INEC declares PDP Winner of Zamfara election

BREAKING: INEC declares PDP Winner of Zamfara election

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP as the winner of the governorship election held in Zamfara state.

INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, made the announcement during a press conference in Abuja on Saturday.

He also said the PDP won in all elective positions in the state.

He said this followed the supreme court decision sacking all candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the general election.

The Supreme Court on Friday declared that the APC had no candidates in the 2019 general elections in Zamfara state.

The five-member panel of justices, in a unanimous judgment on Friday, held that the party in the state failed to conduct primaries in accordance with the party rules.

In the lead judgment by Justice Paul Adamu Galinji, the apex court held that all votes cast for the APC as “wasted votes” and declared that all political parties with the second highest votes in the elections and the required spread, are elected to the various elections.

Atiku lied! Documents show he paid $30, 000 to US lobbyist firm

EXCLUSIVE: Documents show Atiku paid $30,000 to US firm

Taiwo Adebulu

Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), paid $30,000 to Fein & DelValle PLLC, a US firm, TheCable can report.

The PDP presidential candidate sought the services of the company in his bid to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP) had reported how Atiku hired Bruce Fein, a former official of the US justice department, and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC, in March.

In its terms and conditions for representation, Fein & DelValle PLLC had said it would establish and operate a situation room located in its capitol hill offices in the US and enlist the services of Lloyd Ukwu, a Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant of Atiku, to assist in the operation of the situation room.

The firm also proposed to execute strategies to secure the US endorsement of Atiku’s efforts to defeat what it called “flagrant violence and irregularities orchestrated” by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Buhari to compromise the presidential election.

Twenty-four hours after the report was published, Atiku denied paying money to US consultants in his bid to dislodge Buhari, his main rival in the February 23 election.

In a statement issued on his behalf by Paul Ibe, his media aide, the former vice-president, described the reports that he paid $30,000 as “a total fabrication”.

He blamed it on the APC which he said had resorted to using “fake news to divert public attention from the historic electoral heist they have committed against Nigerians”.

“Former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar dismisses as total fabrication the latest allegation instigated by the Buhari campaign that he spent $30,000 to hire a US lobby group to persuade the US Congress to stop the inauguration of President Buhari,” the statement read.

“The APC are behaving nervously like a thief living under the fear of being exposed and shamed. No amount of diversionary propaganda and fake news campaign by APC will stop Atiku Abubakar from continuing the court action he started to reclaim the stolen mandate.”

But documents seen by TheCable showed that Atiku paid the money to the firm two days after signing a 90-day contract (April 1,2019, to July 1, 2019). He signed the contract on March 24 and paid the money on March 26.

The amount was budgeted for costs and expenses for the 90-day period. In addition, the agreement was for Atiku to separately pay all pre-approved international travels, business class.

According to a document received by the United States’ department of justice foreign agents’ registration act (FARA), with registration number 6654, on April 2, Fein & DelValle, PLLC, registered as a foreign agent for Atiku and the PDP on March 20.

The registration statement which confirmed that Atiku paid $30,000 t0 Fein & DelValle PLLC

FARA is a disclosure statute that requires persons acting as agents of foreign principals in a political or quasi-political capacity to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities.

The firm said it received $30,000 from Atiku on March 26, which was confirmed in item 9(a) under the financial information clause of the registration statement.

In item 9(b), the firm made it clear that it did not receive any other thing of value other than money from Atiku.

The lobbyist firm, a registered and active corporate law firm in the US, stated that the agreement with Atiku is in a formal written document.

Atiku’s spokesman had not responded to inquiries from TheCable as of the time this report was filed.

Credit: TheCable

Atiku pays US lobbyist $30,000 to recognise him as ‘authentic president’ of Nigeria

Failed Nigerian presidential candidate lobbying US to recognize him as ‘authentic President’

By Raymond Arke

Enlisting the assistance of two high-powered Washington, D.C. lawyers, a Nigerian presidential candidate is looking for help in his legal challenge after his election loss. Atiku Abubakar, former vice president of Nigeria, lost in the country’s February presidential election to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. However, Abubakar swiftly filed a legal suit challenging the election results due to allegations of voting irregularities and violence.

Abubakar has ties to those in Trump’s orbit, having hired political consultants like Riva Levinson, who worked with Paul Manafort, and Brian Ballard, a major Trump fundraiser. Like many other foreign leaders looking to bolster their standing with Trump, Abubakar stayed at the Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C.

Abubakar joins opposition politicians like Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó in turning to lobbyists to garner American support. According to a FARA filings accessed using the Center for Responsive Politics’ Foreign Lobby Watch, on March 24, former Justice Department official Bruce Fein and his firm Fein & DelValle PLLC registered as foreign agents on Abubakar’s behalf.

Fein, the associate deputy attorney general in Ronald Reagan’s administration and general counsel to the FCC, played a significant role in the repeal of the FCC’s “Fairness Doctrine.” He also later worked with then-Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) in drafting articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton.

Joining Fein in the effort is his partner at the firm, W. Bruce DelValle, who according to an online biography has a varied background tackling civil rights and constitutional law issues, litigating intellectual property and liability disputes, along with representing a number of sports and entertainment personalities.

The agreement notes that Lloyd Ukwu, who is described as “a Nigerian barrister and trusted confidant [of Abubakar],” is assisting “in the operations of the U.S. Situation Room.” Ukwu is a critic of Buhari and is the founder of a group called We the People of Nigeria which claims to be an advocate for “free and fair elections.” Ukwu recently led a delegation to meet with a variety of government officials in the State Department, Congress and “delivered a letter to the [acting] United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, in New York to ensure the success of the Nigerian elections.”

According to the filing, Fein will be paid $30,000 over a 90-day contract to provide “legal, consultancy and public advocacy services to encourage Congress and the Executive” to wait on recognizing a winner of the Nigerian election until after the legal challenge is “impartially and independently resolved.”

Another filing lays out how the influence campaign will be conducted. Lobbyists will meet with members of Congress and their staff to persuade them to pass resolutions in the House and Senate “to forebear from a final declaration and recognition of a winner” until after Abubakar’s appeals are decided fairly and independently. Additionally, the firm will “draft articles and op-ed pieces” about the issues surrounding the Nigerian election and appear on television and other media programs.

In the contract, Fein’s firm is explicit in promising to “obtain official recognition that you are the authentic President of Nigeria based on an accurate counting of legal ballots.” The goal of the effort is straightforwardly described as “to convince the United States that your presidency would open a fresh and new chapter in Nigerian politics.”

The filing also asserts that the lobbying effort will demonstrate that an Abubakar presidency is “the will of the People.” It warns that if Abubakar is denied a victory, problems like genocide, poverty, corruption and strife will “undoubtedly continue.”

Abubakar himself has a rocky legal history. A Senate subcommittee report on foreign corruption cited Abubakar as a case study regarding his transfer of millions of dollars into the U.S. through shell companies. He was never prosecuted. In 2009, the FBI alleged that Abubakar demanded bribes from former Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who was convicted of corruption charges. At one point, Jefferson stored $90,000 in cash for Abubakar in his freezer.

