Notable writers have quoted Josef Stalin who said “The people who cast the vote decide nothing: The people who count the votes decide everything.” This saying may once again come true in May 2007. OBJ, the president that has displayed an authoritarian leadership andhold the power to seek and receive what he wants has acknowledged the outrageous level of power failure in the country. He has noted that the inconsistency of power supply is becoming worrisome. In view of his acknowledgement of the issue that is well known by the citizens that suffers from the pain of living their lives in darkness, it is perhaps important to extract a hidden agenda from the saga of inconsistent power supply.
INEC Voting Machines
The planned voting machines for the upcoming elections use batteries that only last for three hours. Information has not been fully shared as to the number of replacement batteries available for each machine or the availability of electricity to charge the batteries if applicable. If these machines are truly the conduit to enfranchising the populace, it may spell doom for those contesting against the dominant PDP party that seem to have a solid grip on the officials of INEC. If INEC does not have back up batteries, how long would it take to recharge the batteries? Would the polling booth be closed up when the batteries run dead? Will Nigerians be disenfranchised by the mechanism INEC has in place?
Counting The Votes
Where will the votes be counted? What measures do we have in place to ensure that the votes are not modified in the process of moving them from the voting locations to the Electoral Commissioner’s Office or the counting locations. It is important to clarify through well-advertised means if the offices are equipped to handle the effective monitoring, tracking and counting of the votes. If the electoral offices are to be used as the central locations, how would the ballots boxes get there, safe, sealed and un-fiddled? For instance, the Lagos State INEC Headquarters at 6, Birrel Avenue, Sabo Yaba is not within a reasonable distance from other parts of Lagos State.Commuting in Lagos is a nightmare. What will happen to those in Ejirin and Ketu by Ijebu Ode? These two villages are part of Lagos State.
Truly, would some of the ballots boxes go missing for days? Are the Resident Electoral Commissioners exempt from corruption? These are questions Nigerians should be asking OBJ/INEC and his one-man tactical team as we prepare for the elections. If these issues are not addressed, the courts will be flooded with cases of those that believe they have been rigged out of their legitimate positions. It will be a sad situation for Nigerians and Nigeria if the election is rigged and legitimate winners are winged out of the positions they deserve.
Electoral Court Cases
As we all know, nothing positive realistically comes out of the Nigerian court system as it relates to contesting election results unless, the person at the helm of our political affairs chooses to make it happen. The Ngige/Obi case only happened because the Presidency was against Ngige and wanted him out for his disloyalty to his godfather who has close liaison with Aso Rock. OBJ holds too many aces and serves as a political bulldozer over others. This is not democratic and it creates an unfair balance.
Somehow, as much as I detest Atiku because I believe he is corrupt beyond measure and detest the ongoing battle between the top two officials, I continue to hope Atiku stays on OBJ, revealing all he knows about OBJ’s corruptive leanings (factual or not) so in the overall scheme of things, the distraction may yield something positive for the nation on the long run. According to the information extracted verbatim from the INEC website, “The government of Nigeria will play a key role in contributing to a secure and conducive environment for the organisations of the elections.” This is where the fear of most contestants should be. A questionable system providing guidance to a supposedly independent body.