As Nigeria, Nigerians and the international community await the official results of the referenced crucial polls in Nigeria, the leadership ofInternational Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law in Southeast Nigeria, being the rights based organization in Nigeria that had earliest entry into the 2015 general polls’ advocacy in the country including the just held segments; and having made our position, observations and reservations publicly known; has resolved to take a critical look at the socio-cultural consequences (negative) of the polls’ management and conducts under the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headed by Prof Attahiru M. Jega. The grand aim is geared towards making them an eternal reference point in contemporary election industry in Nigeria and beyond as well as to ensure their proper remedies to avoid transforming into widespread post election violence and wanton calamities. We also wish to ensure that they are not repeated in the country or any part thereof in subsequent polls.
Highlighted Failures Of The Referenced Polls’ Management Under INEC:
1. Perceived introduction of ethnicity and religion by INEC and other key electoral actors into the National Register of Voters particularly as it concerns registration of voters and distribution of permanent voters’ cards
2. Gross lopsidedness in the distribution of PVCs, which optimally captured the two dominant tribes of Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba and minimally captured the Igbo tribe and ethnic minorities particularly those originated from or resided in the former’s home areas.
3. Existence of informal policies in the country’s election management that ensure uneven and discriminatory electoral demographic congregation and aggregation of citizens of voting age as registered voters instead of formal policies that will ensure non discrimination on the basis of sex, tribe, religion or place of origin. These informal policies also encourage and ensure voters’ suppression and cleansing particularly among Igbo and ethnic minorities of southern and northern extractions. This is in addition to failure by INEC to take into account the pluralistic and multi ethno-religious composition of the country and need to ensure multi ethno-religious electoral policies and actions.
4. Manifest desperation by some electoral top shots to appropriate the presidency to the north at all costs using ethnically cleansed national register of voters and lopsided appropriation of permanent voters’ cards as well as adamant refusal to allow the use of temporary voters’ cards, which would have leveled up the referenced gross lopsidedness between north and south with over eight (8) million northern PVCs advantage over the south.
5. Historic introduction of electronic poll manipulation into the national register of voters using segregated electronic voters’ cards and card readers.
6. Creation of special polling units for the northeast Muslim IDPs without recourse to amendment of the 2010 Electoral Act.
7. Segregation and denial of voting rights to over three million registered voters of northeast, northwest and north-central origin and residency displaced by Boko Haram and Fulani jihadist insurgencies.
8. Systematic and politically conceived uprooting and pogrom targeted and carried out against minority Christian populations in the northeast and the north-central zones using the instruments of Boko Haram and Fulani Jihadist insurgencies for the purpose of forceful religious conversion and cleansing as well as political enslavement.
9. Displacement and psycho-physical eviction of over three million Igbo natives particularly traders in the northeast, the northwest and the north-central zones using ethno-religious group violence including religious fundamentalist insurgency; for the purpose of ethno-religious cleansing and political enslavement.
10. Use of majoritarian political suppression to contest and wrestle power off other federating partners perceived to have lesser populations with the incumbent headship of Nigeria’s presidency as the target; thereby questioning, threatening and undermining their socio-ethnic existence and identities.
11. Reversion to and resurrection in 2015 polls of old political slaves and political masters governing style in Nigeria; a political deal of the old Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba power equation; designed to make other federating partners in Nigeria political slaves to the former.
12. Rejection and cancellation by leading political actors of Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba extractions of fair and equitable rotational presidency among the six geo- political zones and preference by the referenced of rotational presidency between north and south for the purpose of ensuring exchange of presidential power between the two at the expense of other federating partners in Nigeria.
13. Manifest partisanship of the CSOs with dominance in the Southwest leading to their leprous attachment with a leading opposition party in Nigeria and their defensive and protective relationship with INEC.
14. Clear shift in the public opinion whereby INEC in Nigeria is no longer accused of hobnobbing with the ruling federal party but with the leading opposition federal party.
15. Disenfranchisement of and denial of voting rights to 12.4 million registered voters majorly of Igbo and minority extractions in Nigeria.
16. Inability and somehow deliberate refusal for political reasons to capture at least five million citizens of voting age belonging to pastoral and sedentary Igbo natives in Nigeria; likewise hundreds of thousands of minorities of voting age during voters’ registration exercises in Nigeria.
17. High incidence of under-age voting and registration of hundreds of thousands of under-age voters in the north as registered voters for the purpose of shoring up the northern voting population and maintenance of the age-long officially hyped population superiority of the north over the south.
18. Introduction and monumental failure of the electronic card reader technology in the 2015 polls in Nigeria.
19. Official promotion of primordialism and clannishness in Nigeria’s 2015 general polls leading to political campaigns and voting centered along ethno-religious lines.
20. General failures on the part of INEC in the 2015 general elections’ management starting from voters’ registration and revalidation including voter’s card transfer, printing, use and issuance of permanent voters’ cards, refusal to allow temporary voters’ cards for the purpose of voting, safety and theft of permanent voters’ cards, perceived introduction of ethnicity and religion in the PVC distribution, procurement, use and management of electronic card readers, woeful failure of the card readers in polling stations, inadequate dissemination of public information, pride and inferiority complex on the part of some INEC’s top tops leading to failure in electoral policies and actions of the Commission, non-neutrality, rushing and mastication of ICT and rustication of manual or alternative technology, non admission of faults and mistakes on the part of INEC’s top management, disenfranchisement of 12.4 million registered voters without reasonable, excusable and legal grounds, among others.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor, Esq., Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program