The 2015 Presidential Poll in Nigeria may have papery come and gone, but the wounds inflicted on different ethnic nationalities by masqueraded ethno-religious zealots wearing the gown of unbiased electoral umpire can never heal in a hurry. If extreme care is not taken, the wounds can transform into triggers, which in turn, can snowball into a new generational militancy and insurgency in the country including its oil rich zone. The injured and wounded ethnic nationalities remain the minorities of the Southern Nigeria, the minorities of the Northern Nigeria popularly called the Middle-Belt; the Christian minorities of the North, the pastoralist Igbos and the pastoralist minorities or Igbos and Southern minorities of the Southwest and the Northern residency; and the Igbo nation. Below is the public statement issued on 1st April 2015 by Mr. Asari Dokubo of the suspended Niger Delta Volunteers Force, on behalf of the Southern Minorities Self Determination Groups popularly called Niger Delta Militants. It is important to point out here that we are not a party to violence or insurrection in Nigeria or any part thereof, but fundamental issues Mr. Asari Dokubo raised other than threat of insurrection or violence, are very appealing to us.
“The election of Muhammadu Buhari as president is a clear indication that the country is not united. The Yoruba and Hausa collaborated to frustrate Jonathan, who hails from the Niger Delta region. Nigerian union clearly reinforces the fact of self determination and that Nigeria remains a very divided and separated entity whose claim to unity remains a fraud of gargantuan proportion. The celebrated victory of Buhari is not the victory of the people but victory of regional conspiracy and supremacy. The voting Pattern has clearly shown that the Gambari North and the Yorubas are united in the conquest of the Niger Deltans and the Igbos of defunct Biafra with the middle belt now used as pawns. The victory of Muhammadu Buhari is a historical reminder that we are a conquered people who are mere appendages existing at the pleasure of the supremacist and the regional overlords. We remain a people separated by our ideologies and interests; we are neither integrated nor reconciled.”
“The conditions that advanced the need to embrace the creeks have been sadly re energized, it is clear that a vicious government who may maim and murder the voice of the so called minorities may have just been birthed, “Indeed integration is nonexistent as regional gang ups and supremacy is symbolic with this victory. “While President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan enjoys his moments and bask in the euphoria of a now world renowned statesman having congratulated Muhammadu Buhari his conqueror, we must quickly remind that our struggle was never about Jonathan nor about presidency. President Goodluck Jonathan was an establishment beneficiary of our struggle, our sweat and blood that many bled and died for, he was never in the struggle and he can never wish away our collective march forward for statesmanship. Yes Indeed to an extent he was a mitigating factor in self determination pursuit as we went on sabbatical, this mitigation he seem to have willingly repudiated. “The days coming will be critical, we shall study all the conditions and consult widely before determining the way going forward for our collective existence and survival as a people. The days coming shall either drive the quest of integration or further separate us.” (Source: Asari Dokubo via Rex Ekiugbo Anighoro, his spokesman 1st April 2015).
How The Referenced Ethnic Nationalities Were Rigged Out:
1. The Boko Haram insurgency was remotely used to dissipate and devastate most, if not all minority Christian populations in the north; after which pastoralist Igbos and other Southern minority residents in the north were force to flee, abandoning their voters’ cards and voters’ rights.
2. INEC, while fashioning out voting alternatives for the politically oiled insurgency displaced populations; refused for political reasons to capture the fled voting ethnic citizens; instead it went on to capture only the IDPs of the Northeast population dominated by Muslims.
3. Millions of the referenced ethnic populations of voting age were technically not captured as registered voters by INEC through frustrating and disenchanting procedures; whereas in the north most of them were reportedly captured by proxies.
4.To shore up and muster enough population for the purpose of electoral majoritarian totalitarianism, INEC under Prof Attahiru Jega; allowed for massive under-age voters’ registration in the north and forbade same in the South leading to millions of them voting in about seven States in the north during the presidential poll.
5. The most glaring of the referenced ethno-religious cleansing and other demographic suppressive conducts was the way and manner the Permanent Voters’ Cards was distributed; whereby the insurgency stricken Northeast zone received the highest number of PVCs (7.7million out of 9.1 million registered voters); and whereby the number of PVCs in the Northwest alone surpassed the number in the South-south and the Southeast zones put together.
6. The lopsided PVCs distribution under reference also ensured that the North got over 8 million PVCs advantage over the South. It further ensured that most of the registered voters of the Igbos and Southern minorities living in the Southwest and the North as well as Northern tribal and Christian minorities of the Northern origin are denied PVCs by way of diversion, conversion, impersonation, defacing, hoarding, non-printing, non-issuance when requested, destruction and alleged official misplacement.
