The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, said the series of attacks on the commission’s facilities may undermine its capacity to organise elections and negatively impact the country’s electoral processes.
Yakubu made the remark during an emergency meeting with resident electoral commissioners at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu’s worry emanates from a series of accidental and coordinated fire outbreaks on INEC’s facilities across the country, dating back to 2019, even before the general elections of that year.
Over time, a number of INEC offices around the country have been destroyed, with critical infrastructures affected, thereby stretching the commission’s capacity to manage elections.
The unceasing attacks and possibility of continuing means that the commission is put on the edge, especially if critical tools like the electoral register and card readers are affected.
Chronicle of infernos
On January 28, 2019, there was a fire incident at the INEC office in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State. However, in a statement after the incident, the head of the Department of Voter Education and Publicity for the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Edwin Enabor, said it was a minor incident. According to him, contrary to some reports that it was caused by hoodlums, it was a result of an electrical fault.
Enabor said, “The management of the INEC in Rivers State wishes to inform the general public about a minor fire incident that occurred at our office in Oyigbo Local Government Area.
An investigation has shown that it was caused by an electrical fault and not by hoodlums as insinuated in some quarters.
“We want to assure the public that everything is under control and that our offices across the state are well secured.”
The following month, February 3, 2019, hoodlums set the INEC office in Isiala- Ngwa South Local Government Area of Abia State ablaze. The hoodlums were said to have stormed the office around 2 am.
The attack was said to have woken the youths of the area from their sleep as they quickly mobilised and alerted the police, who assisted them in putting off the fire.
Although the fire did maximum damage to the structure and materials there, the quick intervention of the youths and the assistance of the police saved the situation from escalating.
The commission, however, continued to operate from the old office until few weeks before the incident when it decided to relocate from the local government headquarters.
That was the second time the INEC office in Isiala-Ngwa was burnt down.
In 2015, in the heat of the controversy surrounding the governorship election in Abia State, thugs reportedly set the commission’s office at Omopa on fire, prompting the relocation to Umu-Ikaa.
The following week, February 10, the Plateau State INEC office in Qua’anpan Local Government Area, where ballot boxes, generators filled with fuel, cubicles, newly printed electronic and manual voters register, unclaimed permanent voter cards, were destroyed.
Two days later, on February 12, the Anambra State INEC office in Awka, the state capital, was set ablaze. Card readers and other sensitive materials for the elections were burnt. Two containers containing 4,695 smart card readers were destroyed, along with other sensitive materials.
Also, on February 24, 2019, the Osun State INEC office in Ijebu-Ijesha, Oriade Local Government, was engulfed in fire, which burnt parts of the office. No life was, however, lost in the incident.
On March 8, 2019, the Akwa Ibom INEC office in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area was gutted by fire. One hundred and ninety-eight smart card readers, printed voters register, 13 generating sets, voting cubicles, as well as other sensitive and insensitive election materials, got burnt.
The following day, March 9, 2019, the INEC Registration Area Centre at Ezza North Local Government Area in Ebonyi State was set ablaze by hoodlums.
Before that, on March 3, 2019, the Jigawa INEC office in Gumel Local Government Area was burnt. Everything was destroyed, including documents, furniture, generators, electronic gadgets, computers, among other materials.
In 2020, the INEC equally recorded some fire incidents, including that of February 2 when its office in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State was gutted by fire.
Confirming the incident, a police spokesman in the state said “the fire allegedly emanated from a bush burning.”
A few days later, on February 8, 2020, hoodlums reportedly set the INEC office in Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State ablaze, a week after the supplementary election held in the state.
The police public relations officer in the state said the incident happened in the early hours of Monday and no casualty was recorded, but electoral materials and properties belonging to staff members of the commission were burnt down.
This occurred less than one week after the winner of the Orlu/Orsu/Oru East federal constituency supplementary election was announced by the INEC.
Similarly, on September 10, 2020, just before the Ondo State governorship election, 5,141 card readers were destroyed by fire at the state head office of the commission in Akure.
There was also a fire incident on April 17, 2020, at the national headquarters of the INEC in Maitama, Abuja, where a section close to the media centre of the commission and the election party monitoring office were affected.
The first reported fire incident that affected the INEC in 2021 was on April 20 when an early morning outbreak razed the commission’s data processing centre in Kano State.
It was gathered that the fire incident started about 10:15 am and razed the whole building, destroying all equipment and other valuables.
On May 2, 2021, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, reported that the commission’s office in Essien Udim Local Government Area had been set ablaze.
The national commissioner and chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC), Festus Okoye, in a statement noted that the incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday.
Okoye stated that the security guard on duty escaped unhurt, but the destruction to the building and property therein was extensive.
“Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture,” Okoye added.
He recalled that on the eve of the 2019 general elections, the commission’s newly constructed prototype office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo local government areas were bombed.
Attack on INEC headquarters in Enugu earlier this month
A few days later, on May 9, 2021, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Abia State, Dr Joseph Iloh, reported that the recently renovated INEC office in Ohafia Local Government Area was set ablaze.
He, however, said there were no casualties on the part of the commission’ staff on guard duty, but the building was virtually destroyed, including electoral materials and office equipment.
Three days later, on May 13, 2021, the national commissioner and chairman of the IVEC, Okoye, said the REC for Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu, reported that the INEC office in Udenu Local Government Area was set ablaze by gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“The latest tragic incident occurred around 8.40 pm on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Casualties were not reported.
“However, the office building was extensively damaged while electoral materials and office equipment were destroyed in spite of the best efforts of the Enugu State Fire Service to contain the inferno,” Okoye stated.
