PRELUDE TO EVERY ELECTION conducted by Nigeria’s present leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, there were promises of “adequate preparations by INEC” and “adequate security” by Nigerian police, to ensure “free, fair and credible elections”. INEC and the Nigerian police, would always, give most positive, flattering promises and assurances before each election.
In execution of the elections, the opposite were the outcome. With disingenuous and unacceptable results that would not pass for best practices. Every election conducted by the present INEC, in Nigeria, since 2015, degenerated. Worse than the INEC and electoral process former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration left behind.
The latest, and still fresh in minds of Nigerians and international elections observers, were Bayelsa State governorship election, south-south, Nigeria, and Kogi State governorship election, north-center, Nigeria. Both elections, deflated, if any remaining, the ego and credibility of Nigeria’s electoral body, INEC, and the Nigerian police, in their engagements in Nigeria’s electoral process.
Bayelsa and Kogi states governorship elections were described, variously, by political observers as mock of electoral process in a democracy. Some observers said, in Kogi’s case, that it was a commando exercise, which resulted in gruesome killings. Nigerian police are yet to fish out the criminal elements, that turned the governorship election in Kogi state to battle field. INEC, on its part, parades Kogi state governorship election results as “free, fair and credible”.
While condemnations trailed, what observers, see as fraudulent governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi state, President Buhari, and the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, congratulated winners – who were the party’s candidates. The losers were asked to go to court. It was ironic that governorship elections in a democracy, were hijacked by political subterfuge, through the GUNS.
PRESIDENT BUHARI MET INEC CHAIRMAN, Mahmood Yakubu, and POLICE CHIEF, Mohammed Adamu, Tuesday, at presidential villa, Abuja, and directed them to ensure the will of Nigerians are respected by ensuring free, fair and credible elections, schedule for 2020. INEC will conduct 28 elections reruns in January 2020, across the country. The Police Chief, will provide adequate security during the elections.
Femi Adesina, the president’s Media Adviser, statement, said security agencies were warned not to interfere with the electoral process. “Those that you declare as winners must be the candidates that the people have chosen. Democracy is about free will, and the will of the people must be allowed to prevail.”
“Get your acts right, and leave no room for underhand tricks or manipulation. Our elections must be done in violence-free atmosphere. The process must be free, fair, decent, devoid of intimidation or malpractices. It is the duty of the police to accomplish that, and it is what I expect in the elections immediately ahead, and going forward,” Adesina quoted the president to have said.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, INEC Chairman, Yakubu said the commission has fixed January 25, for the conduct of court-ordered reruns. That the electoral body is ready for 28 outstanding elections, spread across 11 state of Nigeria. Inspector-General of Police, Adamu, on his part, said arrangements were in place to deter acts of violence during the elections.
Similar pledges were made by INEC and the Police Chief in past elections in the country. But outcome of elections, conducted by the present administration, after 2015, general elections, were woeful, ridiculous and embarrassing to Nigeria. How President Buhari’s present directives to INEC Chief and Police Chief would be heeded, remains to be seen.