INEC: When Integrity took flight

By Emmanuel Onwubiko

The much anticipated February 25th 2023 Presidential and Legislative elections have come but not gone yet due to many man-made corrupting tendencies on the part of the electoral commission’s hierarchy headed by Professor Yakubu Mahmood.

So much of disappointing episodes and incidents characterised that election conducted all over the Country with lots of violence and killings engineered by politicians.

But what the election shows is the absolute integrity deficit that exists within the rank and files of Commissioners and the head of that election commission.

The flight of integrity has been observed by not just President Olusegun Obasanjo the erstwhile Nigerian head of state but even by the European Union and international observers from Great Britain, Commonwealth of Nations based in London and the USA.

They all chorused one salient issue which is the lack of transparency in the ways and manners that INEC managed the election.

These observers are saying the correct things.

We will repeat their statements including that of former President Obasanjo whose honest letter has already drawn criticism from the unthinking and recklessly insensitive officials working at the office of President Muhammadu Buhari who speak for him for so much of his eight years regime.

But first, I will give a very extensive citation on the philosophical underpinning of OBSERVATIONS as written by a Scholar whom we will know after his citations are quoted herein.

The American author wrote as follows: “I will often fly great distances to meet someone face-to-face, even when I can say much of what needs to be said over the phone. If it’s important, or if it’s a relationship that may be long-term, I want to form impressions based on what I observe even more than on what I hear.”

He then informed us tha after all, the impression you have from meeting someone in person is often quite different from that formed in speaking over the phone.

He says observation is an aggressive act. People are constantly revealing themselves in ways that will go unnoticed unless you are aggressively involved in noticing them.

The statements people make about themselves, he argues, or the signals they give off, are both conscious and unconscious. ‘Body language’, as these unconscious signals are commonly called, is certainly important, but it isn’t even half the story.

To him, most visual statements are quite conscious and intentional – the way someone dresses, the way he carries himself, and all the other ways people go about trying to create a particular impression. But these signals are only as useful as your ability to pick them up.

He went on thus: “Aggressive observation means going after the big picture, taking all these conscious and unconscious signals, weighing them, and converting them into usable perceptions. When I meet someone face-to-face, what I am trying to establish more than anything else is a comfort zone – the picture frame so to speak – or the boundaries I need to observe, based on what I see and hear, which will best enable me to deal with that person.”

The author then repeats that aggressive observation does not mean hasty observation -jumping too quickly to conclusions, over-responding to conventional interpretations, or reading meaning into things where none exists. For instance, when I am meeting at someone elses office I have often noticed that people will sort of ‘lean in’ to the situation when they are ready to get serious, even unconsciously using their hands to push everything on their desk a couple of inches forward.

Yet almost as often I have seen people at this same point lean back in their chairs and feign a totally relaxed position, he affirmed.

He then stated that to generalize about either, then, or to jump to some hasty conclusion, would be as foolish as it would be misleading. Almost any useful observation must be considered within the larger context of the situation, and what else you are hearing and seeing. (WHAT THEY DON’T TEACH YOU AT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL by MARK H. McCORMACK).

I will narrate exactly why these long citations are key to what we intend to say about the flight of integrity, honour and excellence from the leadership of the morally deficient Independent National Electoral Commission headed by Professor Yakubu Mahmood who lectured at the Nigerian Defence Academy which produces the bulk of the officers Corps of the Nigerian Army which is the largest Army in Africa.

The conduct of the February 25th Presidential and national Assembly election was marred by irregularities of failure willfully by INEC to adhere strictly by the precepts, dictates of the law and the clear provisions of the electoral Act even when both the Chairman and the spokesman of INEC Festus Okoye made heavy weather of complying by the Guidelines.

In the next paragraph, you will read what INEC said last year’s September about last Saturday’s poll which they messed up. Yakubu Mahmood is on tape and video around November of 2022 denying an Intel which revealed exactly what has just happened last Saturday that the electoral commission does not intend to transmit election results real time from the Unit polling stations to the website of INEC so all Nigerians will see the real, undeclared results of the election from the Grassroots. Yakubu Mahmood swore that his INEC wouldn’t do that. But this was a lie. His INEC did even worst because INEC left the All Progressives Congress and their political thugs including soldiers and police to make sure that the real results were mutilated and never transmitted through the BIVAS and IReV. The stealing of the real results were so brazenly done to favour the APC. Does Professor Yakubu Mahmood have any shame left in him? Do they have consciences in INEC?

On the pledge to obey the law, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is committed to the deployment of the bimodal voter registration system (BVAS) for the 2023 elections.

Festus Okoye, INEC commissioner for information and voter education, spoke around September of 2022 during an interview with Channels Television.

BVAS is a device introduced by INEC which allows for accreditation of voters through biometrics capturing, uploading of polling results and other functions.