The U.S. has long had close relations with Nigeria and is the country’s largest foreign investor. American troops work alongside the Nigerian military in an international effort against the Boko Haram terrorist organization. Additionally, the incumbent Buhari visited the White House and met with President Trump in 2018.

Fein did not respond to a request for comment.

Courtesy www.opensecret.sorg

Several ‘flaws’ identified in Atiku’s presidential election ‘server result’

Several ‘flaws’ identified in Atiku’s presidential election ‘server result’

Atiku Abubakar

Abdulaziz Abdulaziz
The computation of presidential election results filed before the elections petition tribunal by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, shows that all accredited votes cast in 33 states of the federation were shared between him and President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mr Buhari was declared the winner for a second term of four years with 15,191,847 votes to defeat Mr Abubakar who polled 11,262,978 votes. The two got lion share of the 27,324,583 valid votes recorded in the election.

Over 1.2 million votes were also voided in the course of the election.

However, excerpts of court filings published by PREMIUM TIMES give Mr Abubakar’s state by state breakdown of votes which, he claims, placed him ahead of Mr Buhari with 18,356,732 against the incumbent’s 16,741,430 votes. The result is exclusive of figures from Rivers State.

The Flaws
Mr Abubakar’s purported result implies that no invalid votes were recorded in the 33 states, and none of the 71 other presidential candidates obtained any score.

In three states; Abia, Bauchi and Cross River, the documents show that the two candidates collectively got votes higher than the number of accredited voters.

Mr Abubakar claims that he obtained the results from the server of the electoral commission, INEC.

The document is included in the petition filed by Mr Abubakar in a suit seeking his declaration as the validly elected president.

The purported result shows that Mr Abubakar defeated the incumbent president by a margin of 1.6 million votes.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has dismissed the alleged figures as a product of the opposition’s “hallucination.”

Mr Buhari’s campaign later accused Mr Abubakar and the PDP of gaining illegal access to the INEC server.

An analysis of the alleged INEC server result by PREMIUM TIMES show that the figures given as total accredited voters in at least 33 of the 36 states and the capital, Abuja, show a clean sweep of the entire figures between the two major candidates.

A different result
Contrary to Mr Abubakar’s computation, INEC’s official result obtained from the electoral commission’s website show that all the 73 candidates who participated in the election scored some votes.

The result showed that 71 other candidates in the election shared the remnants of 869,758 valid votes collated.

The person who came a distant third in the election, Felix Nicholas, of the Peoples Coalition Party (PCP) scored a total of 110,196 votes.

He was followed by Obadiah Mailafia of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) who polled 97.874.

Gbor Terwase of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) clinched the fifth position with 66,851 votes.

Candidates with least scores are Angela Johnson of Alliance for a United Nigeria (AUN) with 1,092, Abah Elaigwu of Change Advocacy Party (CAP) with 1,111 and Edosomwon Johnson of the Nigeria Democratic Congress Party (NDCP) with 1,192 votes.

The Atiku result
In Mr Abubakar’s home state of Adamawa, where INEC officially declared Mr Abubakar winner with 412,266 against Mr Buhari’s 377,488, Mr Abubakar claims that he got 646,080 out of the total 815,680 accredited voters with Mr Buhari scoring 161,600. The result show only the two got all the possible votes.

In Akwa Ibom, Messrs Abubakar and Buhari, according to the computation, received all the votes by the 925,370 accredited voters with Mr Abubakar polling 587,431 votes ahead of Mr Buhari’s 337,939.

It is another clean sweep in Enugu as Mr Abubakar claimed that the state’s 965,940 accredited voters gave him 698,119 as against 267,821 for Mr Buhari.

The 1,169,303 voters accredited in Sokoto State, according to the purported result, all shared their votes between Mr Abubakar (552,172) and Mr Buhari (617,131).

Mr Abubakar’s 442,380 votes allegedly polled in Taraba and Mr Buhari’s 188,389 votes put together represent 630,769 total accredited votes for the state.

Yobe’s 750,745 accredited votes, Mr Abubakar claims, were shared in total between him and Mr Buhari who got 443,904 against Mr Abubakar’s 306,841

In Zamfara, the result shows that total accredited votes of 792,796 were shared between Messrs Abubakar and Buhari with the former having 379,022 while the latter got 413,774.

Irregularities?
Aside the exactitude between summation of figures for the two candidates and the number of accredited voters, there are other issues that are either arithmetic errors or over voting.

In Abia, for example, 853,050 were recorded as “accredited voters (actual)” but the sum of the votes allotted to Messrs Abubakar and Buhari alone, outshot the accredited voters by 10,000.

Mr Abubakar, according to the result, polled 664,659 while Mr Buhari obtained 198,391.

It is a similar case in Bauchi, where the total for Messrs Abubakar and Buhari’s purported votes outnumber total accredited voters by 287 votes.

Mr Abubakar claims 187,668 votes a far cry from 854,037 the document said Mr Buhari obtained. The summation comes to 1,041,705 while the document gives the total accredited voters as 1,041,418.

In Cross River, the document shows that votes obtained by the two leading candidates amount to 691,640 which is higher than the 690,890 accredited voters’ figure by a total of 750 votes.

Tribunal Continues Sitting
The presidential election petition tribunal has continued to hear Mr Abubakar’s petition against Mr Buhari’s victory.

On Monday, the tribunal granted Mr Abubakar and the PDP the permission to serve the petition on Mr Buhari and the APC through substituted means.

State Registered Voters Accredited Voters (Actual) Atiku Abubakar Muhammadu Buhari
ABIA 1932892 853050 664659 198391
ADAMAWA 1973083 815680 646080 169600
AKWA IBOM 2119727 925370 587431 337939
ANAMBRA 2447996 1157378 823668 333710
BAUCHI 2462843 1041418 187668 854037
BAYELSA 923182 466264 332618 133646
BENUE 2480131 670252 529970 140282
BORNO 2315956 1131496 281897 849599
CROSS RIVER 1527289 690890 572970 118670
DELTA 2845274 877572 778369 99203
EBONYI 1459933 857608 565762 291846
EDO 2210534 1212781 677937 534844
EKITI 909967 373263 154032 219231
ENUGU 1944016 965940 698119 267821
FCT 1344856 786151 419724 366427
GOMBE 1394393 799302 684077 115225
IMO 2272293 909428 485627 423801
JIGAWA 2111106 1084753 539522 545231
KADUNA 3932492 1430145 961143 469002
KANO 5457747 2068140 522889 1545251
KATSINA 3230230 1715836 160203 1555633
KEBBI 1806231 1074456 493341 581115
KOGI 1646350 935787 504308 431479
KWARA 1406457 732816 353173 379643
LAGOS 6570291 2526203 1103297 1422906
NASARAWA 1617786 726691 344421 382270
NIGER 2390035 1080526 576308 504218
OGUN 2375003 920198 438099 482099
ONDO 1822346 818215 451779 366436
OSUN 1680498 685033 337359 347674
OYO 2934107 1000608 527873 472735
PLATEAU 2480455 421299 273031 148268
RIVERS 3215273 ******** ********* *********
SOKOTO 1903166 1169303 552172 617131
TARABA 1777105 630769 442380 188389
YOBE 1365913 750745 306841 443904
ZAMFARA 1717128 792796 379022 413774
TOTAL 84004084 35098162 18356732 16741430

Credit: Premium Times

Right of Reply to Pendulum: Open Letter to the VP

Right of Reply to Pendulum: Open Letter to the VP

By Laolu Akande

My dear Bob Dee!

