Connect with us

Politics

2019 Polls: The Allegations And Realities

Published

on

Accusations and counter-accusations after an election have no doubt become the hallmark of Nigerian politics. In most cases, the loser does more of the accusations, while the winner eulogizes the process leading to his/her success, even when there are glaring cases of misnomers.
In fact, but for President Goodluck Jonathan, who conceded defeat in 2015 to Muhammadu Buhari, it is difficult to name any other person who lost an election, organised by the country’s electoral umpire and accepted the results in Nigeria. It has become normal, so much that even when there is good reason for the loser to feel cheated and hence aggrieved, he is widely seen as following the band wagon.
Unfortunately, this stance has become a major Achilles’ heel of Nigerian politics, one that has, election after election, either bemusedly present-ed those who say all is well in the face of clear unwell as the real destroyers of the country’s yearnings for democracy, or made the losers (who are tagged mere complainers) as troublemakers.
Ironically, this aspect of the country’s politics is the part that makes each subsequent election stand out on its own. In the history of Nigerian politics, for instance, critics will always point to 2003 as the period when politics of gunrunning found its way into Nigerian politics. Since then, the situation has only been as good or bad as the focus of the sitting president, and in the interpretation of the interest of the one talking.
Worthy of note is the fact that at each point, most of those who dish out these bitter experiences, or receive same, have either been direct or indirect key players when it started, or supported it as the norm they came into play, even when they may have known at some point that it wasn’t right for the polity.
The difference between political gunrunning when it started and now is that while in the beginning the key players were civilians whose briefs was to protect the interest of their principals, currently those commandeering with the aid of the gun are trained military personnel who have sworn to protect the interests of the people.
The result is that while those who are on the receiving end of the alleged excesses of the military, which, like in the Abonnema experience of February 23, 2019 Presidential and National Assembly elections, allegedly claimed over 50 lives at the end of the day, those who it has favoured see it as their time to shine. This is all there is to the allegations and counter allegations over the 2019 elections.
In the midst of all this, however, there is the need to think out of the box, if one would truly want to be seen as being patriotic, as most of the key players claim to be, about what Nigeria has been thus far as a Republic, and what it should be in terms of development.
When viewed from the perspectives of the realities as they emerge, which come up almost as frequent as the brains of those who concoct their works, and placed side-by-side with what the leadership claims to be focused on for the good of society, it becomes very easy to clearly separate the real allegations, the reality of it, and the ideality of the situation which everybody seem to lay claim to.
What could perhaps be regarded as one of the first allegations of the 2019 Nigeria’s general elections occurred in Rivers State in Ikwerre and Emohua Local Government Areas (LGAs): The Returning Officers of both LGAs alleged military invasion, intimidation, molestation and carting away of collation materials, as the case may be, hence there was no result to declare at the LGA collation centers.
The reality of the allegations is that it does not change the fact that from the point of the polling units, where results are first declared, up to the Wards level, agents of political parties and virtually all concerned and their cronies have direct access to the real figures of each result.
On the other hand, ideally, whether the results were delivered at the LGA Collation Centers or not, it will be easy to get the results in bits from the Units or Wards and still arrive at the correct result, in perhaps slightly adjustable time, if the electoral umpire had worked out enough contingency plans as backups, and also earned the trust of the voters.
Even when such contingencies may not have been foreseen, if after the killings in Abonnema and the collation disruptions in other areas, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could ignore them and announce the Presidential and National Assembly elections, what else could stop elections in areas where voting had successfully taken place in a peaceful atmosphere, counted at the Units and Wards, only to be disrupted at the LGA?
But for that it shows the reality that INEC is less concerned (or interested) about getting genuine election results, and so places more attention on getting any result from persons other than the ones they officially appointed to get the results from, the Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC can hardly have genuine reason to let the one characterised by fatalities go, and stamp its feet on a better option.
In its second interim report on the Governor-ship and State House of Assembly elections of March 9, 2019, the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) said in part that, “The political parties had a field day inducing voters with money, food items, soaps and various other items to vote for their partie’s candidates. These acts of inducement right before security agents within the voting precincts have the propensity to destroy the citizens’ confidence in the entire election process.
“There were several reports of electoral violence from all over the country. Party thugs and hoodlums had a field day invading voting centers to snatch polling materials, destroy voting materials, harass, molest and intimidate voters and, in some instances, INEC officials”.
The report, credited to the Chairman of the NBA Election Working Group, Afam Asigwe, stated that, “Surprising in most places where these dreadful acts were recorded or reported, security agents were either complicit or indifferent”.
The Chief Observer of the European Union Observation Mission to Nigeria, Maria Arena, summed up when she said,” Observers, includ-ing EU observers, were denied access to collation centres in Rivers, apparently by military personnel. This lack of access for observers compromises transpa-rency and trust in the process.
“In Rivers, INEC suspended until further notice the elections due to violence in polling units and collation centers, staff being taken hostage and election materials, including results sheets, seized or destroyed by unauthorised persons.
“There is no doubt that the electoral process there was severely compro-mised.”
While these allegations have not been able to encourage INEC and the Federal Government to take deliberate steps in ensuring that the military is only involved in securing the environment for peaceful elections, it only proves the reality that as far as these elections are concerned, the military has been given the power to do everything they deem fit, including taking as many lives as they can, even in a non-war situation.
Another key reality is the phrase, “people dressed in Army uniforms”, used to describe Army personnel who are blamed for carrying out all the stated allegations before and during the 2019 elections. While these allegations are sometimes backed by video footages, the military seem to be unperturbed, as it seems with the Federal Government too. With each subsequent denial of the allegations, it seems to be business as usual.
In all of these (and many more), all key players claim ideality: they want the people to see them as saints; people who are doing everything for the interest of the country; that they are the best thing to happen to the people, even when they do not have the least regard for the people, by their actions.
Leadership seem to forget in a hurry that by its actions and inactions, it has done a pretty good job doing in a more grievous manner what it had professed against just about four years ago. The APC-led Government seems only to be bent on improving on the same things it allegedly fought against, and for which it got the people’s Presidential mandate in 2015.

