Connect with us

News

Nigeria’s Electoral Woes

Published

on

Nigeria has learnt nothing from its long and chequered train of electoral woes. Nigeria has a very unusually queer habit of ignoring its historical antecedents and facing the future blindly having learnt nothing from her past mistakes.
The first major crises that nearly tore Western Nigeria into shreds with spillover effects to other parts of Nigeria was resultant from a mismanaged election. In fact apart from the 1993 Federal elections, Nigeria has not conducted any credible, free and fair elections. But instead of etching his name in letters of gold in the annals of Nigeria’s history, the then Head of State General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda cancelled the most successful and the most popular election in Africa and passed on the winner, Chief M.K.O Abiola to Gen. Sani Abacha to arrest, incarcerate and waste. General Babangida’s reason for cancelling the election then was that many of his top army Generals did not support the Presidency of Chief M.K.O Abiola. What rubbish, what nonsense.
Elections all over the world are always contested with so much gusto and enthusiasm. Let us use this example from the United States of America and even our neighbouring Ghana to show Nigeria the way forward. The American Presidential Election of November 7, 1876 is still till date one of the most disputed elections in American history especially in the States of Louisiana, South Carolina, Florida and Oregon. All over America, the Democratic candidate Samuel J. Tilden won by more than a million popular votes but this was overturned by the Electoral Board (which was controlled by the Republican Party) in favour of R. B Hayes. The 1876 Presidential election dispute gave rise to a crisis, the like of which the United States had never seen. Many Democrats who felt that they had been cheated threatened “Tilden or war”. Congressman Henry Watterson from Kentucky even declared that an army of 100, 000 men was prepared to storm Washington if “Tilden was denied the Presidency.”
Since the American Constitution then was not explicit enough on how to resolve disputes from Electoral colleges, the Senate and the House of Reps voted to establish a Federal Electoral Commission Bill to tackle the existing crisis. And on January 29, 1877, President UIysses S. Grant signed the Electoral commission bill into law. The 15 members of the commission were made up of five Democrats, five Republicans and five Supreme Court Judges. None was appointed by the President.
Despite great opposition from the Democrat-controlled House of the Representatives, the new Electoral Commission voting on party lines (eight Republicans, seven democrats) awarded all 20 disputed electoral votes to the Republican candidate and thus R. B Hayes was sworn in as America’s 19t and most disputed President on March 5,1877. Most bitter democrats later referred to Rutherford B. Hayes as “Rutherfraud” “His fraudulence” and “His Accidency”. An extensive incursion into the American example is to demonstrate man’s ingenuity and ability to conquer his environment and solve his problems as pronounced by God Almighty.
But by far the greatest electoral frauds and manipulations occur more rampantly in African countries. There is really no African country that has not tasted of this bitter pill of electoral violence and crises at one time or the other in its history. Togo, Uganda, Rwanda, Benin, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya and the most guilty apart from Nigeria. On the other hand also, there are only few countries in the world without electoral violence and crises. But most of these countries have overcome their electoral crises by either constitutional amendments’ or electoral bills, Americans solved the 1876 debacle by amending their constitution in just four days because it was an emergency. In Africa, Ghana and South Africa have had the best record of credible elections for some time now.
The Electoral Commission of Ghana is the official body responsible for all public elections in Ghana. It was established by the Electoral Commission Act of 1993. The seven founding members including its Chairman, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan are all still serving their 16 year on the commission. The members are not political appointees neither are they appointed by the Ghanaian President. Their independence is guaranteed by the Ghana Constitution of 1992.
Dr. Afari-Gyan who was invited last week by the Nigerian Democratic Institute and the Nigerian National Assembly to educate them on the way out of Nigeria’s permanent Electoral logjams advised managements of electoral bodies in Africa to “imbibe” transparency and openness to ensure true democracy in Africa.” He chided African politicians for taking elections as a do-or-die affair and that this desperate quest for power at all cost has placed the Electoral Commission in Africa in a difficult position before, during and after the conduct of elections.
He also encouraged and appealed to Civil Society Organisations or NonGovernmental Organisations to actively support and ally with the Electoral Bodies all over Africa. Ghana has a credible electoral body because Ghana has been able to reduce her tolerance level for corruption to zero, while Nigeria’s corruption level still stands at about 95 per cent. Nigeria encourages, pampers and rewards its corrupt officials while Ghana jails any official or even minister who is found guilty of corruption. Today, without mincing words or being sentimental Ghana, is Africa’s best model for democracy and strong democratic institutions.
By far the greatest area of difference between Nigeria and Ghana is the conduct and management of credible elections. While Ghana’s last two elections have been excellent, Nigeria’s last two elections are the worst in the annals of Nigeria’s electoral history, and in Africa as a whole. Nigeria has a litany of electoral woes and unsettled electoral petitions arising from the May 2007 elections.
Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State was lucky he got back two years of his stolen mandate. The Action Congress gubernatorial candidate for Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayerni is still challenging the incumbent governor before the Ado-Ekiti Election Petition Tribunal in the third year after the May 2007 election. Alhaji Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State has accused the incumbent governor of a stolen mandate and has given enough evidence to declare him the new governor of Osun State.
Hopefully the court will decide that. We all still remember how the Ekiti re-run election was rigged in the glare of television cameras. Comrade Adams Oshiornhole was lucky too; he got his stolen mandate from the avaricious People’s Democratic Party.
Various efforts to reverse electoral mismanagement and fraud have proved abortive as President Umaru Musa Yar Adua has bluntly refused to implement the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee recommendations.
Nanaghan is editor’s guest

