A non-governmental organisation, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), says that the $25,000 bribe reportedly paid to some presidential primary delegates each can pay three years’ salaries of a Nigerian university professor.
Intersociety regretted that such an amount could be paid to induce delegates while university lecturers had been on strike for close to four months over poor remuneration and funding of schools.
The group said, “The monthly remuneration (basic salary and allowances) of a Professor of Nigerian University presently stands at N416, 000 or N15m for three years.”
A statement by the group on Wednesday, signed by its Board Chair, Emeka Umeagbalasi; Head, Democracy and Good Governance, Chinwe Umeche, among others, said it was no longer going to be business as usual.
They noted that unlike in the past elections such as in 2011 and 2019 when some leading northern political players hid under religious extremism to organise and sponsor post-election mayhems targeted majorly at members of the Igbo ethnic nationality and their Trado-Judeo-Christian faith; the electoral umpire must get it right in 2023 to “avoid the explosion of post-election tsunami of unquenchable proportions across the country”.
It alleged that through the INEC conspiracy, “millions of eligible voters of old Eastern Nigeria and Midwest residents in the North-Central States of Plateau, Benue, Niger, FCT, Kogi and Nasarawa; Northeast States of Borno, Taraba, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe; Northwest States of Kaduna, Sokoto, Kano, Jigawa and Kebbi; and Southwest States of Lagos and Ogun were denied and are still being denied demographic or registration and voting centre accessibility for them to be captured as voters and allowed to vote during elections.
“During the 2019 Presidential Poll, they were targeted and destructively attacked in Lagos, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Kano and several other parts of the country.
“Apart from millions of them disenfranchised during the past voter registration and revalidation exercises, millions of others were also chased away from polling booths in the February 2019 Presidential Poll with their properties worth billions of naira destroyed or burnt to ashes.
“Millions of members of the sedentary Southeast and South-South population have also been disenfranchised by INEC by deliberately denying them from being captured as registered voters with PVCs hiding under ‘technical hitches’ or at the polling units on the Election Day.
“These are sharply in contrast with what was obtainable in the North, especially its Muslim held areas where most of the eligible voters were not only captured to vote with PVCs but also millions of underage and illegal aliens were registered as voters with PVCs and allowed to vote during elections.”
It said that checks conducted in various registration centres across the country, especially in the Igbo Southeast and South-South have shown that the Commission is at it again by playing pranks on the ongoing voters’ registration.
“Apart from massive disenfranchisement through shrinking constituency delineation exercise in recent past, especially in Igbo and Christian populated areas in the North and the Southwest, acute shortage of registration machines and manpower, especially in the named areas have been reported in the ongoing exercise with less than 22 days to go.
“INEC has also shut down its website segments for fresh voters’ registration, revalidation and transfer but still advertises them to be open and operational. Long queues of massive prospective voters involving hundreds of thousands, if not in their millions have dotted most of the registration centres in the Southeast, South-South and Igbo/Christian held areas of the Southwest and the North.”
The group alleged that the situation is different in the Muslim dominated areas of the country where “PVCs are issued to their owners including children of underage and illegal aliens by proxies including through Village Heads”.
“In several places monitored in Onitsha South, Onitsha North, Idemmili North, Ogbaru and Aguata in Anambra State, for instance, a price tag of between N2, 000 and N5, 000 is additionally imposed for getting to be registered,” it said.
It further stated, “These are some of the Commission’s undoing in its ongoing electoral midwifery capable of pushing millions of Nigerian youths/revolutionary voters from ‘Ballot Revolution’ to ‘Street Revolution’. These, INEC must desist from continuing to do and must have them frontally redressed and put to an end before it is too late.”
Saharareporters, New York