Stakeholders have described BVAS as an upgrade of the smartcard reader, which was used in the 2019 elections, and a game changer in the country’s electoral process.

Recently, some reports emerged on social media claiming that a lawsuit has been instituted before the federal high court in Owerri, Imo state, seeking to stop INEC from using BVAS for the 2023 elections.

Reacting to the development, Okoye said the use of BVAS for elections in the country is stipulated in the Electoral Act of 2022.

The INEC spokesperson said the commission is not scared of any legal action which may seek to challenge the legality of the use of BVAS.

He added that Nigerians have accepted the use of BVAS and that the commission will not relent on its commitment to improve the electoral process via technology.

“The BVAS is domiciled within the confines of the Electoral Act of 2022 and we do not have any fear whatsoever in relations to the validity and legality of the BVAS and other technological and electronic devices we are using for elections,” Okoye said.

“The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has given INEC the exclusive right, power and mandate to organise, undertake and supervise elections that are captured within the confines of the constitution.

‘We are accountable to the people of this country and the people have accepted the BVAS as a game changer in our electoral process.

“We cannot, under any circumstances, go back in the use of BVAS for the purpose of voter accreditation and we can’t also go back on the issue of transmitting polling unit level results into our INEC result viewing portal.

“These two mechanisms and protocols are sacrosanct and the commission is committed to using them during the 2023 general election.”

However, as has been observed by both domestic and international election observers,INEC showed a total lack of integrity and honesty as shown in the conduct of Nigeria’s most criminally hijacked election inthe history of elections since 1960. Officials of INEC displayed a lack of integrity which manifested so clearly as to convey the message on what exactly is the character of those officials. If integrity and good character are lacking in any institution, it is therefore not so different from any organised criminal gang or a cartel of drug peddlers. In the subsequent paragraphs, we will drop citations on integrity and character so we determine how bad it is that INEC showed a lack of integrity and character last Saturday.

Dave Anderson wrote thus: “Character and integrity are both important, but they are not synonymous. In fact, integrity without the right character can spell trouble! Here are the dictionary’s descriptions: Character: The combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another. A distinguishing feature or attribute, as of an individual, group, or category.”

He then asserted that based on this description, it’s easiest to think of character as one’s moral and ethical code. It is a combination of inside traits that determine outward behavior. Now look at the definition of integrity: Integrity: Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

He wrote also thus: “When you combine character and integrity here’ s what you get: character is one’s moral and ethical code, and integrity means that one lives according to that code. Thus, someone who lives with integrity, lives according to their moral values. That being said, you must first determine the moral values–the code–of that person in order to ascertain whether or not living with integrity is a good or bad thing. For example: If someone has a moral code that says they should inflict injury upon a person of another religion or race and they do so they are, by definition, living with integrity. Unsettling, isn’t it?

On the other hand, he said, if an individual has a strong moral and ethical code but compromises what is right when it serves popular opinion, or in order to achieve personal gain, they are not living with integrity. Despite the quality of their character, their failure to live by their code creates significant behavioral problems. Dave Anderson has just stated clearly what the issues are with the officials of the INEC. Tje situation is so deplorable that the IRI and NDI in their preliminary statement on the Presidential and National Assembly elections, presented in Abuja by their leader, and former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, said despite the much-needed reforms to the Electoral Act 2022, the election fell well short of Nigerian citizens’ reasonable expectations.

The foreign observers on the Nigeria 2023 International Election Observation Mission also urged the international community to sanction perpetrators of electoral violence in the ongoing general election in Nigeria.

Those who spoke on the occasion included, Former President of the Republic of Malawi, who is the head of the delegation, Banda, and Ambassador Mark Green, who is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Woodrow Wilson, an International Center for Scholars.

Other speakers included, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, a former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State; and an IRI Board Member, Constance Berry Newman, who was a former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.

They also included NDI Board Member, who is an American political leader, lawyer/ voting rights activist, Stacey Abrams and IRI Board Member, Dana White, a foreign policy and communications advisor.

Banda said, “The delegation observed that late opening of polling locations and logistical failures created tensions and the secrecy of the ballot was compromised in some polling units given overcrowding. At the close of the polls, challenges with the electronic transfer of results and their upload to a public portal in a timely manner, undermined citizen confidence at a crucial moment of the process.

“Moreover, inadequate communication and lack of transparency by INEC about their cause and extent created confusion and eroded voters’ trust in the process.

“The combined effect of these problems disenfranchised Nigerian voters in many areas, although the scope and scale is currently unknown. Despite these issues, Nigerians once again demonstrated their commitment to the democratic process.

“Voters displayed extraordinary resilience and resolve to have their voices heard through the ballot, and INEC administered a nationwide election according to the electoral calendar for the first time in the country’s recent history.”

“As the nation awaits the results of the February 25 polls and the Nigerian people prepare for upcoming gubernatorial elections, we urge political actors and their supporters to remain calm and exercise restraint.

