OP-ED| Early Analysis of #KogiDecides Figures Shows A Disturbing Pattern of Disenfranchisement
In my piece written on the Friday preceding yesterday’s election, I predicted an outright win for the incumbent Governor of Kogi State Gov. Idris Wada. This was not only a result of my affiliation with the PDP but mainly because of what I had seen on ground in three days spent in several places across the state. In the Osun elections, facts, figures and sentiments on ground all pointed to an outright victory for the incumbent Aregbesola and I called it as I saw it – a straight win for Rauf Aregbesola; I try not to let my sentiments outweigh what the figures say.
The caveat of the piece I wrote on #KogiDecides was that if all things were equal, Wada would win. All things were certainly not equal and INEC has a lot of explaining to do on the results from Kogi. In writing the piece on Friday, I relied heavily on certain voter sentiments and especially information from top politicians in both parties. As I stated therein, Wada was seen as the lesser of two evils (an usual conundrum with politics in Nigeria) and the sentiments were certainly in his favour even from the APC camp. What APC had done before the election was to try to paint a picture of overwhelming popularity for its candidate Abubakar Audu which was a far reflection from the sentiments on ground. For this piece though, sentiments cannot be my guide as it is what it is. We would rather look hard at the figures and decipher the clear patterns. Presented below is a table of the results as largely announced by INEC with the exception of Okene, Mopa-Muro and Kabba-Bunu LGAs which are supplied by @vanguardngrnews as announced on ground by INEC.
What these figures show is that about 60,500 people left their homely morning duties, came out of their homes on election morning with the intent to vote, queued in the morning sun with PVC or TVC in hand, brazed the odds of card-readers not reading their fingerprints, filled an incident form which allowed them to vote and simply went back home and forgot to return to vote. I do not for one moment believe they forgot to come back and vote or that the afternoon sun proved too hot and therefore discouraging for them to return – this number is totally unprecedented in any election conducted so far by INEC in 2015. The difference between registered voters and accredited voters is usually high across the country but from every data available from INEC, no election has produced anything higher than a 5% reduction in the number of accredited voters and eventual voters. In this election, the percentage difference is about 12.3% – a whopping 60,500 voters.
And that number is crucial because it could have made a difference on the side of the PDP.
Alahaji Lamidi Adedibu once boasted that he knew over 70 methods of rigging and one major one was to decrease the number of votes scored by an opponent in his stronghold while not inflating one’s own. How the incumbent Gov. Wada’s home Local Government recorded the highest number of accredited voters who did not return to vote (9,650) is becoming obvious. A further 17,454 could not vote due to cancellation occasioned by violence or insecurity. The law makes it clear that any area where there is violence, the results are automatically cancelled and this happened mainly in Wada’s stronghold.
Rigging has gone beyond Adedibu’s methodology – it is now scientific. With the advent of forensic review of ballot papers at Tribunals now, the way to rig is no longer by obtaining blank ballot papers and thumbprinting them (a single unique thumbprint on a thousand ballot papers is an obvious sign of rigging). What is done now instead is to wait till voters have duly voted and then destroy as many of the opponent’s ballot papers as needed to secure a marginal victory. So if PDP has 15,000 votes to APC’s 12,000 votes for instance, all anyone with the intent to rig for APC has to do is to destroy 4,000 PDP thumbprinted ballot papers, leave the results as 11,000 for PDP and 12,000 for APC while claiming that 4,000 accredited voters did not show up to vote after all.
Apart from the obvious uselessness of accreditation before voting, these results call for more study by the PDP and it is definitely a case for the Tribunal.
Demola Olarewaju is a political analyst and strategist who tweets from @DemolaRewaju
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