One could have easily made up his mind not to read or respond to anything you wrote after seeing the rather unprincipled queuing up behind Senator Bukola Saraki and then abandoning him, moving on to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and then deserting him as well.

But I felt one should respond to your attempts to create a false narrative from the very hollow lamentation of the recent elections as the “worst in our history”.

In my view, those like your good self, veteran journalists, who have built a formidable platform in the public arena must strive always to use the platform for the larger public good. There have been several interventions from you that reflect such true public spirit, but some of us stridently disagree with what at times could be perceived as a self-serving journalistic conduct. Many would seem to agree that this was obvious in your recent open letter to the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

But first, let me thank you for your gracious words of congratulations to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Vice President, and your admiration for the VP’s commendable performance in office. I am certain that your quest for public accountability derives from that admiration.

It is important to state that a citizen’s open letter to public figures or government authority is always welcome here and not necessarily a matter of right or exclusive access. For us, such matters of access for the people to their elected leaders is of normal cause and ought not to be a matter of exclusivity nor should we make a play of it as so special.

As is typical of your propaganda machinery, it begins with an outrageous lie by the principal then the operatives like yourself repeat it ad naseum. It appears you were not in this country when foreign and local observers accepted the results.Independent Foreign Observers commended the transparency and credibility of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Also, the Independent ElectionMonitor group, supported by the French Embassy, concluded that “based on the analysis carried out in this document as well as the actual observations of the election activities across the country, it is Election Monitor’s considered opinion that the 2019 Presidential Election results are consistent with the will of the majority of voters who took part in the elections notwithstanding the various infractions which also occurred as they were not on a scale significant enough to affect the overall outcome of the election.(http://electionmonitorng.blogspot.com/2019/03/analysis-of-2019-nigerian-presidential.html)

YIAGA Africa’s Parrallel Voting Tabulation, relied on by international agencies, embassies and funders also said its “findings show that for the presidential election the All Progressive Congress (APC) should receive between 50.0 per cent and 55.8 per cent of the vote.” And that “the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) should receive between 41.2 per cent and 47.0 per cent of the vote; these figures are consistent with the official results as just announced by INEC.

“For both APC and PDP, the official results fall within the PVT estimated ranges.” That YIAGA AFRICA results statement was based on reports from 1,491 polling units which are 98.4 per cent of sampled polling units. YIAGA AFRICA’s projections were reportedly also consistent with the officially announced vote shares for the other 71 parties who contested in the presidential election. It is also believed that the group’s projections were based on the results announced in the polling units and would have detected any significant manipulation occurring during collation at the ward, local government area, State and national levels. Also, “INEC’s official results for turnout and rejected ballots were also generally consistent with YIAGA AFRICA WTV estimates.” (https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/02/yiaga-africa-verifies-election-results/)

These are empirical facts, my dear Bob Dee, especially if you your analysis through any rigorous tests. Propaganda and falsehood only need a willing sponsor.

Yes, observers mentioned pockets of violence and some malpractices, but none felt that these were sufficient to affect the credibility of the elections or its results. Frequently cited is Ago Palace in Lagos. One unit in a city of 20 million! In any event, the real question is, how did the violence in the comparatively few places where it happened favour the President? And how come the strong allegations of foul play by the likes of Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom, George Akume in Benue and Ndoma-Egba in Cross Rivers State (all APC Senatorial aspirants!) escaped your eagle eyes?

It is sometimes forgotten, and Bob Dee , you chose to forget, that for the previous 16 years before 2015, the PDP governments had conducted elections. Everyone is familiar with the incredible excesses of the elections and the election-observer reports so poignantly describe some.

In the 2003 elections which gave Atiku Abubakar and his boss a second term, Wikipedia observes that “Millions of people voted several times. The police in Lagos uncovered an electoral fraud, finding five million false ballots.”

But the 2007 elections got even worse reviews: “Following the presidential election, groups monitoring the election gave it a dismal assessment. Chief European Union observer Max van den Berg reported that the handling of the polls had “fallen far short” of basic international standards, and that “the process cannot be considered to be credible”, citing “poor election organisation, lack of transparency, significant evidence of fraud, voter disenfranchisement, violence and bias.”

They described the election as “the worst they had ever seen anywhere in the world”, with “rampant vote rigging, violence, theft of ballot boxes and intimidation”).One group of observers said that at one polling station in Yenagoa, in the oil-rich South-South, where 500 people were registered to vote, more than 2,000 votes were counted.”

Your choice of words such as “theatre of war” to describe the presidential polls is not only inaccurate and questionable by and large, but also surprising considering the recent history of past presidential polls. And you have to tell us who described the elections as “the most dreadful and desperate”?

Besides this facts that you carefully chose to ignore, the contents of your letter read in part like a brief for the opposition, and, at other times, a judgment of an electoral tribunal in favour of the opposition. And such bias undermines the credibility of the author such as yourself.

It could even render the write-up confusing rather than informing the readers. For good measure, Bob Dee, maybe we should just remind our readers that not only are you an active member of the opposition, you have also benefited from significant business relationships with some in the opposition circles. And this is entirely within your right.

But that certainly discounts your assessment about the direction of our administration. It also devalues your criticism of the narratives that hold those who raped this country in the past responsible for the consequences of their corrupt activities while in government.

One also wonders whether it is your well-known personal relationship with the opposition that has beclouded you so much that you seek to assail the anti-corruption efforts which ordinary and well-meaning Nigerians have embraced.

Let me make it clear that the facts show that while some old members of the opposition have joined APC, that has not shielded those responsible for corruption and graft. In any case, even if old PDP members are now APC members, the current leadership of the country under the APC stands out as it is made up of two gentlemen with impeccable integrity.

Old PDP members and all Nigerians are welcome just like sinners are embraced in the church, Inf act, the church was opened for sinners to be converted. And what is skewed about the anti-corruption campaign when the two governors who have now been convicted for corruption are both APC?

Having said that, be rest assured that the APC as a party will articulate its defences to any allegations. For the records, it is an obvious fact and this must be reiterated that the Buhari administration has a commendable record of respecting the independence of INEC, a clear departure from what occurred under previous administrations. This government also ensures that it provides all the support INEC requires, as well as respects the independence of the judiciary and has ensured that security forces act within the ambits of law. Even international observers have made their comments accordingly and positively.

As the Buhari administration always noted, every single loss of life is sad and lamentable. And previous elections have regrettably caused even far more losses. We must achieve an electoral system that doesn’t result in any such loss of life. However, the record of improvement from the past is clear as it were.

To characterize the will of the people as Pyrrhic victory represents what exactly needs to change in and about our nation. Indeed, our privilege as elites imposes the responsibility of trustees of power, wealth, values and direction of and for a nation in the interest of the people upon us. To narrow this interest or substitute our amplified voices as the vocal minority for the silent majority is not only taking liberties a little too far, but also losing tune and touch with our national realities. As leaders, we must reflect introspectively on how we have prioritized the people, and how we must continue to do so going forward.