7.Most, if not all Hausa-Fulani registered voters were traced and issued PVCs; whereas in Lagos State over 2million registered voters dominated by non-indigenes were denied same.
8. Adamant refusal of Prof Jega’s INEC to allow 12.4 million registered voters the Commission registered to vote in the referenced poll, dominated by Southern Igbos and Minorities and their Northern counterparts the use of Temporary Voters’ Cards to vote during the presidential poll. The digitalization accreditation given by the Commission as its reason, woefully collapsed on poll day leading to reversion to manual accreditation and voting, with consequential denial of 12.4 million registered voters their voting rights.
9. Insistence on use of card readers during the poll in the South and their earliest relaxation in the North.
10. Late minute approval of use of manual accreditation in the South-south and the Southeast as a result of embarrassing failure of same during the electronic accreditation of President Goodluck Jonathan forcing him to stand for 35 minutes.
11.Drastic reduction in the number of the South-south and the Southeast PVCs voters owing to widespread card reader failure, late accreditation and voting.
12. Deliberate application of two different sets of voting accreditation rules in the South and the core North during the presidential poll. For instance, if all the card readers were configured in the same way and deployed for voting simultaneously across the country with their massive failure and delays that victimized the likes of President Jonathan, by failing to accredit him for 35 minutes; how come 2.5 million voters were accredited in Kano State in five hours? Were the card readers differently configured for the North and the South and were there extra manual voting accreditation put in place in the North? Who accredited millions of under-age voters found and filmed voting in the Northwest and the Northeast?
13. Of the 15 standing committees in INEC, its Chairman heads the three most sensitive and powerful committees of ICT and Voters’ Registration, Finance & General Purpose and Security.
Further, like we said earlier, Mr. Asari Dokubo has said it all. His strong allegation that the Fulani Prince of the Argungu Emirate at the headship of the electoral commission skewed the electoral process in favour of and presidential emergence of his or her fellow Fulani Prince of Daura Emirate, may not be far from the truth. Also what transpired at the National Collation Center in Abuja between Mr. Peter Godsday Orubebe of the PDP and the INEC’s headship, the refusal of the PDP to sign the Presidential Result Sheet and non extension of Presidential commendation to INEC in the Presidential broadcast are all a clear case in point.
In any science research and findings; whether natural or social science, empirical findings are not easily rebutted by another. It will take a counter research and findings before the former could be empirically rebutted. Our long conclusion to the effect that the 2015 presidential election is already rigged was derived from our in-depth research and investigation carried out as it concerns the state of the National Register of Voters managed by INEC as well as the geopolitical distribution of PVCs by the Commission. We also congregated and congregated widespread complaints from various social residency quarters across the country and established at the end that all is not well with INEC in its PVCs distribution and the entire National Voters’ Register midwifery.
The deaf ears turned by the Commission in respect of our several written representation re-enforced our suspicion and conclusion. The Federal Government, on its part, failed to compel the INEC to address the referenced anomalies on account of political naivety and unwary yielding to the propaganda of the opposition parties and their Southwest dominated CSOs cronies. Part of political naivety of the President was his warped calculation that the North particularly Muslims who are in possession of most of the PVCs courtesy of INEC and its headship; will vote for him in their large numbers. Little did he know that in Muslim world, no matter how friendly and development friendly a leader is towards them; so long as he or she is a non Muslim, he or she is regarded as an unbeliever. Only few exceptions apply such as where they have no candidate or where the presidency is rotational.
Finally, our condemnation of the 2015 presidential poll in Nigeria is not about who won and who lost. It is also not on account of the winner’s or the loser’s ethno-religious extraction. But it is solely predicated on our referenced in-depth investigation and findings, which clearly showed that INEC did not come clean. It is still our finding that there was dangerous importation of demographically ethno-religious cleansing; designed to intimidate and suppress other ethnic nationalities and forcefully return them to political slaves and second class citizenship in Nigeria.
In conducting elections like presidential election in multi-ethnic groupings like Nigeria, extreme care ought to have been taken by INEC by ensuring that all inclusive voters register management including voters’ registration, printing, issuance and distribution of voters’ cards is optimally de-segregated and escalated to all ethnic groups captured and registered to vote in the country. These INEC failed to do and if it has done them and a winner emerges; then there will be no cause for alarm. These explain why we held and still hold that INEC should be held responsible for any negative outcome of the 2015 Presidential Poll in Nigeria whether in short or long term.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Barr Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Barr Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program