‘The mission encourages INEC, the government, political actors and civil society to redouble their efforts to deliver on citizen expectations for transparent and inclusive elections, and to ensure that electoral outcomes are a credible expression of the voters’ will.”

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has raised the alarm that danger is lurking around the country over the alleged compromise of the ongoing election process.

Obasanjo appealed to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), to prevail on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, to stop the process and rectify the allegations raised against it from many quarters.

The presidential and National Assembly elections were held on Saturday and the collation of results was being done at the National Collation Centre in Abuja.

The Peoples Democratic Party and Labour Party have kicked against the process, describing it as compromised.

A former senator from Kogi West, Dino Melaye, and other party representatives walked out of the centre after raising issues bordering on irregularities in the process of the election.

Obasanjo in a personally signed letter titled, “An appeal for caution and rectification,” released on Monday, said some politicians had compromised some electoral officials to make the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System machines not to work.

He said, “I am constrained to speak at this point. I crave the indulgence of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency General Muhammadu Buhari, to make this statement because I have had opportunity to keep him aware of what I know is happening and the danger looming ahead.

“On many occasions in the past, I have not hesitated to point out lacuna in the action of the President and his government. But as far as the election issues are concerned, the President has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he will want to leave a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

“Until last Saturday night, February 25, 2023, the good and noble plan and preparation for the elections seemed to be going well. For the Independent National Electoral Commission, a lot of money was spent to introduce Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), and the server for immediate transmission of results from polling units. It is no secret that INEC officials, at operational levels, have been allegedly compromised to make what should have worked not to work and to revert to manual transmission of results which is manipulated and the results doctored.

“The Chairman of INEC may claim ignorance but he cannot fold his hands and do nothing when he knows that election process has been corrupted and most of the results that are brought outside BVAS and server are not a true reflection of the will of Nigerians who have made their individual choice. At this stage, we do not need wittingly or unwittingly to set this country on fire with the greed, irresponsibility and unpatriotic act of those who allegedly gave money to INEC officials for perversion and those who collected the blood money.

“Let me appeal to the Chairman of INEC, if his hands are clean, to save Nigeria from the looming danger and disaster which is just waiting to happen. If the Chairman can postpone elections four days to the election, he can do everything to rectify the errors of the last two days – no BVAS, no result to be acceptable; and no uploading through Server, no result to be acceptable.

“Whereas, BVAS and Servers have been manipulated or rendered inactive, such results must be declared void and inadmissible for election declaration. Chairman INEC, I have thought that you would use this wonderful opportunity to mend your reputation and character for posterity.

“Your Excellency, President Buhari Muhammadu, tension is building up and please let all elections that do not pass the credibility and transparency test be cancelled and be brought back with areas where elections were disrupted for next Saturday, March 4, 2023, and BVAS and Server officials be changed. To know which stations or polling units were manipulated, let a committee of INEC staff and representatives of the four major political parties with the Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association look into what must be done to have hitch-free elections next Saturday.

“Mr. President, may your plan and hope for leaving a legacy of free, fair, transparent and credible election be realised. Mr. President, please don’t let anybody say to you that it does not matter or it is the problem of INEC. On no account should you be seen as part of the collusion or compromise. When the die is cast, it will be your problem as the Chief Executive of the nation. The Chairman of INEC may sneak out of the country or go back to his Ivory Tower. Your Excellency, thank you for hearing me out.

“Compatriot Nigerians, please exercise patience until the wrong is righted. I strongly believe that nobody will toy with the future and fortune of Nigeria at this juncture.”

The federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari who has in the last eight years led this Country as a lawless and ruthless dictator with no respect for Rule of Law has already dismissed these well ordered thinking of erstwhile President Olusegun Obasanjo who is a senior in the Army to President Muhammadu Buhari who retired as a Major General but Obasanjo retired as a full fledged General.

As predicted by President Obasanjo, PProtest has just eerupted in Asaba over presidential election.

Protest has broken out in Asaba, the Delta State capital, over the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections.

In a video seen on Tuesday morning making the rounds on social media, youths in their hundreds are seen chanting the name of the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.

The voice behind the video said, “This is happening live in Asaba now. Obi must be the president of Nigeria whether they like it or not. Our votes now.”

The Peter Obi Grassroots Mobilisation captioned the video, “The Asaba youths are protesting right now demanding that INEC should do the right (thing) and stop the ongoing rigging.”

Another tweep, Charles, who posted another video from the protest wrote, “Peaceful protest ongoing in Asaba. We will take this country back from them by God’s grace.”

The question Nigerians should ask Professor Yakubu Mahmood is where is your wife and Children? Have you smuggled your immediate family to foreign jurisdiction and you and your INEC are willfully pushing the nation through the precipis of disintegration and chaos? It is high time that the USA and UK and other Countries in the West, impose travel ban on the INEC officials for this monumental electoral heists that they are supervising at this moment.


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