On May 14 and 16, the Enugu State INEC office at Obollo-Offor, Udenu Local Government Area, and the commission’s headquarters were attacked and burnt, after the security personnel on duty were overpowered.
Two days later, on May 18, 2021, two INEC offices were simultaneously attacked in Ebonyi State.
The Ezza North Local Government office and that of Ebonyi were burnt, while the Izzi Local Government office was vandalised; the ceiling and doors were badly damaged.
Lamenting the series of attacks on INEC offices and facilities, the chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, warned that the situation may undermine its capacity to organise elections, including the 2023 general elections, as well as negatively impact the country’s electoral processes.
Yakubu said some events in the recent past had challenged the commission and adversely affected its commitment to continue to improve the electoral process. He added that the spate of arson and vandalism targeting its facilities and property had become worrisome.
“Unfortunately, this has been on the rise since the 2019 general elections, but it has now developed into a crisis. In the last three weeks or so, three of our local government offices in Essien Udim in Akwa Ibom State, Ohafia in Abia State and Udenu in Enugu State have been set ablaze by unidentified persons.
“Last Sunday, May 16, 2021, our state office in Enugu suffered another arson and vandalism, in which parts of the building were ransacked and several vehicles razed. More of our facilities are being systematically targeted and attacked.
“Just last night, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, two more offices in Ebonyi and Ezza North local government areas of Ebonyi State were burnt down. Although there were no casualties, the damage to the physical infrastructure and electoral materials was total,” he said.
He lamented that nothing had been salvaged from the attacks, from ballot boxes and voting cubicles to generating sets and office furniture and equipment. He added that the attacks were targeted at the INEC.
He said, “The facilities of the commission are there to serve the local communities for the most fundamental aspect of democratic governance – elections. Therefore, targeting such important national assets and repositories of electoral materials that took time and enormous resources to procure cannot be justified.
“Replacing these facilities in the prevailing economic circumstances will indeed be a tall order, thereby adversely affecting electoral services in the same communities. These facilities are not only limited to voting but also used for other critical electoral activities, such as voter registration, the coordination of stakeholder engagements and voter education and sensitisation.”
He pledged that the commission would work with security agencies to deal with perpetrators of these heinous crimes according to the law, thus a meeting with all the security agencies is expected to hold on Monday, May 24, 2021.
He, however, said it had become imperative to call on all and sundry, particularly communities where these assets are located, to see themselves as owners and custodians of these facilities and assist the commission in protecting them, expressing delight that some of the communities are already doing so.
He added that the challenges posed by these threats notwithstanding, the commission is still positive that it can find lasting solutions to the spate of attacks on its facilities.
He said, “However, this must be done quickly to forestall disruptions to several upcoming electoral activities, particularly the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, which we plan to undertake continuously in 2,673 centres nationwide for a period of over one year involving thousands of INEC officials supported by security personnel.
Parties, CSO, experts react
Speaking on the development, the director of programmes, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, said the trend of attacks on INEC offices was becoming worrisome and had grave impacts on the commission’s preparations for the next elections with the potential to affect the implementation of its activities towards the off-cycle governorship elections and the 2023 elections.
According to her, this also comes with a huge cost implication on INEC’s budget, especially with some of its offices/structures and election materials burnt/destroyed.
“In addition, these attacks are major distractions to INEC. The commission is working to expand voter access to polling units and the plan to commence the national continuous voter’s registration exercise. There is a need for better security provision for all INEC offices and structures as a matter of national emergency.
“The spate of attacks is beyond mere coincidence and requires in-depth investigation that ensures the culprits and their sponsors are apprehended and prosecuted.
“These attacks are an indication of an absence of effective security architecture in Nigeria, which has created a porous and vulnerable system. The government at the federal and state levels must rise up to their responsibilities of ensuring the security of lives and property,” Mbamalu stated.
On his part, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Professor Ifeanyichukwu Abada, said the attacks by hoodlums on offices of the INEC, if unchecked, may affect the commission’s ability to successfully conduct elections.
“I am worried that the INEC, a vital democratic institution in the country, has become a target of attacks by some hoodlums. No matter the reason by anybody or group, the commission should not be a target for destruction.
“Destroying the commission’s facilities amounts to destroying Nigeria’s democratic process. Sponsors and perpetrators of this heinous act should have a rethink on their dangerous mission to kill the country’s democracy and disrupt the 2023 general elections,” he said.
He urged the federal government to beef up security at INEC offices nationwide to ensure 24-hour surveillance in order to arrest those behind the attacks and prevent further incidents.
“With CCTV cameras in all INEC offices, identities of those behind this crime will be unmasked; they will be arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Also, registered political parties in the country, under the aegis of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), condemned the attack on INEC facilities, noting that the materials being destroyed would still be replaced with taxpayers’ money, which could be used in addressing infrastructural challenges.
The national publicity secretary of the IPAC, Ambassador Agbo Major, said the trend could affect the conduct of the 2023 elections, which could lead to a constitutional crisis and ultimately derail the country’s developing democracy.
Major said, “It is clear that those perpetrating this act are enemies of Nigeria. The IPAC, therefore, calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to come together and fight these our common enemies.”
Since the return of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, lack of good Governance had been the bane of our democracy.
One would ask: What is DEMOCRACY?
DEMOCRACY they say, is Government of the people by the people and for the people. By this definition, one would understand that the citizens of the country are the major stakeholders in the leadership of the country. But question is, are they truly the stakeholders?
