INEC, DSS Colluding to Shortchange Osun Electorate By Erasmus Ikhide
There are many symptoms that manifest the breakdown of the Nigerian state. They are in form of status arrogance; repressive grandstanding, peddling of falsehoods, corruption, undemocratic militarization of the political space, insecurity and electoral heist.
Some of these major symptoms are either spiritually exorcism or through practical policy redemption. Now, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and its minders are primarily saddled with the task of rescuing Nigeria state. There is no doubt that the electoral body is incumbent with the responsibility as the crux of our democratic nations.
Prof Attahiru Jega and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has some questions to answer. The electoral body has to explain to Nigerians concretely – and we reserve the right to know – how true or otherwise the allegations that Ekiti State Gubernatorial election of June 21 was photo-chronically rigged in favour of the PDP. It has to explain to Nigerians that the August 9th gubernatorial election in Osun will not be sullen by unwanted crises of militarization, votes buying, and incredibly supersonic rigging through pre-thumb-printed ballot papers.
It seems that the issue of militarizing election in Nigeria has become a tradition and has been permanently shoved down Nigerians throats by President Goodluck Jonathan’s Presidency. The people of Osun woke up a few days ago to encounter armed and dreadful looking masked men of the Department of Security Services, DSS, shooting sporadically into the air. This show of force should be demonstrated in Sambisa forest where Chibok girls have been held over the last four months. The power-besotted Presidency has one thing in mind: intimidation and muffling of the people of Osun’s voices comes August 9th.
There is corollary to the deployment of these unwashed security predators. Prof Jega has argues that the only way to achieve free and acceptably credible election is the militarisation of Osun State; just the same way Ekiti electorate and opposition party loyalists were hounded and brutally repressed and assaulted by the security apparatus, prior, during and after the June 21 governorship election.
Prof Jega’s argument is simply clear – but ultimately convinces himself and his paymasters. His argument fails to address two major flaws that are basically the ethos of democracy. First, INEC refuses to consider the sheer number of people who will stay at home and be disenfranchised on August 9th than to allowed themselves to be treated like common criminals for trying to exercise their civic rights as citizens of Nigeria.
Without further argument, it is the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP that will be profiting from a militarised Osun election. Being the government at the centre, which is largely ascribed – and practicably so – as the owner of security apparatus in the country, it stands a chance of reaping from that thoroughly misapplied security forces.
This show of force was missing when the DSS was almost completely routed in the Boko Haram jail break attempt a few months ago in Aso Rock in a gun battle that last for several hours. It took the military intervention to restore normalcy to the abode of the DSS on that fateful. The security apparatus must not be used as political tools to achieve predetermined political gains.
We have seen the bizarre and unprofessional conduct to which the military and other security agencies were put to during the Ekiti governorship election. This accounts for why the Osun state’s chapter of the PDP is the most vehement in collusion with INEC to repeat Ekiti military invasion in Osun.
The second flaws in the Prof Jega’s argument of military incursion in Osun is that they will screen out political violence and forestall probable insurrection in the invent that victory is swinged in favour of their preferred and PDP candidate. Of course, it would be naive not to think that the PDP, Presidency and INEC would want a free and credible election in Osun. The rigging of Osun State election is part of the larger agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan to wrestle South West from the All Progressives Congress, APC. The calculation is that, once governor Rauf Aregbesola is out of the way as the emblematic symbol and militant personage of the APC, the 2015 election would be a jolly ride for President Goodluck Jonathan.
There are few questions for the INEC to actually ponder about: Is it true that the ink used by INEC during voting was not an indelible ink as provided for by the Electoral Law? Is it true that vanishing ink was used in all the polling units across Ekiti State? Is it true that the Ballot papers used were photo-chronic and thermo chronic, and glossy in nature and as such they could not retain ink beyond the programmed time?
Were the “photo chronic” and “thermo chronic” ballot papers already programmed to favour the PDP candidate used in the Ekiti election? Were there instructions to the Presiding officers in all the Polling units throughout the Local Government Areas in Ekiti State to carefully and strategically fold the Ballot paper into two, vertically, to activate the concealed and programmed thumbprint impressions on the Ballot papers?
The extremely respectable Ekiti people who are the unfortunate victims of PDP’s unprecedented electoral debacle are yet to come off it. Though, it happened in Zimbabwe’s 2013 Presidential election where election of that year was photo-chronically rigged. The Ekiti election of 21, June 2014, was clearly a test-run of what is to come in both Osun State and the general elections of 2015. It still remains a mystery that a sitting, performing governor – Fayemi who outperformed all Ekiti governors, dead or alive – not winning a single Local Government area.
INEC seemingly got away with the photo-chronically rigged Ekiti election because the U.S embassy in Nigeria, have commended INEC for conducting what they call a transparent election in Ekiti in the face of odious military intimidation and other scientific rigging. The U.S jumps to this conclusion because it is used to barefaced elections riggers who snatch ballot box, visitation of mayhem and murder which were obviously not the case this time round in Ekiti.
There is no election since the beginning of the present Fourth Republic that the PDP did not rig. In 2007, the governorship election and the rerun which the Appeal Court held were both criminally stolen by the PDP in Ekiti, is a case in point.
Who can be certain that the transfer of Osun State Resident Electoral Commission a few weeks to the election was not meant to pave the way for another with Omisore’s insistence, and INEC’s subsequent acquiescence, in the transfer of the state’s Resident Commissioner?
This is one reason INEC must prove to Nigerians that the use of indelible ink in the Osun election as specifically stipulated by the Electoral Law has not been jettisoned. Osun electorate and Nigerians must hold INEC accountable to prove that it didn’t use the alleged photo-chronic in Ekiti State and not about to using it in Osun election.
There would be no excuse in State of Osun, as regards with “Stomach Infrastructure” for a governor who puts in place welfare scheme for the elderly in the state, paying N10,000 to the Osun elders; who have employed over 40,000 youths through O’YES, Osun Youths Empowerment Schemes from which the Federal Government adopted its YESSO programme.
No Osun citizenry can deny the fact that Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has not positively touched the lives of the very ordinary people through the numerous initiatives that were aimed at restoring Osun back from its ruins. There is no way Osun people would suddenly forget Ogbeni’s universally celebrated school feeding programme; the over three thousand women whom he employed to prepare the highly nutritious meals for the school children, the fertilizers and farm inputs which the APC Administration has subsidized to the tone of N6 billion in the last three and a half years and several other empowerment schemes of the governor.
Osun people have seen the PDP for what exactly it is: an ensemble of political desperados and power mongers who would stop at nothing to win elections. This has been demonstrated by the distribution of kerosene and expired 2.5kg bag of rice in some parts of the state. The people of Osun are united on their part to continues development. No about of stolen money and bags of rice can change that, comes August 9th.
Erasmus Ikhide wrote in from Lagos, Nigeria
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