Following the controversial conclusion of the presidential poll last February 25 the gubernatorial election slated for this weekend had been postponed. According to the Independent National Electoral Commission National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu the postponement for one week became necessary because it needed time to reconfigure BIVAS machines which were used for the presidential election on February 25.
The embattled INEC National Chairman must be seeking desperately to get it right in the governorship election hence his decision to put forward the guber poll for one week. Deep down in his heart the Prof. knows too well that he had messed up the presidential poll by breaking the rules of engagement in the middle of the political game.
From all indications the Feb. 25 presidential poll did not reflect the will, wishes and aspirations of Nigerians who trooped out to vote but were disappointed by the failure of INEC to abide by its own rules. Now, litigations have followed the exercise which produced a crooked Lagos godfather as the ‘President-elect’.
INEC has had a storied history of hits and misses in the organization of general elections in Nigeria. Some Chairmen had left the job in infamy having compromised their national assignments. Others have had to retire with their heads held high, satisfied that they had done their very best.
During ‘Babacracy’ decades ago Maurice Mmaduakolam Iwu, a Professor of Pharmacognosy, was the INEC Chairman who made a name for himself for wrong reasons. Almost all the elections he supervised were marred by controversy, manipulated. With the then imperial President, Olusegun Obasanjo, in his best vindictive element, acting like the Lord of the Manor, encouraging him to render the electoral process opaque Iwu became a master in electoral subterfuge.
Prof. Iwu was good at fixing the electoral outcomes announcing winners as losers! For the man from Imo State the highest bidder got ‘elected’ or better still selected while those that worked hard enough to gain the confidence of the people were cheated out.
By hook or by crook ‘Baba’ OBJ, godfathers and godmothers et al, simply chose their candidates and Iwu was pressurized to validate the ‘votes’ sealing and delivering the ‘deals’. Obasanjo knew beforehand who would win and who would lose depending on his mood or the favoured candidates in his good book. Those who failed to kowtow to his soft dictatorship were sidelined electorally!
Where the then Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, failed to deliver by intimidation or harassment of opponents Iwu came in with his electoral abracadabra! Ribadu and Iwu were pawns in the hands of ‘Baba’.
But before Iwu came in and after his inglorious exit not all the INEC Chairmen had been found wanting for whatever reason. Before him we had Abel Guobadia and after him we had Prof. Attahiru Jega.
During Gen. Ibrahim Babangida’s despotism we had two Professors, Eme Awa and Humphrey Nwosu, in charge of INEC. But Professors Nwosu and Attahiru Jega distinguished themselves. They stand out among the lot for their integrity, professionalism and honour.
Prof. Nwosu, it would be recalled, organized the best presidential poll in the annals of our national history on June 12, 1993, a poll won convincingly by the late Basorun MKO Abiola. Despite the shenanigans of the late Arthur Nzeribe-led Association of Better Nigeria (ABN) and the midnight judicial pronouncements of Justice Bassey Ikpeme Prof. Nwosu stood his ground weathering the storm and overseeing a credible transparent election with the novel Option A4 system.
Prof. Jega organized the 2015 presidential poll that historically saw the then opposition leader (and now President) Muhammadu Buhari, beating the then incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, to become President.
Now, fast forward 2023. Enter Prof. Yakubu Mahmood. Yakubu was given all he needed, including millions of Dollars, to be able to organize a transparent digitally-assisted poll. He promised to deliver but failed woefully! He allegedly returned the loser as the winner in the wee hours of the morning!
We believe the whole truth may not have been exposed and told about the grand conspiracy and underhanded deal that accompanied the February 25th presidential poll. While the embattled INEC Chairman had acknowledged that there were irregularities during the poll he gave no damn about the consequences.
Only God knows the kind of ‘deal’ he must have struck with the Asiwaju APC gang prior to the polls! Here the late Anthony Anini (sorry, Anenih!) would be turning in his grave as we are confronted with another ‘Mr-fix-it’ more egregious and savvier than himself!
Between Prof. Yakubu and Prof. Iwu the organization of general elections have suddenly become a national crime aided and abetted by political criminals.
Prof. Yakubu would forever live in infamy in the event of the Tribunal or the Supreme Court overturning the verdict he reached.
For us, therefore, we hold without equivocation that Prof. Yakubu has demonstrated crass incompetence in the recently-held election. And he had shown his partisanship to the entire observing world audience. That is not how to be an impartial electoral umpire even in an indecent fantastically-corrupt society like ours.
Going forward, the controversial verdict reached by INEC returning Asiwaju Tinubu as the President-elect smacks of criminal professional fraud! And that singular act could throw Nigeria into turmoil. Prof. Mahmood may well consider throwing in the towel to preserve whatever is left of his professional integrity.
Leave a Reply