called “accredited domestic and foreign poll observers”, only the EU Poll Observers are credible and acceptable to us. The experiences gathered from the governorship poll of November 2013 in Anambra State, Southeast Nigeria showed that greater number of the so called “domestic poll observers” in Nigeria are hugely operating according to the whims and caprices of mainstream “Southwest Political Engineers”, even till date. The so called “continental and sub-continental poll observers” are still not in tune with universal best practices in matters of poll monitoring, observation and report.
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program