✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters

Edo 2016: Lessons for INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) finally put an end to its run of inconclusive elections by declaring the All Progressives Congress (APC) winners of…

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) finally put an end to its run of inconclusive elections by declaring the All Progressives Congress (APC) winners of the Edo State governorship elections. Of course the polls were not unblemished. Five out of the 19 candidates who contested the elections called for cancellation of the result insisting that the figures INEC declared and displayed on national television were at complete variance with those which their agents obtained from polling units. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Pastor Ize Iyamu rejected the result accusing INEC officials of conspiring with APC and Edo State government officials to rewrite figures. He clams this was done overnight when collation was inexplicably suspended. Although the PDP agent refused to sign the result sheet according to INEC this doesn’t invalidate the result. 
There was unnecessary tension in the lead up to voting and fears of post-election violence were heightened as allegations of intention to rig were widespread. The dubious role of security agencies didn’t help either. INEC was placed squarely in the firing line when voting was postponed at the eleventh hour through no fault of their own. Security Chiefs appear unwilling to respect the sanctity of INEC timetables and are unacceptably establishing precedents that elections can be postponed willy-nilly on their whims at massive irrecoverable cost to the nation. INEC needs to clearly spell out the role of security agents during elections because they did exactly as they pleased. While some acted properly by confiscating arms and dangerous weapons form party thugs, rescuing election observers who were being threatened, stopping vote buying and preventing monetary inducement, others attached to political appointees acted improperly by doing the bidding of their “ogas” , snatching ballot boxes and generally causing a breakdown of law and order.
In Ekpoma a member of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) was attacked for voter inducement, in Uromi soldiers were imported to terrorise voters, and in GRA Benin gunshots were fired to scare away voters and ensure result cancellation while security agents reportedly looked on passively. In spite of all the blemishes and INEC’s shortcomings the heavens didn’t fall when a result was announced. There were of course sponsored orchestrated sporadic and ineffective “spontaneous” protests. A video showing the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) candidate Mr Osaro Onaiwu tearing up ballot papers went viral on the internet. Mercifully INEC has learnt that actions such as these born out of the bitterness of defeat should not be allowed to derail elections. It’s vital that the prosecution of electoral offenders is taken more seriously.
There is really no excuse for politicians to create public disturbances when they lose elections. Everyone contestant must be ready to lose and only irresponsible people try to incite passions and sponsor disturbance of the peace by uncouth, ineloquent individuals and refuse to accept the result when it doesn’t favour them. But in all truthfulness all those familiar with the Edo political terrain even jubilant APC supporters find the election results hard to swallow. INEC’s preparedness to cancel results at polling booths has given rise to allegations of a new type of rigging. The method involves creating a breakdown of law and order in your opponent’s stronghold to ensure that the results in those polling booths are cancelled. Behind closed doors the general belief is that the PDP master riggers were rigged out!  Rest assured that the last has not been heard of this matter but no matter INEC’s failings and the defects in the electoral system objectors are expected to proceed to Court rather than foment trouble. 
There are several precedents for overturning governorship election results. According to INEC the outgoing Edo State Governor Comrade Oshiomhole lost his election. Rather than instigate violence he became Governor by proving his case in the Courts. Generally speaking those who resort to street protests do so because they know they have no valid court case and to his credit Pastor Ize Iyamu told his supporters to eschew violence and street protests. The calm atmosphere after the announcement of results was due to both an overwhelming security presence. Also thankfully for INEC there is a general desire for peaceful elections indicative of a maturing electorate less ready to foment trouble on behalf of politicians. Increasingly confusion and disturbances of the peace are only caused by those hired for the job. 
Although the election was a vast improvement on previous performances INEC had to admit that the high number of cancelled votes, the continued malfunctioning of card readers and the costs of overwhelming security presence represent great challenges yet to be overcome.. Although INEC must be commended for ending the time wasting process of finishing all accreditation before voting can commence they must still try to make the whole voting system less expensive and less inconvenient to the general public. As the Ondo State governorship election looms INEC should know that in order to ensure they are beyond reproach cancellation of results is minimized, result collation is continuous, and both security agents and returning officers live up to expectations. 

Are you currently earning in Naira but need salary/earnings in Dollars? You have an opportunity to earn as much as $10,000 (₦9.2 million naira) monthly. Click here to get evidence.

%d bloggers like this: