MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has advised the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood to save the country from the danger and disaster about to happen following the massive objection to the irregularities associated with last Saturday’s Presidential and National Assembly elections across the states of the Federation.
In a letter personally signed by him on Monday titled “2023 Nigeria Presidential Election – An appeal for caution and rectification,” Obasanjo appealed to the INEC boss that “if his hands are clean,” he should save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster which is just waiting to happen adding that he should do the needful by rectifying “the errors of last two days – no BVAS, no result to be acceptable; and no upload through Server, no result to be acceptable.,”
The former President’s letter has become necessary in the light of the emerging ugly scenario wherein two major political parties, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) have called for the outright cancellation of the presidential election due to much irregularities, violence and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Acts with respect to the conduct of the election and transmission of results by the electoral umpire.
On Monday at the INEC result Collation Centre in Abuja, PDP, LP and some other parties’ representatives had walked out on the INEC officials led by the Commission’s Chairman, Mahmood for brazen display of abuse of process and what seemed to be a glaring collusion with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to distort the electoral process.
In his letter, Obasanjo had appreciated the effort of President Muhammadu Buhari to leave a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible elections but wondered how the whole preparations suddenly turned bizzare soon after the election.
“For the Independent National Electoral Commission, a lot of money was spent to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the Server for immediate transmission of results from polling units.
“It is no secret that INEC officials at operational level, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked, not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored.
“The Chairman of INEC may claim ignorance but he cannot fold his hands and do nothing when he knows that election process has been corrupted and most of the results that are brought outside BVAS and Server are not true reflection of the will of Nigerians who have made their individual choice.
“At this stage, we do not need wittingly or unwittingly to set this country on fire with the greed, irresponsibility and unpatriotic act of those who allegedly gave money to INEC officials for pervasion and those who collected the blood money.
Obasanjo pointed out to the INEC boss that “where BVAS and Servers have been manipulated or rendered inactive, such results must be declared void and inadmissible for election declaration. Chairman INEC, I have thought that you would use this opportunity to mend your reputation and character for posterity.”
To avert the looming danger in the country, Chief Obasanjo in his letter urged Buhari to intervene as tension is building up. “Please let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday March 4, 2023 and BVAS and Server officials be changed.”
The former president also suggested that “to know which stations on polling units were manipulated, let a Committee of INEC staff and representatives of the four major political parties with the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association look into what must be done to have hitch-free elections next Saturday.”
Mindful of the consequences of not arresting the current ugly development, Chief Obasanjo has some advice for Buhari saying, “Mr. President, please do not let anybody say to you that it does not matter or it is the problem of INEC. On no account should you be seen as part of the collusion or compromise. When the die is cast, it will be your problem and that of the nation,” he cautioned.