By Damon Ochei
Maurice Iwu has been tentatively relieved of the title of the worst INEC chairman in Nigeria’s history, it is safe to say Mahmood Yakubu unanimously holds that title now.
In the case of Iwu, not much transparency and accountability was expected of him, so for those familiar with Nigerian politics at the time, it did not come as a complete surprise that he oversaw shambolic electoral processes that did not reflect the will of the people. But Iwu can be excused on certain allegations because he did not have the technology available to Yakubu today.
Yakubu presents himself as a good guy, one with good intent and purpose but like any fraudster or assassin his motives are heinous. Typical of people like him, they deceive their victims with some make-believe before swooping in on them like hawks against the glare of the sun.
Yakubu’s MO is to conduct some isolated elections as he did in Osun, Bayelsa, Ekiti, etc. to make Nigerians believe he’s the real deal but like any circus professional, he keeps the best for last.
On the surface, Yakubu keeps a straight face and comes across as a man of integrity but make no mistake, he’s no Attahiru Jega, he is a phony, a fake, and a cheap replica at that.
He convinced Nigerians about his credibility and made voters comfortable. He made all sought of claims as to how the 2023 elections would be free, fair, and transparent but the truth is that he had sold his soul to the devil and there was no turning back. Yakubu and his supporting cast at INEC will go down in history as the worst electoral officials in Nigeria’s history.
INEC staff deliberately did not turn up early in places where the opposition had the majority of its voters and in a pocket of places where they showed up the BVAS wasn’t working or the polling unit list was incorrect. It’s perhaps the most laughable showing ever witnessed.
The bid to own Yakubu’s INEC was up to the highest bidder and usually, that falls to the incumbent in most cases. INEC election drama began with voters waiting endlessly for INEC officials to arrive at polling units to officials’ stop-start in the result announcement was the crescendo of the melodrama.
BVAS and IReV were two technologies that were used to hoodwink Nigerians. Yakubu got many Nigerians to believe that he was capable of conducting a free, fair, and transparent election
If Yakubu wanted to conduct a decent election, then Nigeria should not be having polling units within reach of thugs. Elections are held in buildings for safety but no, Yakubu was colluding with his partners in crime.
There are hundreds of thousands of event centers, town halls, etc. in Nigeria, each one can house 10 polling units. That way the security operatives available can be properly apportioned to man the door. This will make it more difficult for miscreants to snatch ballot papers.
Yakubu will pay for the pathetic elections he oversaw and for fostering unpopular leaders in Nigerians. He has assassinated the desires, hopes, and aspirations of many Nigerians and he will go down in his history as the infamous INEC chairman that oversaw the most undemocratic election in recent times.
Damon Ochei writes from Edmonton, Canada