This is what President Muhammadu Buhari is known for and it is what played out in the elections. It is the voices of the few and the devices of the privileged that the Opposition regarded and expected to hold up. That did not happen.

We respect the right to disagree and exercise that right through the established mechanisms, but we reject any denigration and the diminishing of the electoral outcome which is the true voice and expression of the people of this country.

As you noted, the whole concept of sin in the worldly context is a violation of the law of the land, and in the spiritual context, a violation against God. That you judge either as a matter of law, or ecclesiastically when you by yourself determine that this administration is “committing sin” is a departure from what your letter identifies as its objective. Victory in an election is a nation speaking up, while the victor is the symbol of that nation’s victory.

Both life, by its temporal nature, and the Constitution, by its term limitations and periodic elections, already ensure that we all know that everything but eternity is transient, and the example of that in our nation today is the rejection of the old order four years ago, and the most recent confirmation of that rejection by preferring the new and current order, and the Next Level of our national restoration and growth.

Finally, thank you for declaring your belief that the APC “would have won” a handsome victory because that was exactly what happened! It is your equivocation about Atiku’s loss expressed in the same letter where you said you expected an APC “handsome victory” that left me and other readers confounded. What are we to believe?

Again, thank you for your open letter. Be rest assured that the Vice President and the President would continue working for the good of all Nigerians in the Next Level.

Pride goeth before destruction

Pride goeth before destruction

Governor Abiola’ Ajimobi of Oyo State

The old saying admonishing against pride remains as true as ever. At least, the 2019 Nigerian general elections have ensured that. More remarkably, even though garbed in biblical language, the admonition is meant to serve entire traditional worshippers, even atheists and of course public figures.

Otherwise, only inability or unwillingness to abide by that caution or even deliberate disregard of that self-discipline could account for the electoral setbacks of the state governors humiliated by voters in the 2019 elections. Ironically, their disgrace was avoidable. In any genuinely democratic setting, the arrangement is such for incumbents to serve their tenure as guaranteed, in fact, limited by the Constitution, and allow voters to choose whoever is preferred next. Somehow, the illegality of violating that same arrangement has, over the years, been institutionalised by state governors. It is tempting to absolve these political culprits (state governors) of any blame. But such view will be nothing less than unnecessary pampering. A criminal cannot escape punishment or at least guilt, even though origin of crime(s) dates back to the creation of human beings.

If only the state governors humiliated by voters in the 2019 elections had not been power-drunk, theirs, today, would have been such glory and public acclamation of enviable proportions. Instead, the governors concerned opted for the discredited pattern. That legacy was a carry-over from former President Olusegun Obasanjo who, in 2007, in an act of petulance for woefully failing in the attempt to perpetuate himself in office, deliberately blocked all willing contestants and, instead, unlawfully chose his successor, all aimed at subtle continuation of his authority in governance.

Within a short time, that subtlety became too overbearing for late President Umaru Yar’Adua who had to put a stop to Obasanjo’s insatiable demand for his cohorts, apart from trying to run the government for Yar’Adua, who unfortunately died in office, from causes totally unrelated to his disagreement with Obasanjo. No matter how erstwhile Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan might be happy that Obasanjo virtually catapulted him to office as a successor to Yar’Adua, the same Jonathan was soon to taste of Obasanjo’s indirect command of anybody in Aso Rock.

It was also with that idea that Obasanjo cleverly threw his weight behind candidate Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 against “rebellious and ungrateful” Jonathan. And when Buhari won (in 2015) on the combined merit of his person and his party, the APC, Obasanjo resorted to type by sending two of his cohorts to deliver to Buhari some kind of policy directive. This would have been followed by a list of his potential appointees into government jobs. Buhari’s outright rebuff of Obasanjo’s attempt to commandeer his (Buhari’s) administration was the only cause of Obasanjo’s political hostility, which led to his call on Buhari to quit after one term. It was a gamble, which (has now) exposed the hollowness of Obasanjo’s widely presumed electoral influence anywhere in Nigeria.

The damage done to Nigerian politics by Obasanjo is not only trying to choose his successors or trying to run administrations for them as they came, was not lost on state governors who, since 2007, similarly imposed their individual successors to ensure their (outgone governors’) continued dominance on their imposed successors. Mostly, it never worked out. From one state to another, the newly imposed governor eventually alienated his benefactor of yesterday by, among others in extreme cases, exposing the financial infractions of their predecessors.

Whatever might, therefore, be the intention of some state governors humiliated in the 2019 elections, the situation in Imo State was grotesque. It is, by the way, arguable if any Nigerian can occupy a political office for eight consecutive years without getting controversial. Even then, Imo’s outgoing governor Rochas Okorocha did not help himself. Indeed, no matter how well he might have performed, Okorocha’s actions and utterances in the past six months were not complimentary. And nobody around him bothered to draw his attention to such self-deprecating conduct? In the build-up to the primaries for APC governorship ticket in Imo State, media reported Okorocha as saying he would never allow one of the aspirants (Ararume) to succeed him. That was wrong. It is not within the law or the power of a state governor to refuse a fellow citizen to succeed him. Only law courts or the electorate can exercise such veto against an aspirant, no matter his misdeeds.

To worsen matters, again according to unrelated media reports, outgoing governor Okorocha was to head for the Senate while his wife was set for the House of Representatives.

Except that Okorocha’s son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, eventually turned out to be an aspirant as a successor to Okorocha himself, such an arrangement sounded incredible. Okorocha himself should have known that South-East is too republican for such emerging monarchical hierarchy. In any case, when his party then intervened and organised open primary election to select his successor, Okorocha should have accepted the result, no matter how distasteful. Instead, Okorocha’s son-in-law stood on the platform of a rival party. Thereafter, Okorocha lost everything. Even his Senate election result now stands doubtful, courtesy INEC. All because of the pride of a state governor hell-bent on pursuing the future outside the control or outside the regulations of his party. What would it have mattered if APC won Imo governorship with the party’s candidate instead of Okorocha’s son-in-law? In view of APC’s defeat in the Imo governorship race, what are the prospects of Okorocha’s reconciliation with the party at national level or even state level? Sudden end to otherwise promising political career? In this row, Okorocha is so outmatched that only he can save himself. First, by lying low.

As speculated in this column, APC split its votes in Imo State while PDP fully consolidated their votes for the governor-elect, Emeka Ihedioha.

Outgoing Oyo State governor Abiola Ajimobi is particularly disappointing for how his political career has ended. He should have done better since, at least, he is educated, which does not mean others are illiterates. There is more to education than not being an illiterate. The value of education is the reasonableness it imparts on the recipient. Ajimobi is too exposed and urbane to have attracted, over the years, the vitriol and verbal venom unleashed at him by critics after his (Ajimobi’s) defeat in the senatorial election. Yet, there couldn’t have been two governor Ajimobis, except the one widely known.

