Sunday, 3 March 2019

Presidential Poll and Voodoo Figures By Yemi Adebowale (Thisday Newspaper)

It was an unprecedented sham. This is how best to describe the voodoo figures, mainly from the North-west and North-east, which INEC affirmed and used as the basis for declaring incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari winner of the February 23 poll. The figures were simply concocted by the ruling party to turn the tide in an election they obviously did not win. The voodoo figures, mainly from Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, Kano, Benue, Bauchi and Niger states did not tally with the realities on ground. The fraud perpetrated in this 2019 Presidential election is unprecedented.

Katsina and Kano states witnessed the most impudent allocation of figures. Just as it happened in 2015, the two states produced the vote-changing numbers for our fantastically brilliant President Buhari. He was allocated 1,232,133 votes in Katsina, his home state. In Kano State, Buhari was allotted 1,464,768. Not even Lagos State, with close to six million registered voters could produce this kind of figures. What a country!

In Kaduna State, 993,445 votes were invented for Buhari. This state has been under the throes of bandits and killer herders in the last 45 months, with hundreds of people sent to early graves. Suddenly, these people got up and gave almost a million votes to a man under whose tenure they have been in anguish. This is irreconcilable.

In Borno State, Buhari was allocated 836,496 votes. This same state gave Buhari 473,543 votes in 2015.  What has changed in Borno State within four years that resulted in over 80% increase in vote cast for the President? Are there more people coming into the state? Obviously, this can’t be the case, as hundreds of thousands of the indigenes of this state have fled to Cameroon and Chad to escape Boko Haram assault. The massive vote allocated to Buhari in Borno State is also illogical. This is a state with 33 IDP camps, up from just 11 in 2015. Terrorists now control virtually the whole state.

I can clearly remember the Shehu of Borno, Abubakar Garbai El-Kanemi, telling Buhari that “we, the people of Borno State, are still under Boko Haram siege. Nobody can dare move out of Maiduguri by 10 kilometres without being confronted, attacked by Boko Haram.” Yes, Millions of people can’t return to their homes because the federal government has failed to secure them. What those who allocated these massive votes are simply saying is that the traumatised people of Borno State voted for a man who has failed them, so as to continue wallowing in trauma. This is what I call illogicality of voters’ lucidity.

Buhari was also allocated 497,914 votes in another Boko Haram-ravaged state, Yobe. 497,914 people voted for Buhari in Yobe State? Haba! Where did the voters come from?

Those who engineered the vote distribution were also very sloppy in their allocation in some states. A good example here is Benue State where PDP won all Senatorial and House of Representatives seats. But in the Presidential election, 355,255 votes were allocated to Atiku while Buhari, whose party was massively voted against in the election to the legislature, got 347,668 votes, a difference of 7,587. This is laughable. Again, it cannot happen in a state in which Buhari has failed to protect the masses of the people against killer herders. How can a people, still seething over the mass killing of their loved ones, go out and vote massively for the man that failed to protect them? It can only happen in Nigeria.

Other Voodoo allocations to Buhari were 1,464,768 votes in Kano State, 150,710 votes in Rivers State, 118,082 votes in Bayelsa State,794, 738 votes in Jigawa State; 798,428 votes in Bauchi State, 612,371 votes in Niger State and 581,552 votes in Kebbi State.

Aside from concocting figures, there was also massive intimidation of the opposition followed by illegal mass thumb-printing of ballot papers.A good example here is the account of an NYSC member, Ashimom Msuguhter, who served as an INEC ad hoc official at a unit in Nasarawa State. Msuguhter, a Doctor at Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia, Nasarawa State, said he was forced to hand over ballot papers to persons who thumb-printed them for a particular party, as his life was in danger.

Buhari’s so-called victory is evidently tainted. This is an illusory triumph. Our President is still celebrating the bogus conquest. Well, let him continue to wallow in self-deceit. He simply conquered Nigerians, albeit, for the moment.

On the flip side, this country must also end this analog system of having Resident Electoral Commissioners coming to Abuja to physically announce results of their states. That was why our ludicrous INEC spent five days announcing results. We are no longer in the Stone Age. These results can be announced by the RECs in their offices and projected on the big screen at the National Collation Centre in Abuja for all to see.

The February 23 elections were bloody. The desperation by the ruling party to retain power at all cost fueled the killings. The killings in Bayelsa, Rivers, Lagos and Delta states were horrendous. I can never forget the murder of Ms. Ibisiki Amachree in Rivers State.

The Situation Room, an umbrella group of more than 70 civil society groups that monitored the election said 39 people were killed in violence linked to the vote. 16 people were killed in Rivers State alone.

Bayelsa saw four deaths, and Delta, two fatalities. Eight other states accounted for the remaining fatalities. “Situation Room notes that INEC has not managed the election efficiently and significant shortcomings have been recorded. The election has been a step back from the 2015 general election and actions should be taken to identify what has gone wrong and what can be corrected,” notes Situation Room.

 By Yemi Adebowale;; 07013940521 (text only)

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