The returns of civil rules in Nigeria from 1999 witnessed six (6) consecutive elections without any form of disruption or interruption by the military which is the first of it’s kind in our history as a nation.
Organizing free, fair and credible elections in a complex country like Nigeria is not in anyway going to be easy due to vested interests of our elites who always look at the country from restricted scope of protecting their personal interests to the detriment of the common man.
The aftermath of every elections is followed by series of election petitions challenging the outcomes of the results declared, which leads to the nullifications or affirmations of the declared winners.
In tracing the recent history of electoral malpractices one maybe forced not to overlook the roles of former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice-president Atiku Abubakar who designed a ‘SCIENTIFIC RIGGING FORMULA’ which was used to manipulates the outcomes of 2003 general elections instead of strengthening our electoral processes that will lead to the gradual eliminations and sacking of greedy, rogues and selfish politicians from the political arena of our dear country who derives undue advantages and benefits of electoral frauds.
Had it been late Yar’adua live longer, he could have pursuits vigorous electoral reforms in Nigeria. When he came to power in 2007, late president Yar’adua admitted that, the election that brought him to power is characterized by frauds and expressed his commitment, dedication, desire and intention to undertake a comprehensive electoral reforms that will end the manipulation of elections results that leads to the imposition of unpopular candidates who’s main concerned is to recoup the money they spent with profits.
To achieve his desire and accomplish his mission to bring sanity and transparency in our electoral system, late Yaradua constituted election reforms committee headed by former CJN Lawal Uwais who recommended for the establishment of electoral/elecetion commission that will be saddled with the power to investigate and prosecute those that committed any form of electoral offence(s).
After the death of President Yaradua, concerned Nigerians keep appealing and calling on the former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to implement the recommendations of Uwais’ s committee in order to guide and protect our electoral system which do not see the light of the day.
The culture of electoral frauds that becomes well established and pervasive forced the INEC to postponed Presidential/National Assembly elections from 16th-23rd February 2019 as a result of compromised by some INEC staffs assigned with logistics among other factors best known to the INEC management.
Before the final election results were announced and winners declared the leading opposition party PDP rejected the results in a press conference by it’s National Chairman Chief Uche Secondus that the elections results were manipulated.
In view of the above, I am appealing to the President Muhammadu Buhari as a matter of urgency to quickly adopt and implement the recommendations of Uwais’s committee specifically the establishment of national electoral commission to handle all elections related offences and bring the offenders to justice from the least to the highest or the most serious offences. The electoral offences and their punishments may not be limited to the following offences:
- Multiple elections/thumbprinting should be punished with 10 years imprisonment and fine not below #500, 000:00
- Disruption of election processes should be punished with with 15 years imprisonment and #1000, 000:00 fine.
- Unathourised possession of election materials should be punished with 20 years imprisonment and a fine of #2000, 000:00.
- Printing of fake ballots papers should attract 20 years imprisonment and fine of #10, 000, 000:00.
- Election violence that occasioned death should be punished with death sentence. If no death is involved should be punished with 20 years imprisonment and fine of #10, 000, 000:00
- Moving with thugs will lead to the disqualification of candidates and on conviction will attract 20 years imprisonment and #10, 000, 000:00 fine.
- Any staff of INEC that compromised his position at whatever level, should in addition to dismissal be punished with 10 years imprisonment and a fine of #10, 000, 000:00.
- Anyone found in possession of PVC that belongs to other persons should be punished with 15 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding #10, 000, 000:00.
- Hacking and attempted hacking of INEC website should attract 20 years imprisonment and #20, 000, 000:00 fine.
- Deliberate manipulation of election results will attract 15 years and #10, 000, 000:00 fine.
In addition to the above, election offences divisions should be created in our high courts to facilitate speedy trials of electoral offenders.
Ado Umar Lalu writes from Jigawa, can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org, 08060306089.