The criticisms are too wounding and incredible. For public office holders, perhaps unconsciously, over the years, isolation sets in either because he is averse to advice/criticisms or those around him are too subservient to criticise unpopular decisions. Yes, inside government such criticisms are more effective, more instant and more preemptory. If Ajimobi did not avail himself of such checks, he is today paying for it. Political power or even ordinary authority is so ephemeral that only God is omnipotent. Human beings? He is a failure who does not create room for critical observations by subordinates.

Governor Ajimobi’s handling of the Olubadan/new kings crisis was very tactless as well advised in this column at the time. Centuries-old ethnic culture cannot be dismantled in total disregard of the concern of those to be affected. As minor as that might be, all such issues on traditional rulers in Yorubaland always left traces of bitterness such vindictively expressed against Ajimobi, leading to his defeat in the senatorial race and that of his nominee Adebayo Adelabu in the governorship battle.

Still needlessly, if days could roll back, Ajimobi would not have chanced himself to contest the senatorial race in 2019. What would Ajimobi have lost if he did not contest? Nothing, as it turned out. What would he have gained? Glory and statesmanship. Indeed, he would have earned public respect by allowing willing others to contest for the Senate, instead of even imposing a candidate. Ajimobi rather contested and lost. What humiliation. Now, he is sober and derelict. Ajimobi’s education should have saved him that pity. From the Senate, Ajimobi came, served as governor for eight years consecutively and was still determined to return to the Senate. This was not to be, except that he never believed. Now, he believes.

The least said about outgoing Ogun State governor Ibikunle Amosun, the better. That is merely on the surface. Otherwise, much must be said although briefly. Unlike many governors, Amosun has the advantage of being close to President Muhammadu Buhari since decades. Unfortunately, Amosun misused that edge even to embarrass Buhari himself.

As the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria elected on the platform of a political party, it was only normal for Buhari to be part of APC’s decision of open primaries in the selection of candidates for the 2019 elections. Instead, Amosun defied that decision and chose his own candidates for all the posts. He was particularly insistent, in strict adherence to Obasanjo theory, on single-handedly choosing his (Amosun’s) successor as governor.

To rub it in, Amosun openly declared that not only was he opposed to the party’s candidate as governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, but also that he (Amosun) would campaign against Dapo Abiodun. What was Buhari to do? To refuse Amosun entry to Aso Rock?

Taking undue advantage of unlimited access to the place, Amosun took his personal candidate on the platform of a rival party to Buhari at Aso Rock. To ridicule Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, an indigene of Ogun State supporting the party’s candidate, Dapo Abiodun.

Amidst his braggings and threats to campaign against Dapo Abiodun, the outgoing Ogun State governor (Amosun) was advised in this column that nobody dares Ijebu. Amosun did and suffered electoral humiliation as his candidate was defeated. God neither brags nor threatens as has been happening in Ogun State for the past four months.

Rather, God indulges the shortsighted and immodest to grope in the dark. Not even the declaration of spiritual war by an ex-gubernatorial aspirant could work. Dapo Abiodun won and nothing would happen to him except success and, imperatively, modesty.

Credit: The Sun

Inadequate understanding of “inconclusive” elections

Inadequate understanding of “inconclusive” elections

By Jibrin Ibrahim

#TrackNigeria: On Wednesday, a group of protesters under the platform of Save Nigeria Democracy Group (SNDG) went to INEC national headquarters to protest against too many inconclusive elections declared by the Commission. The protesters said the results from the just concluded elections “did not reflect the true voting direction of Nigerians.’’ They were seen carrying different placards with inscriptions such as “the people’s mandate cannot be stolen”, “Atiku will not congratulate Buhari”, “Prof. Yakubu must resign”, “inconclusive election is a shame”, “Atiku will get justice,” among many others. They argued that: “This latest show of desperation has further strengthened earlier concerns of widespread voter suppression, targeted violence, militarisation of the political space and systematic inflation of figures that punctuated the presidential and National Assembly elections.” They added that the Federal Government was: “muscling INEC and the nation’s security into turning blind eyes to obvious infractions and violations of the federal constitutional provisions and the Electoral Act and the regulations/guidelines regulating the 2019 general elections and went ahead to uphold and announce a tailored result that only serve the ruling APC.”

This narrative has existed long before the elections. In virtually daily news conferences and releases, the Peoples’ Democratic Party and its allies have consistently inundated the broadcast, print and social media about an alleged grand scheme to rig the elections. It is therefore not surprising that so many people today believe that the programmed design to rig the elections has been executed. I have been startled by many friends calling me and demanding that I confirm that the 2019 elections are the worse in Nigerian history; and I have consistently replied – certainly not. Then I get this strange response “but everyone says it’s the worse”, the assumption being there is something wrong with my limited understanding of Nigerian elections. In my world of social science, the fact that everyone asserts something does not make it true. As an observer of the elections, I did not see any evidence showing that there was a significant level of rigging and neither national nor international observers have reported such phenomena. Yes, there were lots of problems with the conduct of the elections, violence, logistics and YES, some rigging but we should assess things for what they are not what we suppose they should be. I am open to being shown evidence of massive electoral fraud being spoken about but so far, statements have remained at the level of assertions.

READ ALSO: PDP rejects Borno governorship election result
Also, on Wednesday, the House of Representatives, resolved to probe the “unwarranted, escalating trend of inconclusive elections in Nigeria, which has cast doubt on the neutrality of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an umpire in Nigeria’s elections.” The resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance on “the malady of inconclusive elections in Nigeria” by Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi), and seconded by Nnenna Ukeje (PDP, Abia). He asserted confidently that the frequent declaration of inconclusive elections by INEC, which was not envisaged in either the 1999 Constitution or the Electoral Act, has become a demon haunting the country’s electoral system. He lamented that the governorship elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto states were declared inconclusive despite leading candidates having met the provisions of Section 179(2) of the Constitution. That is the section that defined how a winner, who has a clear majority, emerges in an election. The irony is that elections are declared inconclusive precisely in cases where the candidate with the majority has not been clearly identified.

READ ALSO: Elections: 14 of 24 Zamfara Assembly members lose return bid
In the current elections, in 22 States, winners of governorship elections were announced. However, in the six states of Kano, Bauchi, Benue, Plateau, Adamawa and Sokoto, they were declared inconclusive for a number of reasons. These include the discontinuation of the use of Smart Card Readers midway into the elections or the failure to deploy them, over-voting and widespread disruption in many polling units. The reasons are therefore clearly related to electoral fraud and it is curious that correcting such activities to protect the integrity of the elections is being castigated. INEC uses the margin of lead principle to determine whether the clear majority has emerged. In cases where supplementary elections have to be organised because the difference between the two leading candidates could swing after the additional elections, it is simple justice that the supplementary elections are conducted and the definitive winner known before announcement of the results.

In the 2003 and 2007 elections there were no inconclusive elections because numbers were simply allocated to ruling party candidates and the vote of citizens did not count. The phenomenon of inconclusive elections started in 2011 when the integrity of elections started to improve. Remember in 2011 for example the results of the Anambra senatorial election in which Dora Akunyuli of APGA had 66,273 and Chris Ngige of ACN had 65,579 and the margin was 679 while there were 7,930 cancelled votes were declared inconclusive on the basis of Section 53 of 2010 Electoral Act as amended which deals with over voting and section 26 which deals with postponement due to threat of violence and other emergencies. It is dangerous anti-democratic propaganda to turn the tables and present the practice as fraud. It is also illogical to complain about which parties are affected, it is not a question of which party is affected but of what the numbers are when additional elections have to be conducted and the returning officer has done their math based on the margin of lead principle.