The answer is totally no!
The majority of citizens of Nigeria had been sideline in affairs of this nation. It is only few privileged individuals who are benefiting from the system that are enjoying the dividends of democracy. In a country with over 200 million population only about 10% are benefiting from the system. This is one of the reasons while there are a lot of agitations across the country because the leaders have taken the followers for granted for so long.
As Government of the people, how many times have the people been involved in the process of choosing their leaders? The electoral process has not been free of impunity. The general elections has not been free, fair and credible. A country where leaders earn millions of naira as salaries, allowances and leave but refused to pay #30,000 minimum wage. A country where the leaders enjoy the economic resources of the country for free of charge but keep hiking the prices for their followers.
Look at our electricity bill, pump price of fuel etc. All keep rising on daily basis. The country is sitting on a time bombs that if not well managed will explode and cause a very big havock. Our leaders have to make a u turn and put the interest of the citizens at heart. The interest of the citizens are not too numerous that it cannot been achieved. The citizens need to be involved in the process of governance. What the people need is good Governance. Good Governance entails access to free and quality education, access to good road network, to good health facilities, good power supply, creation of industries, etc. The current administration can keep a track record if they will be able to implement the followings:
Sign into law the new Electoral act.
Make INEC to be truly independent where the selection processes of appointing the chairman and commissioners will be devoid of political considerations.
Sign into law the 2014 national confab reports.
Reshuffle the security network.
Creation of employment opportunities for the massive unemployed youths of this country.
Reduce the rate of taxation.
Slash the salaries and allowances of political office holders to accommodate the civil servants.
When all these things are put in place, I believe that Nigeria will be better again.
Hon. Edeh J Arinze is a good governance advocate and currently the Director of finance of Enugu based good governance advocate group, Enugu State Citizens Support for Equity and Good Governance (ESCSEG) and write from Enugu.
It was a gathering of National Assembly heavyweights Wednesday, 19th May 2021 when Engineer Lawrence Ezeh was inducted as a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, FNSE.
The induction, which took place at the national secretariat of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Sanni Abacha Way, Central Business District, Abuja was well attended by top engineers across the country, their families and friends. Ezeh, who was among 66 inductees, joined other engineers at the podium of the auditorium in receiving the honours.
The event is the 17th edition of the Fellowship Conferment Ceremony. The NSE auditorium also saw a gathering of political heavyweights from Enugu State, who came en masse to rejoice with Engineer Ezeh.
Among the guests include the former Deputy Senate President of Nigeria, Senator Ike Ekweremmadu, as well as a former senator and gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 elections in Enugu State, Senator Ayogu Eze.Others include Senator Chuka Utazi, representing Enugu North Senatorial Zone, immediate past senator to represent Enugu East Senatorial zone, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, and the House Member representing Isi Uzor and Enugu East in the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Cornelius Nnaji.
Present at the induction include also, the House Member representing Nkanu East and West in the Federal House of Representatives, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji, along with his predecessor, Honourable Chukwuemeka Ujam.
Other notable personalities who were present include the Chairman of Easton Hill Continental Hotel, Chief Dr Mike Onu, President General of Mburubu Town Union, among others.
Speaking at the ceremony in her opening remarks, Engineer Ebele Okeke, who is the chairman, Board of Fellows/ College of Fellows, told the inductees to be proud ambassadors of the NSE.
President of Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr. Babagana Mohammed, FNSE stated that “The board has certified a total of 66 engineers who have gone through very thorough screening and acceptance processes. And found worthy in professional practice, and character, to be upgraded to the prestigious Fellowship Society”.
Your reliable news portal, Jungle Journalist Media Limited was at the event live and brings you an array of photographs taken at the ceremony:
More than six months into Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State second tenure when he was elected on September 19, 2020, during the gubernatorial election and later sworn in on November 12, same year, the long wait by all and sundry to constitute a proper executive cabinet is brewing concerns.
Flowing from the many worries, a front line activist, Chief Patrick Eholor has summoned the state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to the Federal High Court, Benin Division, to explain why he has allegedly refused to conduct a properly constituted executive council, several months after.
In an Originating Summons, Eholor, through his counsel, TA Akahomen asked the Court to compel the Edo State Government and the Governor to explain if he is empowered to run the government without the appointment of Commissioners, and Statutory Board Members for State Corporations and Agencies.
Eholor in his views, sought an order for the governor to obey the constitution he swore to protect while resuming his second tenure in office as the democratically elected governor of the state, but not at his discretion.
While seeking the court to issue Mandatory Orders to compel the Governor to make the appointment, he argued that, it is more than six months after Governor Obaseki was sworn in on November 12, and commissioners according to the constitution, will help the governor organize effective governance.
He emphasized, the need to have an Attorney General and a Commissioner for Justice in his cabinet, a development he claimed, are very strategic to productive governance.
Chief Eholor, also known as the Ultimate Equals decried the development, saying that its very sad that Edo State is the only State in Nigeria without a State Executive Council.
It is no longer news that the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA will conduct her primary election in June, to elect a suitable candidate for the Anambra governorship election slated for November 6, 2021.
As the APGA primary election draws nearer, the Personal Envoy to Ex President Goodluck Jonathan, and APGA aspirant, Nze Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo, who represents a generational shift, is a new face with fresh ideas tipped to win the next governorship election in Anambra.
Here are the major highlights on why APGA should pick Nwankpo as the party’s flag bearer.
1. Having Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo in charge of affairs of the APGA will provide a platform to turn things around and sustain the vision of the party’s founding fathers.
2. Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo is a fresh face with new ideas. He enjoys both the support of APGA faithfuls, and majority of ndi Anambra irrespective of political party affiliations. He has a special connect with the people. Nwankpo is not new-found, and he had long before now enjoyed ‘a great relationship’ with the APGA.
3. Akachukwu Nwankpo has no issues with APGA leaders and stakeholders. He has been a perfect “party man”.
4. Every democratic constitution is preceded by ‘We, the people’. Akachukwu Nwankpo submits himself to the wishes and the yearnings of the APGA party. He believes in, practices and preaches party supremacy.
5. Akachukwu Nwankpo is actively involved in the politics of the state.
He is not aloof to APGA’s political activities both at the state and local governments level. His primary constituency, APGA Ihiala LGA gets required support from him to run the party affairs. There’s no official APGA structures in the state that has not experienced Nwankpo’s benevolent presence.
6. Akachukwu Nwankpo is youth friendly, and has been endorsed by both the religious and secular youth bodies in Anambra. The authentic, and recognized Anambra youths and key stakeholders have all thrown their weight behind Nwankpo. They will speak for themselves in due course.
7. Akachukwu Nwankpo will run an all inclusive government where the views and opinions of the people are sought on any issues.
He will be receptive to ideas and opinions when offered. Nwankpo will carry everyone along, he is a team player.
8. Akachukwu Nwankpo will not deviate sharply from the policies and programmes of Gov Willie Obiano. He will not abandon ongoing projects of his predecessor. Nwankpo will complete the projects, and do even more.
9. Akachukwu Nwankpo has no political baggage; no scandals, no dirty public and domestic records. He served meritoriously as a Presidential aide, and was retained as a Personal Envoy.
10. Akachukwu Nwankpo is a great philanthropist, with divine mandate to help the needy, the downtrodden in our society. He brings good tidings everywhere he goes.
Founder of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor has summoned the Edo State governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki to the Federal High Court, Benin Division, to explain why he has refused to appoint commissioners and have a properly constituted executive council, several months after he wok elections.
In an Originating Summons, Eholor, through his counsel, TA Akahomen asked the Court to compel the Edo State Government and the Governor of Edo State to explain if the governor is empowered to run the government without the appointment of Commissioners, and Statutory Board Members for State Corporations and Agencies.
In the originating summons, Eholor sought an order for the governor to be compelled to appoint commissioners, not at his discretion, but as a matter of constitution which he must obey; a constitution he swore t to protect and obey.
He argued that’s it’s more than six months after Governor Obaseki was sworn in on November 12, and commissioners according to the constitution, help the governor bring out the best for effective governance. He emphasized that the attorney general and Commissioner for Justice were missing, and were very strategic to good governance.
He therefore asked the court to issue Mandatory Orders to compel the Governor to make the appointments.
In his words, Chief Eholor, also known as the Ultimate Equals decried the development, saying that its very sad that Edo State is the only State in Nigeria with out a State Executive Council.
“We voted for a Governor not a sole Administrator or Emperor “, he told journalists.
Great and conscious awakening by the southern governors. In everything in life a time for reality check and self confession must surely come.
Living in denials and pretense certainly does not endure. I was highly enthused listening and understanding the communique issued by the seventeen southern governors during their last meeting held in Asaba, Delta State capital.
They agreed with one voice and a sound mind as follows, they in strong terms condemned open grazing as out of fashion and outdated. That it must be put to a stop at least in southern states. They also courageously asked for much needed restructuring. These key issues among others are the fundamentals of the present crisis that gripped our dear nation.
Injustice has an expiry date . It’s only truth, justice and equity that endures. For this courageous act of the southern governors to come to terms with the issued communique is the beginning of better days ahead. In a country filled with corrupt and self serving leaders, it’s an encouragement to experience this development. This will surely bequeath greater things. We have for so long lived a marginalized lifestyle in a country that we rightly belong because we are birthed in certain geographical location.
This perpetuated for this long stretch because of pathetic greed and ignorance of those we entrusted with leadership. Our past and present got marginalized and beaten. With this development our future looks bright if there is consistency,one mind and one voice. Let’ us arise and take advantage of this moment. We have a right to better life.
Our land can provide that. I commend our dedicated activists who are fearless and not economical with the truth in most difficult times.
Gubernatorial aspirants from the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA have been strategizing how to win the nomination to fly the party’s flag in the forthcoming Anambra governorship election.
The aspirants who are over six (6) in number from Anambra South Senatorial district where the position has been unanimously zoned to have rock solid convictions that the Governorship ticket will be thiers.
My investigation shows that winning the APGA faithful’s sympathy and support tops the priority of the Nze Akachukwu Sullivan Nwankpo. The Guber hopeful want to be on the same page with the party leadership and delegates who are the ultimate deciders. Nwankpo wants his teaming supporters to see that he has the interest of the party at heart, as demonstrated over time through his massive investments in the party, especially at the grassroots level.
You know that at the moment, the party delegates to the primary election own the entire political space. They can retire, make or mar anyone if they want to. So for me this move by Akachukwu Nwankpo is clever although it puts the cabal in a fix as it makes it difficult for them to impose their preferred aspirant early in the day. The cabal will have to play along but one sure fact is that only one person will win the ticket in June.
Findings show that the APGA will stamp their feet on ensuring its supremacy as no aspirant will be allowed to throw mud or engage in anti party activities. The state Chairman Sir Norbert Obi has stated severally that APGA will conduct a free and fair primary election, where the best candidate will emerge to lead the party to the polls in November.
