Nigerians will choose their next leader in the 2023 election as it approaches. This election will be unique from all others since Nigerians have seen the worst economic and social misery in recent memory over the previous eight years.
The majority of Nigerians, according to various surveys conducted by both individuals and organizations, tend to want a change in leadership and to try to do things differently this time. Recent voter turnout for registration and the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) is at an all-time high, pointing to one thing: “Change.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which oversees elections in Nigeria, must be impartial and display no signs of weakness or partisanship in order to guarantee credible and fair elections for the country’s citizens. However, this is not the case as INEC has repeatedly been seen getting involved. The question at hand is whether INEC can be trusted with millions of votes.
CBN Unsafe for electoral materials:
On June 5th, 2022, INEC declared that they will no longer keep election materials with the CBN. The controversy surrounding CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele’s desire to run for president in 2023 while representing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led to the development.
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Numerous electoral materials were destroyed as a result of this action, and several INEC offices also suffered damage. Up till recently, unidentified gunmen assaulted and set fire to the INEC headquarters of the Idemili South Local Government in Anambra, destroying election materials in the process.
In order for registrants to have access to their information, INEC declared that the electoral register will be made public at the local government and polling unit levels. From November 12 through November 25, 2022, participants could also view this registration online.
Nigerians discovered tens of thousands of underage registrants, duplicate registrations, and foreign names with local faces less than 24 hours after the register was released. Nigerians cried out for the list to be reviewed for a very long time, but their screams went unheard because thousands of minor voters are still registered to vote less than two weeks before the election.
Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, stated during the commission’s third quarterly meeting with political parties in 2022 that the number of freshly registered voters was screened using its automated biometric identification system (ABIS) after millions of bogus voters were discovered.
After being enacted into law, the BVAS machine was used for the first time by residents of Osun State on July 16, 2022. The PDP candidate, Ademola Adeleke, was declared the winner after the election results were tallied and then announced. This led to celebrations across the state, but this happiness was fleeting because, on January 27, 2023, the tribunal court in the state capital of Oshogbo nullified the results and declared Gboyega Oyetola of the APC the winner of the elections.
This decision was made as a result of “overvoting,” which the renowned BVAS system was designed to eliminate because it is configured to accept results from registered voters only. Why is there “overvoting” then?
On February 8th, 2023, INEC stated that they were unable to comment on the tribunal’s ruling in the state of Osun.
Conveying of electoral materials by Tinubu’s thug;
Despite INEC’s claims that it is prepared for the elections, it appears that there are still logistical issues with less than two weeks to go. This is because INEC recently stated that it will be working with motor park managers to deliver election materials in many states, one of which is Lagos state with Mc Oluomo-led park committee. INEC decided it was advisable to put electoral materials in the hands of thugs and touts since Lagos state is notorious for its high degree of thuggery and election bullying.
Not having logistics plans in place less than two weeks before the general elections is risky because it may result in the elections being postponed, but leaving sensitive election materials for Bus park Managers to convey gives a chance for electoral materials to be tampered with is completely unacceptable.
Liking a post discrediting the Labour Party Presidential candidate;
On the 8th of February 2023, the official handle of INEC on Twitter was observed liking a tweet made by Seun Kuti, the son of the renowned musician FELA KUTI, in which he was tarnishing and making critical comments on the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, calling him an opportunist.
In a subsequent statement, the Commission claimed to be fair and unbiased, pledging to launch an investigation into the circumstances that led to the like of the stated post and vowing disciplinary action if a violation is proved.
For the first time in a long time, there will be three major contenders for the president in 2023; the question is whether INEC will conduct a credible election.
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