READ ALSO: Inconclusive polls: We’re satisfied with INEC’s decision – Bauchi APC
The number of inconclusive elections has grown because opposition parties have grown stronger and have become more competitive. In addition, the introduction of technology, especially use of the Smart Card Reader has been a real check on the old practice of the illegal allocation of votes, reducing the number of landslide results. One of the interesting things about the governorship elections is that the pattern of vote changed in certain states in relation to the presidential vote due to local political dynamics. When local dynamics are reflected in results, it’s a clear message that the votes of ordinary people are counting and both the Peoples’ Democratic Party and the All Progressives Party have good and bad stories to tell on the matter. It is widely known that those who seek to rig elections act on the principle of getting fraudulent results announced through any means and forcing the opponent to go and prove fraud in court, which we all know is very difficult. The approach of INEC since 2011 is not to rush to announce results when there are suspicions of fraud and organize supplementary elections to protect the integrity of the outcome. This trend should be understood for what it is – improving the integrity of elections and supported.

Credit: Daily Trust

INEC Declares APC’s Dapo Abiodun Ogun Governor-Elect

BREAKING: INEC Declares APC’s Dapo Abiodun Ogun Governor-Elect

Ogun State Governor-elect, Prince Dapo Abiodun

By Olayinka Olukoya, – Abeokuta

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ogun State, in the early hours of Monday,, declared the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Prince Dapo Abiodun,, as the winner of the March 9 governorship election.
The State Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, announced Abiodun as the state governor-elect, at the State Collation Centre of INEC at Magbon, Abeokuta,having polled 241,670 in the election.
Abiodun was closely followed by the APM candidate, Hon. Adekunle Akinlade who scored 222,153 votes.
The margin lead between the scores of APC and APM was 19,517.
The ADC candidate, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka polled 110,422 votes and won in Imeko-Afon and Egbado South local government areas while Prince Buruji Kashamu of PDP scored 70,290 votes and won only in his council area, Ijebu North.
In the breakdown analysis, APC won in 11 local government while APM won in six local government areas.
The APC candidate won in eight out of nine local government areas in Ogun East Senatorial District which include Ijebu East; Odogbolu; Ijebu North East; Ogunwaterside; Sagamu; Remo North; Ikenne and Ijebu-Ode.
He equally won in Abeokuta South; Odeda and Obafemi Owode council areas.
While Akinlade of the APM won in Ewekoro; Abeokuta North; Ado-Odo /Ota; Egbado South;Ipokia and Ifo local government areas.
The state had 2,375,003 as the total number of registered voters.
The total valid vote cast in the election according to Olayinka was put at 680,947 while 701,916 represented the total valid votes cast and 7100 as total cancelled votes.
The total number of rejected votes was 20,969.
Meanwhile, the State Caretaker Committee Chairman of APC, Chief Yemi Sanusi, said the victory of the party was expected because the people wanted a change.
He said, “Yesterday elections showed the wishes of the people. The turn out was very encouraging, everybody were ready to exercise their rights.
“The victory of the party is expected. If you look at the faces of the town for the past one year, people are really expecting a new person that will take over the government of APC, not that will take over from APC. What Buhari government is doing at the top, people are satisfied.”

Breakdown of governorship election result from the 20 LG areas
Ijebu-Ode LG

APC-13,234
APM-4,401
PDP-7,289
ADC-349
Winner -APC
Odogbolu LG
APC-12,529
APM-7,516
PDP-3,418
ADC-1,001
Winner -APC
Odeda LG
APC- 8,030
APM-6,454
PDP- 1,041
ADC-4,327
Winner -APC
Ijebu North-East LG
APC-7268
APM-2785
PDP-3482
ADC-541
Winner -APC
Ewekoro LG
APC-6,492
APM-7,588
PDP-1,418
ADC-3,241
Winner -APM
Sagamu LG
APC-23,737
APM-14,469
PDP-4,415
ADC-2486
Winner APC
Abeokuta South
APC-19,414
APM-18,767
PDP-1,770
ADC-13,572
Winner APC
Ijebu East LG
APC -10,726
APM-5,147
PDP-5296
ADC-574
Winner-APC
Ado-Odo /Ota
APC-24,838
APM-27,859
PDP-3575
ADC-12699
Winner -APM
Remo North LG
APC- 7,437
APM-4,987
PDP-930
ADC-947
Winner -APC
Ogunwaterside LG
APC-8757
APM-5803
PDP-3211
ADC-497
Winner -APC
Abeokuta North LG
APC-12, 130
APM-16, 780
PDP-951
ADC-10, 453
Winner APM
Imeko-Afon LG
APC-2657
APM-7401
PDP -529
ADC-15, 272
Winner ADC
Ikenne LG
APC-15, 109
APM-6, 553
PDP-1040
ADC-653
Winner APC
Egbado South LG
APC-8804
APM-13622
PDP-1721
ADC-9935
Winner APM
Egbado North LG
APC-7742
APM-12208
PDP-1590
ADC-17, 046
Winner ADC
IPOKIA LG
APC-12890
APM-26419
PDP-1846
ADC-3334
Winner APM
IJEBU NORTH LG
APC-10574
APM-7477
PDP-21851
ADC-1189
Winner PDP
IFO LG
APC-15642
APM-17614
PDP-2684
ADC-7260
Winner APM

Presidential Poll: A Post-mortem

Presidential Poll: A Post-mortem

By Simon-Kolawole, Email: simon.kolawole@thisdaylive.com, sms: 0805 500 1961

Since I have been old enough to follow presidential elections in Nigeria, I have to admit that I have never experienced the kind of gloomy mood that hit some sections of the country after the declaration of Presidential Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the February 23 poll. In the past, there would be spontaneous outbursts, demonstrations and riots by the aggrieved. This time around, the atmosphere was more like a funeral in certain places. Many looked severely bereaved. A friend of mine, an entrepreneur, was so distraught that he sent me a chat after the announcement of the final result: “Simon, where do we go from here?” I joked in response: “Canada.”

In my opinion, there were generally two categories of people that backed Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the presidential election. In one category are those who genuinely believe his presidency would be better for business in particular and Nigeria as a whole. They are convinced that Atiku has a better grasp of the economy, is more pan-Nigerian in outlook and can assemble a winning team — compared to Buhari. In the second category are those who feel persecuted and marginalised by Buhari and would be too glad to see his back. It is not so much that they all passionately believe in Atiku, just that Buhari is bad news to them 24/7.

I can identify two of the strongest responses to the outcome of the election in the pro-Atiku camp. One is that the poll was rigged. They maintain that if everything had run normally, Atiku would have won. Their grievances are well known: they think that the votes for Buhari were inflated in some northern states, that the security agencies terrorised Atiku’s supporters in some parts of the south and that state institutions worked actively for Buhari’s re-election. I would conclude that a good number of Atiku’s supporters are of the opinion that the election was rigged. Atiku himself has headed to the election petitions tribunal to challenge the outcome.