As the party sets out to fish out the best amongst the aspirants, I don’t think a lot will change on how the leader of the Party His Excellency Gov. Willie Obiano arranges his cards. You can see that the Governor has ensured that there is peace everywhere. Those who claimed they were sent to speak on behalf of the governor might be disappointed at the eleventh hour.
In APGA, nobody is fighting anyone, all the aspirants are going about mobilizing supporters ahead of the primary election, peacefully. No threats of violence, and you can see how the entire state is commending the Governor on this so I don’t think he will change in this aspect.
Another aspect that I think won’t change is that APGA will place more emphasis on marketability, electability and political viability. Aside from Party members, the APGA leadership will look at how the electorates will respond and react to its choice candidates at the polls.
This means that APGA will shop for a very saleable candidate with no political scandals; no history of abuse of public funds, no criminal record. APGA will definately pick a candidate with traceable source of livelihood, one with no dangling political baggage. You must have listened to the position of the party on its choice candidates for the gubernatorial election. The APGA leadership has stated clearly in the media that the party won’t field someone who will not sell in the governorship polls.
So my interpretation of this is that the party will prioritize marketability, electability and political viability, this is where Akachukwu Nwankpo is rated high above other contenders; for the past three years, he has been on ground, working assiduously, and have convinced the party that he will pull it through the gubernatorial election with ease.
Evang. Comrade Tony Akeni, a veteran journalist of more than 35 years standing and author of the anthology Psalms of Democracy, is the Global Coordinator of Nigeria Cannot Continue Like This (NCC-LIT, pronounced NCC-LIGHT).
NCC-LIT is a rapidly growing national and global political movement on an avowed mission, according to the group’s coordinator, to network Nigerians all over the globe to wrestle power from both the ruling APC and PDP and install a totally new leadership paradigm across the country from 2023 through a novel democracy model which the movement calls Resident Democracy.
Recently, the Global Coordinator Tony Akeni and state chapter representives of the movement traveled through the frontline South-East states of Nigeria for on-the-spot assessment and interaction with grassroots groups of the areas which had come under much carnage and violent activities between Federal Government military troops and the Eastern Security Network of IPOB.
En route to the South-West states for similar ground assessment the NCC-LIT Global Coordinator stopped by Asaba, the Delta state capital, where he had an incisive media chat with some senior reporters. The chat centred around the widely perceived uncertainty of the 2023 general elections in the light of increasing turmoils of insecurity, restructuring and self-determination agitations across Nigeria.
With what seem like firm and unshakable conviction Comrade Tony asserted that Nigerians should not be fooled by what he described as “government fostered and facilitated crises” in various parts of Nigeria and the consequent uproars of restructuring and self-determination barrages that have swelled across the country as a response to the federal government’s lack of sensitivity to Nigerians’ well-being other than the President’s ethnic group.
The political activist advised that rather than be caught napping and unprepared like 1999 when many good and overcautious Nigerians doubted that the military would actually hand over power for civil rule and left the political space to the worst of unconscionable characters, Nigerians should be diligently conscious that the APC led federal government plans to conduct sham elections across the country in 2023. The central and sacred purpose of the 2023 election blueprint, Evang Tony says, will be to install and impose on Nigerians a worse plague of loyal successors than its present crop of leaders who would be bound by oaths to cover up the APC administration’s many governance atrocities and to frustrate and abort Nigerians’ yearnings for purposeful constitutional amendments as a foundation for restructuring and true federalism. NCC-LIT says that as a result Nigerians should prepare with every ounce of vigilance and diligence to fully partake in the 2023 watershed elections with a view to shocking the status quo miasma of APC and PDP out of power from every inch of political soil across Nigeria.
Below are the movement’s perspectives and insights of the road to 2023 as expressed through its global coordinator:
You said there will be Elections in 2023. Can you please explain?
That is a fact. But first I thank you, gentlemen, for giving me the opportunity to present to Nigerians ahead of time NCC-LIT’s studied insight on national events to come which will unfold between now and 2023. The objective is to enable Nigerians understand and take an informed stand on these events as they begin to manifest.
But before I go into the kernel of this assertion let us examine together why many Nigerians think that there might not or would not be elections in 2023. The issues giving rise to that foreboding are mainly five.
i. Restructuring agitations in association with demands for annuling and replacing the 1999 constitution with a true “We the People Constitution.”
ii. Break-up agitations by self-determination groups.
iii. Nationwide insecurity crises usually forerunning failed state phenomena.
iv. Military takeover theory, and;
v. Local prophets’ and international diplomats’ disintegration utterances.
Insight ahead of national events to come
Without equivocation I wish to firmly declare that none of the above stated agitations and sources of anxiety will prevent the General Elections of 2023 from holding. Let me share with you a few of many facts of hindsight which inform NCC-LIT’s settled understanding of this position.
The infamous MKO Abiola June 12 presidential election annulment took place 24 years ago in 1993. Nigerians who were old enough and politically informed during that watershed era will recall the vortex of social-political turmoil, outrage and inter-ethnic animosities between the North and South of Nigeria, which engulfed the entire country at that time.
At the height of it MKO Abiola, the clear winner of the June 12 presidential election, was murdered in prison under Abachas’ custody. This happened only days after the august Catholic pontiff Pope John Paul II flew to Nigeria from Rome and the Secretary-General of the United Nations at the time Kofi Annan flew in from New York, among countless Western ambassadors and world dignitaries, to plead with the Abacha regime to grant Abiola bail. Each intervention, high and low, was to no avail. Shortly after, Abiola’s wife Kudirat was ruthlessly assassinated on the street of Lagos.
