The notorious yahoo, yahoo boys are confidence tricksters, who leverage on the internet to swindle gullible people. A yahoo, yahoo election is one in which the INEC is the confidence trickster that builds the faith of the electorate in the new Electoral Act and technology and then pulled the rug from under our feet when it mattered most on the election day, as was the case in the presidential election of February 25, 2023.
The Electoral Act, 2022, was designed to protect the voting process from predatory politicians (who had hijacked our elections and have taken political office as birthright, regardless of performance and have run the country to the edge of the precipice) so that the people could freely choose leaders they can entrust with the social contract.
The game changer and soul of the Act is the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) technology and protocol, for accrediting voters and uploading polling data to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) directly from the polling unit – as enshrined in Section 60 Subsection 5 of the Act – once every biometrically-accredited voter has cast his vote and the ballots tallied, approved and signed by all parties, in the glare of voters, leaving no room for external influence, infiltration or other forms of manipulation.
The data so uploaded is the final arbiter in the event of dispute, as in Section 64 Subsections 5 and 6 of the Act, part of which reads:
“Subject to Subsection (1) a collation officer or returning officer shall use the number of accredited voters recorded and transmitted directly from polling units under Section 47 (2) of this Act and the votes or results recorded and transmitted directly from polling units under Section 60 (4) of this Act to collate and announce the result of an election . . .”.
Thus, the integrity of any result declared by the INEC is in its agreement with the polling data transferred directly from the polling unit to the IReV, which enjoyed the collective witness of INEC officials, party agents and voters, with each agent retaining a copy of the returns for the records of his party. It would mean that an election is incomplete when results were not so transmitted, leaving room for external influence and manipulation, apparently, in favour of a predetermined winner, as would seem to be the case in the February 25, 2023 presidential election.
Evidence abounds, in the media, of thumb-printing and injection of ballot papers outside the polling stations, underage voting, vote-buying, suppression and transposition of scores, doctored and mutilated Form EC 8A and brutalization of patriotic polling officers, who refused to alter polling data. And there have been protests in some states against the brazen manipulation of scores.
Voter intimidation was rampant. For example, it was reported that the Igbo could not vote in parts of Lagos. There were reports of late arrival and unpreparedness of officials and items, ballot box snatching, thuggery and all sorts of violence resulting in fatalities – in Lagos State, Rivers State and other states – without commensurate response by the INEC and security agencies.
Some polling units were not served, at all, but polling data were manufactured for them in faraway states. As testified by local and international observers and media, it was a shambolic exercise (probably the worst since 1964) which exposes Nigeria to odium and contempt in the comity of nations.
From all available records, the main target and victim of this rascality is Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) whose life, physical, mental and spiritual energy as well as record of prudence and selfless service – both as governor of Anambra State and as businessman – have found unequalled favour with the disconsolate youths and well-meaning Nigerians, all over the country, determined to propel him to the presidency to reposition Nigeria.
These patriots ran a cutting-edge campaign with him and trooped out with the rest of the electorate on February 25, 2023, to dislodge the predatory old guard, who have put the people through hell, particularly, under the APC-led Federal Government. They believed the INEC (which pledged to comply with the Electoral Act and technology) that votes would count, this time. They endured all the ordeal of the voting process, in some cases, staying through the night, to see to Peter Obi’s victory.
That tenacity paid off, going by early returns from polling units across the country, which put the LP in the overwhelming lead. Shockingly, they were later told that barely 25 million people voted throughout the country and that Obi did not win, which those who voted are yet to come to terms with!
It happened that the INEC uploaded National Assembly polling data directly from the polling unit but failed to upload that of the presidency, under the pretext of technical hitches – leaving the door wide open to manufacturing, adulteration and all forms of manipulation of result and ‘Stone-age’ practices which the new Electoral Act and technology were designed to eliminate!
By all accounts, the LP won many more votes than the INEC reported in most states of the federation, including Lagos State and other South-West States, Rivers State and other South-South states as well as North-west and North-East states. LP was supposed to win the presidential election with a wide margin, as predicted in pre-election polls and reviews by reputable local and international polling firms and media houses and going by early polling returns across the country.
In particular, to say that Peter Obi did not win more votes than were eventually reported in the North-West, North-East and North-Central, is to say that Northern Christians, the youths and other well-meaning Nigerians did not protest APC’s Moslem-Moslem ticket and PDP’s Fulani to Fulani succession plot and that members of his ethnic group, in large numbers all over the North (who habitually vote massively for their party of choice and who chose Obi’s LP this time) did not vote!
The foundation of democracy is the power in the freedom of the people to choose their leaders and to change the government, in the quest for prosperity and better life. Once that freedom is hijacked, rendering them helpless, you cannot talk of democracy or corporate prosperity anymore.
A repugnant mandate cannot deliver unity, peace, confidence, social engagement and cooperation between the government and the people, not to talk of prosperity. Instead of transparency, it would enthrone the culture of manipulation with which it rode to power. Socio-economic decline would worsen.
Above all, any family or society, which does not reckon with its young can never prosper, as has been Nigeria’s case. This aftermath could have been arrested by allowing the Electoral Act and technology to operate freely to the satisfaction of the apprehensive youths, whose future is most at stake.
In truth, the presidential election of February 25, 2023, flopped the moment the transmission of results, directly from the polling units, was breached.
Aggrieved parties should not be deterred from going to Court to determine it. Asking them to embrace the controversial result declared by the INEC or the beneficiary of the apparent fraud amounts to adding insult to injury.
The future of Nigeria is at stake. Should the massive fraud be condoned, there would be no credible election, peace and inclusive prosperity in the country for a long time. The youths might revolt. The country might descend into anarchy. Unless Nigeria is destined for perdition, no one should get away with this degree of rascality!