Some prominent Nigerians have asked Atiku not to go to court. The former vice-president has even been derided by some APC supporters on the social media for daring to challenge the outcome of the election. I take it that people are simply playing politics. We know how many opposition candidates became governors via court judgments when PDP was in power from 1999 to 2015, and I think it is most unfair to mock Atiku for choosing to exercise his democratic and constitutional right. As to whether or not he can win his case, why not wait for the courts to decide? Why pre-empt? It appears many of us still do not have the temperament for democracy in Nigeria.

The second strongest post-election response from the Pro-Atiku camp, which has been picked up and amplified by the international media, is that the results were reflective of the social strata and tendencies in the country. Infographs have been designed along this line of thinking: that the educated voted for Atiku and the uneducated preferred Buhari; that the lovers of prosperity chose Atiku and the lovers of poverty trooped out for Buhari; that earners of higher income were in love with Atiku and the wretched of the earth stood firmly by Buhari. I have seen maps being circulated to support this thinking. Many foreign journalists and analysts have bought fully into it.
Any student of statistics will tell you a guiding principle: that correlation is not the same thing as causation.

If PDP wins the 11 states in the south-east and south-south, it may have nothing to do with the levels of education, poverty, violence or income. It may just be that the PDP is still very strong in those states. It may have more to do with their political leanings and traditional voting patterns rather than an addiction to university degrees. I don’t know. I can’t say. But just sitting down in our living rooms and drawing conclusions from election data without a proper survey of the voters themselves might turn out to be unhelpful.

In the first place, you have to choose one argument. You have to either argue that Atiku won the election but it was rigged or that voters made the wrong choices by not preferring prosperity, which Atiku is said to represent, to poverty, of which Buhari is meant to be the poster boy — in the opinion of these analysts. If you believe the election was rigged, how can you go ahead to say Buhari won because the uneducated, unenlightened and wretched Nigerians voted for him? That would be contradictory. Also, you cannot argue that the wretched re-elected Buhari and still maintain that the election was rigged. You just have to pick one line of argument.

If we are to go by the educated vs uneducated parameter used by some analysts in their post-election commentaries, then we will end up confused. In the south-west, for instance, APC won four of the six states. Should we conclude that the majority of the south-westerners are illiterates and poverty-lovers for voting APC? In 2015, five south-west states voted APC. In 2011, five south-west states voted for PDP. Should we say south-westerners were educated and prosperity-loving in 2011 but became illiterates in 2015 and 2019? In states such as Benue and Oyo where votes were almost evenly split between PDP and APC, how do we separate the literate from the illiterate?

Correlation is definitely not causation. In 2011, the south-east gave 4,985,246 votes to PDP. The figure dropped to 2,464,906 in 2015 (when the PDP controlled all the instruments of power, including the security agencies). In 2019, the tally for PDP further dropped to 1,693,485. I do not want to believe the south-east has been falling in love with poverty and illiteracy since 2011. There may be another reason the voter turn-out has been dropping. Between 2011 and 2015, PDP lost a total of 2,520,340 votes in the south-east in the presidential election — even with a sitting PDP government at Aso Rock. We need to be more sophisticated in our thinking.

I am beginning to come to the conclusion that we only have some respect for democracy in Nigeria when the outcome of an election conforms to our bias. I remember when President Buhari lost to President Jonathan in 2011, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), which did not have any presence beyond the core northern states, kept insisting they won. In fact, CPC said there was a bug in INEC computers that was deducting Buhari’s votes. CPC questioned the results from the south-east and south-south, where Jonathan scored 97% of total votes cast. The reverse is not the case: PDP is questioning the results from the north-west and north-east.

What is the conclusion of the matter? Those who believe the 2019 presidential poll was rigged should stick to their position and support Atiku in his litigation. Nobody should say “it is a waste of time”. No litigation is ever a waste of time. Some improvements we have witnessed in our electoral system were influenced by previous legal experiences. For instance, the principle of “substantial compliance” came into being in 1979 when Chief Obafemi Awolowo mounted a legal challenge against Alhaji Shehu Shagari. It is relied upon by the courts till today. There is a reason our laws provide for post-election petitions. Atiku should be supported to exercise his options.

Those who cast the election as a battle between literacy and illiteracy should also stick to their story. They are inevitably saying the election was not rigged. They are only saying the outcome was reflective of the preference of the majority of voters, whom they consider to be illiterates and lovers of poverty. That means 15.1 million illiterates re-elected Buhari while 11.2 million professors voted for Atiku. This narrative is condescending, no doubt, and reinforces inherited prejudices and biases against certain sections of the country — but at least it represents the mindset of some analysts. My only problem with that is the abuse and misuse of statistics that readily comes with such a mindset.

However, when the emotions of the presidential election have cooled, I would advise the protagonists and antagonists to take a second look at the figures both retrospectively and introspectively. The APC should ask itself: is this really an endorsement of our performance or a mere benefit of the cult followership that Buhari enjoys in some parts of the country? Could we have turned out this performance if Buhari was not our presidential candidate? Should we gloat or keep our feet on the ground, knowing the enormous tasks ahead? Are there expectations from Nigerians tied to this victory? What do we owe to the millions who re-elected us into office?

The PDP, as the biggest opposition party, should also ask itself the critical questions: what did we not get right? Where did the rain begin to beat us? Did we overrate our chances? Was it just the incumbency factor that worked against us? Why has the voting trend for us in the south-east been on a downward spiral? How did we descend from the height of having 24 governors at some point in Nigeria’s history to having just 13 today? What did we do wrong? How can we rebuild faith with Nigerians? No doubt, we need a very strong opposition party in Nigeria. It is in the interest of our democracy. Going forward, therefore, the protagonists and antagonists need self-appraisal.

AND FOUR OTHER THINGS…
VOTER APATHY

From indications, voter turnout for Saturday’s governorship and house of assembly elections was lower than we saw in the February 23 presidential poll. Why? There would be many reasons. I think one of them is the sequence of elections. If I had my way, we would do state elections first and the presidential election last. That is a way of building momentum and generating interest in the elections. But I understand the politics of it all: if governors secure their own positions first, they may not work hard for the president two weeks later! That is why election sequence has always been a battle from the days of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Anti-climax.

MILITARISED ELECTIONS

Does anybody still remember when the All Progressives Congress (APC) used to kick against the deployment of soldiers for elections? The defence of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) then was that the deployment was necessary to secure the peace and avoid bloodshed. An APC lawmaker even went to court and won. Students of history should find it amusing that with APC now in control, the militarisation of elections has continued. There is always a reason to justify it: to safeguard lives and property and prevent violence, you know the rest. Give the average Nigerian politician state power and he is likely to use it the same way. It is the same difference. #APCPDP.

JUDICIAL PRIMARIES

Many of us have simplistic theories on why Nigeria remains backward in the comity of nations but we don’t need to be too hard on ourselves: it is just that we are not like any other people on earth. It is only in Nigeria that candidates of political parties are determined by the courts. The moment our politicians and lawyers figured out how they could use and abuse the laws of the land, it has become fashionable for them to engage the courts to play the role of political parties by determining who is a candidate and who is not. The courts are supposed to serve the cause of justice, we cannot deny that, but why must our own case in Nigeria be always upside down? Mystery.