Rampant high profile assassinations and assassination attempts targetted pro-June 12 NADECO political opponents, mainly of Southern Nigeria origin, who formed a democratic opposition brick wall against the Abacha military dictatorship, predominantly of Northern origin like today’s Buhari Administration.
That bloody era consumed famous Southern political mogul Chief Alfred Rewani among others, sent Wole Soyinka and Chief Anthony Enahoro fleeing into self-exile and landed former President Olusegun Obasanjo in jail with a death sentence necklace on his neck for a phantom coup plot cooked up by Abacha’s spin doctors and tyranny strategists.
During that same stretch of catastrophic dictatorship which consumed some of the best, iconic and mighty gems of Southerners by the North controlled federal centre under Gen. Sani Abacha’s blood-soaked rein, internationally famous Ogoni environmental rights activist, playright and TV dramatist Ken Saro Wiwa and his eight Ogoniland compatriots, who included two state commissioners, were on November 10, 1995 hanged to death in Port Harcourt prison by Abacha, right in the heart of the South. For good measure their bodies were doused in corrosive acid for double mortality assurance. Again their trial and execution was based on trumped-up charges of murder of local community chiefs, just to get rid of the formidable but intolerable Southern Nigeria intellectuals who were in the way of SPDC Shell and Abacha’s free oil flow from the Niger Delta.
I remember an interview meeting I had as a human rights journalist sitting face to face, some years after Saro Wiwa’s hanging, with Ledum Mitee, then MOSOP president and the only man that Abacha’s kangaroo “judicial murder” panel set free from the hangman’s noose. It was across a small desk in MOSOP’s office in Port Harcourt, about the year 2008.
I remember vividly the hot tears Mitee fought to hold back as he made to me his last unforgettable and everfresh concluding statement on the Ogoni 9 saga. “Tony,” he said, “when you talk about the Nigerian state’s falsehood, travesty of justice and tragedy in light of the Ogoni saga, you are seeing before you the only surviving soul and bridge between the past and the present as the only man out of ten who came from the edge of the grave. I bear the burdens of that nightmare, custody of its darkest truths and deepest scars of an entire era’s hideous testimonies. No-one alive can tell the Ogoni story better than me.”
I also remember similar unshed tears in the falsely smiling face of the lead actor of Ken Saro Wiwa’s TV play series, “Mr. Bassey” of Bassey & Company. I ran into the young delightful actor in the reception of The Guardian newspaper in Rutham House, Isolo Express, Lagos, when I went visiting the newspaper house to file a freelance report. It is the same unmistakable farcade of unshed tears of agony which most knowledgeable Southern Nigerians wear across the country in their daily lives at the receiving end of the Apartheid APC administration.
With a seemingly inexhaustible syllabus of social-economic atrocities and human capital decimation against Southern Nigeria from 1983 when the Muhammadu Buhari junta overthrew the Shagari administration to 1998 when death relieved Nigeria of the Musolonic scourge of Abacha, virtually every inch of Southern Nigeria soil boiled over with incendiary hate, irreconcilable animus and venom against the Hausa-Fulani North.
Climaxing with the hell-size depravity of the June 12 annulment and political injustices of that era, Nigeria appeared headed, between 1993 and 1995, for a shattering, cataclysmal breakup. On hindsight you will find striking similarities between that epoch and the outrage which prevails in Nigeria today from the pandemic atrocities and notoriety of Islamic terrorists, killer Fulani herdsmen, rape and ransom bandits and the scourge of IDP refugee camps flowing from these felonies of anti-state brigandage.
Yet I can tell you from the prism of the same hindsight that nothing in today’s Boko Haram terrorism, herdsmen sacrilege and bandits scourge committed on the soil of our country can be said to match or come near the nation disintegrating lacerations and perils of Abiola’s June 12 crises. In an interview years after he left office as Nigeria’s Head of State and central entrepreneur of the June 12 crises, Ibrahim Babaginda confessed that even as a military Head of State with unlimited powers, he had never been so frightened in his entire life as the day he saw the sight of long lines of trucks massively evacuating Ibos and sundry Southerners from different parts of the North, heading home to the South because of the fear that another civil war was about to break out in Nigeria.
The Director of Defence Information of Babangida’s regime also expressed identical foreboding in another interview years later. For those who were not born then or old enough to appreciate the size of the June 12 cauldron, this should give you an idea of the knife-edge annihilation spectacle Nigeria was tested on.
What is the essence of this background relative to the uncertainties associated with the 2023 elections?
Yes, the point in all of this is that nothing is happening in today’s more democratically mature Nigeria that did not happen in worse dimensions in Nigeria’s past less democratically mature dispensations. Abiola’s June 12 election injustice writ-large, numerous incendiary massacres of religious riots of the 1980s and ’90s in the North which consumed many innocent souls, and Nigeria’s three years of bloody civil war are landmark proofs. None of those Rubicon or red line catastrophes disintegrated Nigeria. If they didn’t, nothing else will in the remaining 700 days before the swearing in of the next Administration in 2023.
The politicians who benefit from sharing and feeding fat on the corpse of Nigeria, and they are from all sections of the country including the 17 states of Southern Nigeria; they are united wolves with united appetites and strategies for ensuring that no matter the hell they make the ordinary people of Nigeria pass through, Nigeria’s corpse is always preserved “alive” to another election in other to make way for the turn of the next wolves and vampires to “chop.” It is that strategy I passionately wish to draw Nigerians’ attention and actions to.