Soibi Max-Alalibo

Continue Reading

Politics

Group Condemns Call For Jonathan’s Suspension

Published

on

A political pressure group, the Niger Delta Youth Coalition (NDYC), has condemned calls by some stalwarts of PDP for suspension of the former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan for hosting the newly elected Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon David Lyon of the APC.
National Coordinator of NDYC, Prince Emmanuel Ogba, who reacted to the call for Jonathan’s suspension, Wednesday in Port Harcourt said what the former President did does not amount to anti-party activity because by his position, Jonathan is a father to Bayelsa State.
“ We in NDYC think that the former President should rather be applauded for openly embracing the new governor irrespective of the political party he belongs to.
“ As a former governor of the state and President of the country, we expect Jonathan to restrict himself to advisory and fatherly roles not only to Bayelsa State but in Nigeria at large.
“Those calling for his suspension based on anti-party activity are myopic and should grow up. Such myopic views are the things dragging us backward politically”.
Ogba rather commended former President Goodluck Jonathan for setting the right precedence for Nigerian politicians to follow, stressing that politics should be played with the spirit of sportsmanship.
According to the group leader, Nigerian politicians should emulate Jonathan’s open way and large heart in politics and shun the ‘winner takes it all syndrome’.
“ Are those calling for the suspension of Jonathan suggesting that he should have chased the new governor and his team away from his house as former Governor and President in the name of PDP?” he queried.
He noted that Seriake Dickson as governor did not take full advantage of the presence and advice of Jonathan and should naturally be allowed to face the consequences of his actions and inactions.
He said what happened in Bayelsa in the last governorship election is healthy for the nation’s politics and a big lesson for other sitting Governors who according to him, are behaving as if they have conquered their states and therefore could take the people for granted.

 

By: Chris Oluoh

Continue Reading

Politics

…As PDP Denies Rift With Ex-President

Published

on

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says it has nothing against former President Goodluck Jonathan over the just concluded Bayelsa governorship election.
PDP National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan disclosed this in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday after a meeting of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) in Abuja.
There were reports in the media that Jonathan may be sanctioned by the party following the defeat of PDP by All Progressives Congress (APC), at the November16, governorship election in Bayelsa State.
Ologbondiyan said that the issue of Jonathan was not part of matters discussed at the NWC meeting.
“The issue of former President Goodluck Jonathan did not come up at the meeting and it was not discussed.
“You must know about the procedure and processes in our party. If we do not have a report or an issue before us, we cannot delve into.
“As we speak now, we do not have any matter concerning Jonathan before us in the party,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that the only issue discussed at the meeting was the November 16 election in Kogi and Bayelsa, of which the National Chairman, Mr Uche Secondus would formally address the press on the party’s position yesterday.
“We have taken a decision to go to court long before but beyond that, we are going to take other measures which the national chairman will disclose.
“We have not done a post mortem of the election. We have only weighed the circumstances that surrounded the election.
“We have also looked at the global condemnation of the election. We have reviewed the role of INEC and the role played by security agencies. Formally, the party will come up with a position,” he said.

Continue Reading

Politics

Ayade Presents N1.1trn Budget For 2020 

Published

on

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State yesterday presented a budget of N1.1trillion for 2020 to the State House of Assembly.
The budget, tagged “Budget of Olimpotic Meristemasis”, has a capital expenditure of N911 billion representing 82.8 per cent and a recurrent expenditure of N188 billion, representing 17.2 per cent.
While explaining that meristemasis is the active cell that stimulates growth in a young plant, which in this case represented the state, he pointed out that, “the budget will catalyse into existence a great opportunity for the state to put all hands and legs on the pedal.”
He said the decision to set aside 82.8 per cent of the budget for capital expenditure, was indicative of government commitment that will continue to reduce recurrent expenditure and focus on capital expenditure.
On the sectoral breakdown, Ayade disclosed that the health sector has an allocation of N44 billion, education N38 billion, New City Development N35 billion while agriculture was allocated N22 billion and social housing N12 billion, among others.
The governor announced that his administration would sustain its current tax policy with adjustment.
“All low income people like civil servants earning below N100,000 will be exempted from tax.
“Small scale businesses like barbing saloon, hair dressing and others are hereby exempted from taxation,” he said.
He also abolished daily levy of between N500 and N1000 by taxis in the state, noting that they will now pay N2000 only every month.
“We must come to the understanding that indeed any state whose budget is driven by envelope size is limited in vision.
“There are two ways in business and public sector management that you place your budget. It is either that your budget comes as an expression of your envelope size or as an expression of your ambition.
“The prosperity agenda set for this state does not allow me the opportunity of an envelope budgeting,” he said.

Continue Reading

Trending