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What Nigeria must do about electoral commission

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Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission. PHOTO: Kola Sulaimon / AFP

The President of the Academic Staff Union of (Nigeria) Universities, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, attended a meeting of the Masquerade Team (May 29, 2019) and he was lamenting that, even “as Nigeria marks the second decade of the return to civilian rule, Nigerians still pay for darkness; our highways are unmotorable; education is comatose; healthcare system is nothing to write home about; and poverty, misery and preventable diseases are rampaging,” and so. “We shall insist that democracy without succour to the toiling and suffering mass of our people is worse than dictatorship;” therefore, “the struggle must continue.” I once wrote that even the so-called brutal era of General Sani Abacha was better than what Nigeria has been experiencing since 2009 when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua abused his presidential powers to attacked the Boko Haram Islamic sect-community of men, women and children that did not attack anybody until attacked and his deputy, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, took undue advantage of his death to truncate rotational presidency in 2011 and compounded the Boko Haram crisis.

The period of 2009 to 2015 has unfortunately turned out to be much better for Nigerians than 2015 till date under the President, General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) if only because he adds protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists to the unjustifiable war against Boko Haram. After taking all manners of steps, including creation of supporter-groups throughout Nigeria; having clandestine meetings with the Chairman of the so-called Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and with security chiefs, coupled with conspiracy against the forced to retire Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen and distributing money in some markets, as if to refugees, Buhari was declared the winner of the 2019 presidential election, rather than saying the election was “inconclusive”. Buhari and INEC have been dodging and creating obstacles on the way of the election petition tribunal: ten days in London; invitation for Umrah in Saudi Arabia, etc. Who said GMB is not Nigeria’s most treacherous and brutal President?

So, what type of national conversation on the electoral process is Yakubu talking about? Which is the rightful body to initiate reform of the election process; INEC or the Legislature? Can the Professor of Selective Inconclusive who shifted the date of the presidential election at the last moment because the atmosphere did not favour GMB be trusted to produce a reliable system? After the presidential election was postponed, someone close to Atiku Abubakar was quickly accused of dollar laundering to intensify maligning of Atiku; then more money was distributed in some markets, etc. Only God can judge someone who uses his or her teeth to share meat, and He will judge all those sinking Nigeria into carnage and economic annihilation, 2009 till date. How will INEC become free of partisan rulers? What did the Electoral Reform Committee of Justice Mohammed Uwais say on that?
Prof. Ọlọjẹẹde Oyeniran Abiọjẹ wrote from University of Ilorin.

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