Nigerians must not allow themselves to be deceived, swayed and lullabied to sleep or comatose state of unpreparedness by APC’s and PDP’s diversionary governance calamities. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be stampeded and disoriented into ultimately believing that there will be no elections in 2023 and therefore become lax and laid-back. Nigerians should not allow a repeat of the 1999 scenario when most good citizens thought that the military regime of General Abubakar Abdusalami would not relinquish power to civilians and in their lukewarmess allowed wolves of like-minds to hyjack the political space to the protracted doom of Nigerians and selfish boom of bad politicians since then to the present.
There will certainly be elections in 2023. In furtherance of this fact, NCC-LIT wishes to encourage Nigerians of goodwill and progress in all parts of our country – North, East, West and South – to come together urgently, be focused and hyper-prepared for full participation and close-marking polls accountability in 2023. This is the kernel of the NCC-LIT clarion for the imminent struggle of our lifetime; the struggle to truly and finally set Nigeria free through the 2023 polls.
You allege of APC’s sneak election strategy for 2023. Expatiate.
The APC led Federal Government, her sly closet schemers and frontline contenders are acutely aware that their party has a very bleak future going into 2023. Sincere party stalwarts like APC Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti state, Kano state former Commissioner for Works the exceptionally brilliant Engr. Muazu Magaji and former Spokesman to Kano state Governor Abdullahi Ganduje, both sacked by the irrascible Kano state Governor in 2020 and 2021 respectively for daring to bare and blare this truth against Buhari’s higgledy-piggledy administration, have been courageous to say this in very loud public platforms.
With this fact in plain view, APC will use five sneak strategies in collaboration with INEC to approach the 2023 General Elections in attempts to have its way at the polls. I ask Nigerians to follow me. These strategies are as follow:
i. Like a boat that has lost its engines the APC Administration will continue to let the country drift casually towards 2023, with little motions of governance and guidance as we are seeing. At first they will continue to ignore most of the republic’s disintegration agitations by the South-West and South-East. Like the driver of a jalopy ignores the jeers and boos of the passengers of his broken-down bus. Then in sleep-walking fashion the government will make a few motions to pacify the tensions in the country.
Among these will be to pretend to call and rein in Miyetti Allah and through them establish a truce with their forest legions to reduce the kidnappings, violations and condemnations in the North, South-West, herdsmen and bandits onslaughts in different parts of the country. Of course this will be at a high cost of quietly disbursed “palliatives” to the bandits and herdsmen under undisclosed subheads of national security expenditures.
ii. To further buy time, at a time President Buhari’s APC government, steered by it’s behind-the-curtain minders, will pretend to listen to the people and set up a seemingly serious but actually perfunctory national restructuring conference. This will throw especially the southern geopolitical zones of Nigeria into ecstatic excitement and false hope.
iii. The restructuring conference, which will automatically take away most of the agitating tensions in the South-West and South-East zones will be given unnecessarily long time-table with ambiguous terms of reference. It will be encouraged to waste time in the name of carrying everyone along by “consulting all the component ethnic groups and stakeholders.” It will raise recommendations which would be frozen in the Presidency’s file cabinets. Its recommendations will be attended to with piecemeal, immaterial outcomes while time passed and 2023 General Elections rapidly approach.
iv. While 200million Nigerians would be embroiled in the din and debates of false restructuring with paid apostles of the Administration nobly talking the public into peace and patience with the Administration, the APC government would unzip exciting credibility factors into the 2023 general elections time-table foisted on Nigerians. This might include symbolic but light-weight amendments to the Electoral Act, promising to finish the restructuring process they started after the 2023 General Elections.
The Buhari-APC social-political palliatives to the electorates of the country will also likely include the creation of an equalizing 6th State in the South-East to especially to pacify, divide and rule this geopolitical zone against its more radical revolutionary frontiers like IPOB.
iv. During the same period the Buhari Administration will buy extra time and goodwill with fancy psychological projects which will serve it like masses tranquilizers. These will include devolving oil blocs ownership to the South’s oil producing communities, revisiting the Ogoni Clean-up project with dizzying billions of naira committed to contractors mostly in newspapers and on NTA network news. Emphasis will be made about completing the railway lines that run through Southern Nigeria, which will naturally excite the South.
v. Of all above strategies, this fifth one is their natural, constitutional *masterstroke*! The 17 Governors of the South-West, South-East and South-South, all serving National Assembly members who are of course each murderously determined to return to the Abuja Federal Honeycomb as senators and reps, the Governors’ 17 State Houses of Assembly members, their governor installed local government chairmen and councillors will go to work in the usual scramble and frenzy to return their Abuja principals, second-term governors’ anointed successors and their State Houses of Assembly principals to office, all of them complemented by the federal Ministers from the 17 states and their networks of political aides.
Old marriages will be renewed and new ones forged with the reigning ballot snatching warlords of their various states and geopolitical zones. Sacks of gold will replace philosophy of good. Good governance principles which were preached during the last four years of the electorates’ scourge by their Egyptian slavemasters from Abuja and their various state capitals will fly through the window. As much as possible, so-called good governance civil society organizations, labour and trade unions and their leaders will be compromised along.
The MC Oluomos and perhaps by then politically baptized and converted Sunday Igbohos of the South-West, Tompolos and Atake Toms of the South-South, the Mbas and Ezikes of the South-East will be brought by politicians hauling sacks of money into romantic lockdowns of Covid-2023 electoral cash virus. There will be mass weddings of promises by the politicians to the regions’ ballot snatching warlords. The mantra will be to give the locust politicians of their states and regions one more time to “repent and this time really improve on governance for their people.” Each side would know from the first breath that these are promises not meant to be kept. But it would not matter after politicians and ballot thugs exchange bags of gold and guns for another four years of cold and burns to the electorate.