Ben Nanaghan

Continue Reading

News

FG Declares Thursday Additional Holiday For Eid-el-Fitri

Published

on

The Federal Government has declared tomorrow, Thursday, as additional public holiday to commemorate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior, Dr Aishetu Ndayako, made this known in a statement he shared on the ministry’s X account, yesterday.
The statement said, “The Federal Government has approved Thursday, April 11, 2024 as an additional public holiday to celebrate this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
“The Minister of Interior, Dr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, while congratulating the Muslim Ummah for a successful completion of a month of spiritual rejuvenation, reiterates President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s firm commitment to providing a safe and prosperous Nigeria for all to thrive.”
Saudi Arabia, on Monday, said the crescent of Shawwal has not been sighted, indicating that the fasting would continue on Tuesday.
It also added that the Eid-el-Fitr would hold today, Wednesday, to mark the beginning of the new Islamic month.
The Federal Government had earlier on Sunday declared yesterday (Tuesday) and today, (Wednesday) as public holidays to mark the Eid-el-Fitr celebration.

Continue Reading

News

Engage In Credible Opposition, We Won’t Hunt You, Fubara Tells IPAC …As Group Passes Confidence Vote On Rivers Gov

Published

on

Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that the right climate will be created for all political parties to operate so that they can engage with Government and offer credible opposition.
The Governor emphasised that it was the best thing to do, especially because the opposition political parties have acknowledged that elections are over, and are resolved to offer effective support required to advance good governance in the State.
Governor Fubara spoke on Monday when he played host to the leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Rivers State Chapter, led by its Chairman, Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, at Government House in Port Harcourt.
The Governor insisted that an egalitarian society will be engendered so that people can feel free to voice their opinions without intimidation, because, according to him, those criticisms will contribute to having more focused implementation of policies that serve the general good of the State.
“So, we are happy to identify with you. We are assuring you, even when you leave here, criticise me, I don’t have problem with that, it is meant to spur me to do well. We will continue to give you the freedom. We will not cage anybody. We will not revoke your property.
“You can also take my message to your National Secretariat, we will continue to stand on the right path. We will support them because we can see that they are also doing what is right. Anytime they need our support, let them feel free to ask for it,” the Governor said.
Governor Fubara commended IPAC for identifying with his Administration, and pledging to collaborate efforts for the good of the State.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that no person who truly loves Rivers State, whether embittered, or not, will gladly want to burn down the State to achieve personal or political agenda.
The Governor said whatever political strength anybody claims to have, it amounts to nothing without the State and its people.
Governor Fubara assured that his team in Government will steadily work, genuinely, to protect the interest of the State.
While thanking the delegation for the vote of confidence passed on him and investing him as their Grand Patron, Governor Fubara urged them to tread the path of peace always in their activities.
Governor Fubara promised to consult with them and include their interest whenever appointments are made, and promised to donate a utility vehicle to enhance their logistics, while committing to support the upcoming programme of the body.
In his address, the Rivers State Chairman of Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Barrister Sensei Solsuema Osaro, thanked Governor Fubara for the opportunity to meet with them, and announced that IPAC has passed a vote of confidence on the Governor.
He also announced the decision of IPAC to honour the Governor as the Grand Patron and Leader of the umbrella body of all political parties in the State.
“IPAC is a roundtable of political parties saddled with the responsibility of enlightenment, advocacy, educating, and inspiring courage among political parties and the society at large.
“With the elections come and gone, it is practically the time for governance and to ensure all derivable of dividends of democracy to the people of Rivers State.
“Herein lies the core of our visit today to forge a collaborative bond with you, His Excellency, to foster partnership for the overall interest of Rivers State.
“We heartily congratulate you on your victory at Supreme Court judgement, which affirmed your election at the polls. To this end, we in IPAC have passed a vote of confidence on His Excellency, and assure you of our collaborative, collective and individual support to succeed now, and in the course of your administration, and after,” he added.
More than 17 State Chairmen of Registered Political Parties in the State were in the delegation to pay a solidarity visit to the Governor.
Highlights of the visit were the presentation of a large plaque of portrait picture, certificate as Grand Patron, IPAC T-Shirt and Fez Cap by IPAC Chairman to Governor Fubara.

