Elections and Riots, It Is In Their Character

Adeola Aderounmu

I still hold on to my views about how elections should be conducted in Nigeria. There is still a need to establish permanent workable electoral processes that will avoid wastage of funds, and on the side, lives, every four years.

Whether they like it or not Nigerians must establish electoral processes that will bring about unquestionable outcomes.

Riots in Northern Nigeria (Image from BBC Africa)

Until such a time that votes cast can be checked against a social security number or identity card numbers, Nigeria may never experience a peaceful electoral process. One of my friends called me naïve because he thought Nigeria is too complex for such ideas. How can any country be complex or complicated for progressive ideas?

Ten years ago, who could have thought that Nigerians would be using ATMs or VISA cards? But they are using them quite efficiently. So why would it be impossible to issue IDs and security numbers? It will take time but it is a course they must take. All their options and short cuts are resulting in arguments and waste of lives and property.

Many Nigerians will argue that the last presidential election was fair, free and peaceful. They have valid points. But to term the post-election violence as an expression of frustration is an understatement. There is no smoke without fire.

Some Facebook commentators have argued that the North can break away for all they care. It is not that simple and easy to solve the problems. Some people are arguing for regional governments, that even makes more sense.

Now to the just concluded presidential elections in Nigeria.

There are insinuations that the elections have been rigged.

It is one thing for elections to be free and fair. It is another thing entirely for the elections to be credible and to hold water. When results are counted at polling stations, they are usually in hundreds or a few thousands. But when they are announced by INEC, they are in millions.

The idea of register, vote and protect, in my opinion, remains meaningless if not senseless. The only thing that can be protected in any election anywhere in the world is the number of forensically identifiable individuals.

I know several Nigerians who are not voting this year. Those who have registered at “convenient venues” like places or work or familiar environment could not vote because they are not allowed to move outside their residential areas on election days.

One thing is that it is very primitive to restrict movement of people on election days. The other thing is that when Nigeria has adopted the system I suggested in previous essays people will be allowed to vote even before the real Election Day. In that case no one will be disenfranchised if restrictions to movement are enforced on the last day.

One of the commonest mistakes that election riggers make in Nigeria is that while they rigged election results, they usually forget the number of registered voters in some states or communities. The smallest of errors in an election outcome gives room for doubts and questions the integrity of the conductors. Sincerely, it does.

It is hard to believe that any particular candidate in the presidential election will gather more than 90% of votes in any state of the federation. But Jonathan got 99% of the votes in some states. This is a very obvious error on the part of the manipulators and riggers. That one candidate can gather between 90 – 99.6% in any state of the federation ought to be investigated and scrutinized closely. All the electoral materials from such states should be surrendered to independent panel for verification. But do they have anything that is independent in Nigeria?

Buhari said he is in possession of evidence that can prove that INEC computers were pre-programmed to deliver the winning ticket to the PDP. He also said he has some questions for INEC regarding some results.

No one can doubt that computers can be programmed or re-programmed. If truly Buhari has made this claim and if he has the evidence why not produced it/them immediately?

He should also be asking all his questions now using the appropriate medium/ media.

The situation in the North cannot be allowed to continue unabated.

Riots have broken out in Northern Nigeria, People are dying, houses, churches and offices are being torched and burnt down. Supporters of PDP are the targets and it is easy to predict that the next targets will be southerners living in the North.

The riots in Northern Nigeria are condemnable, and very unnecessary. It once again shows how divided Nigerians are and it gives more weight to the argument that Nigerians should divide the country and let every region goes its separate way. This is a complicated resolution and civil wars may break out in several regions. Nigeria remains a volatile country.

Nigerians don’t know yet who ordered these riots but they do know that the rulers or elders in the North are slack and slow. They are watching as their territories are set ablaze. How low are their mentalities? What is Buhari’s position concerning these riots? Can he go out on the streets and call his supporters and street gangsters to order?

There are ways to seek redress and he cannot allow the morons that are on the loose to destroy his reputation. They have already.

I looked at the table of election results and I conclude that though the elections were relatively free, they are far from being credible. 90% of votes in one state going to one candidate is suspicious, 99,6% is definitely a fabrication or a figment of someone’s imagination. The results justify the billions of naira that Mr. Jonathan had siphoned from the Nigerian economy to ensure that he wins.

Money remains the number one influence in Nigerian elections. Even INEC surprised itself and the bookmakers because I am in shock as to why Jega printed re-run papers. One day in Nigeria votes will be counted genuinely like we did in 1993 when MKO Abiola won the freest and fairest election ever in the history of Nigeria.

Meanwhile Jonathan and Sambo must stop the violence in the North. The celebrations are over and, as the rulers of Nigeria; they have a first major assignment on their hands.

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