AND FINALLY…

Election times can be very stressful and even life-threatening in Nigeria, but many people are making lemonade from the lemon. In affluent neighbourhoods, people set up canopies, play music and do barbeque while waiting to be accredited and while voting goes on. But you have to do a thumbs-up to the lively woman in Enugu, said to be a teacher, who came with a pillow and a mat to her polling unit during the presidential and national assembly elections. On Saturday, she turned up again for the governorship and house of assembly polls with more than a mat and a pillow: she brought Whot for a game of cards with fellow voters. Life is too short. Have fun. Chill.

Source: ThisDay

Big four, big fall

Big four, big fall

By Olukorede Yishau

Dr. Bukola Saraki. Godswill Akpabio. George Akume. Abiola Ajimobi. These four political leaders fell last weekend. Their bid to return to the National Assembly was thwarted by lesser known politicians. Saraki, Senate President and ex-Kwara State two-term governor, fell to Yahaya Oloriegbe. Akpabio was beaten hands down by Chris Ekpeyong, a former deputy governor to Obong Victor Attah. Akume, an ex-governor of Benue State and All Progressives Congress (APC) leader there, was defeated by Orker Jev. And Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo State Governor, lost to Kola Balogun —the younger brother of one of the new obas in Ibadan.

Saraki, Akpabio and Akume are sitting senators. Ajimobi was a senator before becoming governor and was cocksure he would become senator once more contrary to a prayer he once said that there was no position he craved again after leading Oyo.

Saraki’s fall is the loudest. He was the undisputed leader of Kwara politics – a position he hijacked from his father, the late Olusola Saraki, who was Senate Leader in the Second Republic. While Saraki was serving out his second term, his father wanted his younger sister, Gbemi, to succeed him. The younger Saraki would have none of it. He stood up to his father. So fierce was the battle that his father had to abandon the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for him and tried to install his daughter through a lesser known party. As it turned out, the younger Saraki triumphed by installing outgoing Governor AbdulFatai Ahmed. The political feud was settled thereafter. It, however, was not long after that the Second Republic Senate Leader joined his ancestors. But what was clear to all was that the son had displaced the father as the new strongman of Kwara politics.

As senator and later as senate president, everybody knew where power was in Kwara. Ahmed never failed to acknowledge Saraki as his leader. House of Assembly members knew who to pay allegiance to, and House of Representatives members worshipped the ground on which the ex-bank top gun walked.

Will Saraki spring a surprise in the governorship election by ensuring Razaq Atunwa, the PDP candidate, is elected to replace Ahmed? If this happens, it will be a major victory for him, but the omens are scary. The people of the state seem set to complete the enough is enough (o to gee) cycle.

Like Saraki, Akpabio was lord in Akwa Ibom. When he sneezed, many caught cold. But his fall began not long after he installed Udom Emmanuel as his successor. When the signs started showing, I wrote a piece titled Emmanuel’s Will on Friday, August 28, 2015. In it, I pointed out that Emmanuel was acting as though he was afraid of a fight with Akpabio. Aniekan Umanah, who was the Commissioner for Information at the time, was livid in his reply to me. In his rejoinder, he said it was “really appalling that one so often gets to read some gibberish in newspapers, all in the name of commentaries or opinion”.

He declared with a note of finality: “I will not allay Yishau’s fear about the strong camaraderie existing between the duo of Their Excellencies, Governor Emmanuel and former Governor Akpabio. They are not going to fight anytime soon or later as you wish. Indeed, for those who are waiting to be entertained with a fight by both leaders, they should prepare for a long wait.”

We certainly did not have to wait too much. Interestingly, when the fight broke open, Umanah was one of the first victims when he and other Akpabio men were eased out of government. Umanah re-aligned with time. He is now with Emmanuel. He won an House of Representatives seat on Saturday.

The uncommon governor, as Akpabio liked to address himself, has had an uncommon fall. We were expecting he would help President Muhammadu Buhari win Akwa Ibom. He could not help himself, not to talk of helping Buhari. He fell in an uncommon manner.

Akpabio’s fall has seemingly confirmed what his first deputy governor, Patrick Ekpotu, said last August. Ekpotu, in a statement, said his former boss’s influence was overrated.

Ekpotu, who was Commissioner for Information under Attah, said Akpabio’s defection was “long awaited”, and showed that he was incapable of operating within an opposition platform because of “his usual reliance on force of power apparatus”.

He said: “His recourse is often to rely heavily on apparatus of state security to cow people into submission and dominion. His decision to embrace the APC now, among others, is because APC is today the custodian of that state apparatus. And I think he is highly mistaken for misapprehending that President Buhari is cut out in the weaknesses of a former President that was recklessly used to his political peril and became the first to dump him.”

Ekpotu went on: “Even if Buhari avails him the security apparatus, remember that Akpabio is not used to elections, which is the norm today, but ‘return of entire number of votes’ in INEC register to himself.

“But With INEC’s card reader system today, hardly would we have such number of votes in consideration, let alone to be ‘returned’. So, all odds are against him and the APC.”

In that statement Ekpotu added that a shock awaited the former Senate Minority leader, saying: “A journey into that past rather evokes disdain and repugnance following its glaring shortcomings to which the people had long answered objections and cannot allow a replay, no matter where Akpabio derived his inspiration. I see, not just the PDP in the state, but also majority of its citizens playing this out strongly, stoutly, and committedly in days ahead.”

Akpabio, Ekpotu observed, is “surrounded by those who constantly drum to him the beauty of his weird world, he gets encouraged to live in delusion. He is fully conscious of these shortcomings, but rather than work to improve on them, pretends that all is well. And APC will soon know his true value.”

Now, the question is: is there any miracle Akpabio can still perform in the March 9 election to ensure that Emmanuel is replaced with Nsima Ekere? The omens are scary, really scary.

Akume, like Akpabio and Saraki, was governor. He was governor from 1999 to 2007, and has been in the Senate since then. He installed Samuel Ortom as Benue State governor. Some months back, Ortom dumped APC for PDP. Akume remained and vowed to deal with his estranged godson. In his heydays, anybody who wanted political power in Benue sought him out. I doubt if that will still play out with his fall to Jev. If not for Jev, he would have been in the Senate for the fourth time.

Ajimobi’s case is a bit different from the trio. As a sitting governor, many thought Ajimobi should easily win election in one senatorial district. But he lost and certainly life after May 29 will never be the same again. Even if APC wins the governorship, the pain of loss will have its political effect on Ajimobi, who may now have to battle Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu for the state’s ministerial slot.

Shittu and Ajimobi have never been on the same page. Shittu wanted to be governor, but was screened out by the national secretariat of the party for skipping National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). He became a minister despite Ajimobi’s objection. I see a major fight ahead of these two sworn enemies!

My final take: In politics, falling is not a sweet music, especially for giants such as Saraki, Akpabio, Akume and Ajimobi. Their fall is only sonorous in the ears of their opponents and adversaries. I urge them to be humble now that they are low, as advised by John Bunyan, so that they shall ever have God as guide.

Credit: The Nation