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Why INEC should investigate multiple registrations in Osun

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AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Sir: Nigerians will again go to the polls on Saturday, February 16, 2019 to decide their President and National Assembly members for the next four years as stipulated in the Constitution of the Federal Republic 1999 (as amended).

The sovereignty of the Nigerian people, which encapsulates the superiority of choice of ordinary Nigerians over all principalities whether political, economic, social or geographical, is again, clearly expressed through the ballot papers.

Elections have over the centuries become a celebration of the democratic rights of the people across the world. Elections mark the celebration of successful democracy through the universal adult suffrage whereby every woman or man who has attained the age of majority exercise their rights to choose leaders that would run the affairs of their society.

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Already, the red and green chambers of Nigeria’s National Assembly have considered and passed the Electoral Act, which stipulates how elections should be conducted across the country. In furtherance of this, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) have mobilised men, materials and resources to ensure that elections hold peacefully and lawfully.

Various political parties have, through their mobilisation efforts, ensured that they engaged in voter outreaches that brought in many voters into the voting registers across the 36 states of the federation. There are still areas where improvement are desirable so that all Nigerians of voting age can get involved in the process of choosing who their leaders at all levels would be.

What we have today with INEC is a lot of improvement upon what used to be. For this development, INEC must be commended as an enduring partner in Nigeria’s fledgling democracy. It is for these reasons that Nigerians have an improved level of confidence to choose the ballots rather than bullets for the love of their country.

The Osun Governorship election has come and gone. Certain findings have compelled pointing the attention of Nigerians to some fallouts of the September 22, 2018 gubernatorial poll. The All Progressives Congress (APC) set up a team of inspectors to carry out indepth investigations of the voting pattern in the 30 local government areas so as to determine how Osun voters behaved in the process.

The outcome was not only revealing, they were also unsettling that it has become imperative to bring the developments to the notice of the Nigerian public.

Investigators went through the registered voters in the 332 wards in Osun, which comprises 3,010 Polling Units (PUs). It was puzzling to find out that 2,411 voters engaged in multiple registrations. The investigators also found out that 2,402 voters registered twice while nine voters registered thrice.

The implications of these showed that no fewer than 2,402 persons may have cast a total number of 4,804 votes while the nine persons that registered thrice may have pulled a total number of 36 votes.

The nine local government council areas where the nine persons were discovered to have registered thrice are Atakunmosa West (three persons), Ayedaade (two), Ede North (one), Ilesa East (one), Ife North (one), Oriade (one), Ede South (one), Olorunda (one) and Ife Central (one). This is a clear criminal offence and those who engaged in the act must be brought to book.

The implication of the above is that 4,840 votes may have accrued from this criminal act in altering the outcome of the last gubernatorial election and possibly to the benefit of its instigators.

Section 117(1)(c) of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended) provides that “Any person who presents himself to be or does any act whereby is by whatever name or description howsoever, included in the register of voters for a constituency in which he is not entitled to be registered or causes himself to be registered in more than one registration or revision centre…commits an offence and liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N1,000,000 or 12 months imprisonment or to both.”

These criminal acts of multiple registrations by criminal elements also featured same names, different names, same faces, different faces and with same or different gender statuses.

Adetunji Aremu, a political analyst, wrote from Osogbo, Osun State.


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