In all of these what will be NCC-LIT’s banner word for Nigerians on the road to 2023?
Our top word to Nigerians is that there will be elections in 2023. Seal that and take it to the bank. Knowing this and APC’s sly strategies to burgle the 2023 polls victory and reimpose its hell of misrule on Nigerians, what should the long suffering people of Nigeria do? This question is for both the masses and the suffering middle class comprising over 199m citizens who have not been part of the APC and PDP nation ruining misrule. That is the urgent question for all citizens who do not wish Nigeria to continue in her leadership disaster mode of many decades.
If we Nigerians truly desire transcendental trans-generational transformation of our country, if we have agonized and lamented bad leadership for so long, 2023 is our chance to translate wishes to action and realization of our strongest values.
Together let us build this 300million capacity NCC-LIT alternative political ship to APC and PDP. Always bearing in mind that the APC-PDP boat takes too few, that is, the politician, his wife, children, one or two concubines and their security dogs.
Together let us storm the country with NCC-LIT’s brand new, novel political ideology called Resident Democracy, a unique democracy model which no political party in entire Africa and the world, past or present, had ever conceived.
Together let us stun Nigeria and entire Africa with sweeping victory in 2023. Together let us have the world in standing ovation for Nigeria’s incredible gigantic development leaps and superlative clean-up of our country shortly after victory in 2023.
At the NCC-LIT frontlines we are determined to sacrifice all, lead from the front and lead by the most transparent open governance public expenditure model in the world.
Step up your game by stepping into the march for the freedom frontlines. Together, in the end we shall come rejoicing bringing in the sheaves of victory, glory and honour to God Almighty in a country where the boundaries of religion, tribe, ethnicity, gender, social chauvinism and political narcism shall vanish terminally for a new epoch of economic buoyance and prosperity derived not from nepotism, cronyism and corruption but industry, commerce and creative African silicone economy.
Finally, I urge Nigerians to pray assiduously for our country’s future and the blessing of modern God-fearing leadership. To remember the words of Patrick Henry that “It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” And that never again shall Nigerians be chained and forced through the valley of leadership catastrophe, failure, misery and agony that APC and PDP, actually one and the same legion of darkness, have forced our citizens through in the last 21 years. One therefore cannot over-emphasize the need for all Nigerians of goodwill, irrespective of religion and tribe, to pray earnestly for our country and the new pan-Nigeria liberation struggle whose climax shall culminate in the people’s sweeping victory in 2023.
I urge every well-meaning Nigerian to consider this a sacred and urgent duty especially now you know that there shall be elections in 2023.
May the chains tyrants of our land in various station’s of life have forged over the years and the new ones they are forging for 2023 to keep Nigerians, our children and their posterity in the dungeons of perpetual poverty, ignorance, bloid-shedding savagery, stagnation and beggarly unwanted third-class citizens in cold, hostile and friendless foreign lands be broken through your resolve, sacrifices, prayers, freedom march and matching actions hereafter.
Finally, what is NCC-LIT’s position on Restructuring and Self-determination both of which agitations are increasing furiously across Nigeria?
Both agitations are arising from outrage against gross governance misrule and its concomitant calamities. Unfortunately, whatever measure of misrule and misery we are witnessing today under the present leadership at federal and state levels, the worst is yet to come in our country politically, economically, socially, and in terms of inter-ethnic hate baths, bloodbaths and dire general insecurity. Against our wish, this is an iron-cast and irreducible fact, unless there is a radical change of attitudes and governance dynamics especially in the nation’s Presidency and the Governors of the Northern states.
As NCC-LIT our position since 2018 is clear, concise and consistent. With the Buhari-APC junta and its kill and conquer mentality, Nigeria has come to the highest summit ever of bad governance and a horrible crossroad of history. From here, there are only two roads, unfortunately without the benefit of a third.
First is the present option of uncoordinated, non-consensus restructuring and self-determination agitations. With the Buhari type of stone-deaf pilots and closet vampires, this is like beggars wishing for royal horses to drop from the sky at their feet. There will be only one consequence, which is what we are seeing now: endless bloodshed from selective ethnic decimations and reprisal backlashes from ethnic victims.
So, we can continue to engage in this option and have a blood-spattered road to 2023, the Rwanda path of pathological bloodshed and collateral massacres of countless innocent Nigerians in different parts of our country.
The second option is the bloodless or least blood-stained road to 2023 and Nigeria’s Total freedom. This is to bring and unify the good citizens in every part of this country together to erase APC and PDP, the co-authors of the monstrous state Nigeria is in today, completely from every governance office throughout Nigeria, save their outstanding exceptions from state to state. This can and will happen through a massive, decisive Electoral Revolution and Victory in 2023 under the banner of Resident Democracy, an epic brand new political ideology with inviolate service compact with the people. Then immediately after victory in 2023 put a listening, reason-seasoned and devil-fearless Government in place which will comprehensively, without regards to tribe or religion, root out within 12 months every menace of insecurity from every inch of Nigeria’s soil and roll out within 24months a decisive, transparent and practical Restructuring Action, not Plan.
Finally, it has to be a Government determined to execute a Restructuring Model that will not, out of prejudice or malice, put any section of Nigeria at a disadvantage side by side others.
Like I said earlier, we don’t have the benefit of a third option.