Continue Reading

News

Our Position On Rivers PDP Ward, LGA, State Excos Unshaken -Fubara

Published

on

The National Working Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has debunked as fake and misleading, the purported list of Caretaker Committee members circulating in the social media and published in some national dailies on Thursday, April 4, 2024.
The Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, who said this after a meeting with the NWC at the National Secretariat, Wadata Plaza in Abuja, last Thursday evening, restated that the resolutions of a meeting held between the NWC and members of the Board of Trustees (BOTs) and PDP Governors’ Forum in Abuja in March on the issue remain valid.
Governor Fubara reiterated the position of the party that the executive officers whose tenures had expired in March, shall remain in their various capacities until the three months’extension period approved by the NWC elapses, and new congresses conducted to replace them.
He recalled that a letter signed by the National Organising Secretary, Hon Umar M. Bature, dated Wednesday, March 27, 2024, addressed to the Chairman, Rivers State Caretaker Committee, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon Aaron Chukwuemeka, and titled: “Approval of Wards, Local Government Area and State Caretaker Committee Members for Rivers State”, had clearly resolved the issue of the authentic members of the Caretaker Committees at the affected levels.
The letter, copied the Acting National Chairman, Amb. Umar Iliya Damagum; Deputy National Chairman, South, His Excellency, Amb. Taofeek Arapaja; the Executive Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Sir Siminalayi Fubara; National Secretary, Senator Samuel Anyanwu; and National Legal Adviser, Ajibade Kamaldeen Adeyemi, SAN, reads in full, “Following the expiration of the elected Ward, LGA, and State Executive Members in Rivers State, the National Working Committee (NWC), pursuant to the provisions of Section 29 (2) (b) of the Constitution of our Party, has, on behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC) approved the appointment of the expired Excos as Caretaker Committee Members.
“For the avoidance of doubt, attached to this letter is theauthentic list of the Caretaker Committee Members in Rivers State. These Caretaker Committees shall run the affairs of our Party at their appropriate levels for a period of three (3) months effective from the dates of their expiration, i.e. March 14, 18, 21, 2024 for Wards, LGA, and State, respectively.
“Please note that the NWC equally approved that anywhere vacancies have occurred due to death, removal, resignation, or defection, such vacancies shall not be filled.
“While thanking you for your continuous commitment, please accept the assurances of the NWC’s highest regards”.
Governor Fubara emphasized that the party stands on the agreement reached on the issue as encapsulated in the letter by the NWC to the State Chairman of PDP dated March 27, adding that no amount of intimidation, clandestine moves, wasteful lobbying and needless expenditure of public funds will change the position already taken.
The Governor stated that the list purported to be members of the Caretaker Committees of the party in the state was only the imagination of its purveyors, and advised those whose names were removed in the fake list and gullible members of the public to ignore it in its entirety.
He said that the party did not at any time remove or replace the names of officers whose tenures had been officially extended for three months, pending possible National Executive Committee ratification on April 18.
Governor Fubara insisted that what was published on Thursday and circulated on social media is not only fake, concocted and manipulated to suit the desperate ambitions of enemies of the State and its people, but a deliberate attempt to provoke members and cause discord in the party.
He observed that the list published in some national dailies and circulated on social media on Thursday was the handiwork of politicians who were spending public funds to cause unnecessary tension, anxiety and friction in the polity, and also distract the Government from the real task of governance in the State.
The Governor urged the elected officers of the party at ward, local government, and state levels whose names were removed and replaced with fictitious names to remain calm, and go about their legitimate duties as officers of the party.
He also warned those fomenting trouble and fanning the embers of confusion and disunity to retrace their steps, and embrace peace or face severe consequences.
The Governor also warned those whose names were forced into the fake and fabricated list of purported Caretaker Committee members being circulated not to be deceived by anybody with unmerited appointment, and avoid parading themselves or showing their presence at any party offices pretending to be officials, as anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law for forgery and impersonation.

Continue Reading

Trending