By Horatio Adurogbangba, Nigerian Activist and Writer.
We are all witnesses to the devastating history of electoral fraud in Nigeria. Since the first republic, elections have been, at times a violent, do or die contest for control of state power and public resources. Previous democratic experiments failed mainly because of disputed, flawed elections. We achieved some progress due to electoral reforms initiated by late President Yar’Adua, himself an admitted beneficiary of electoral malfeasance, based on recommendations of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Commission.
Popular Read: Top 5 Most Corrupt Elections Riggers In Nigeria.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP Presidential Candidate, ran an uninspired campaign. Although an opposition candidate who could focus his entire attention on the presidential race, Atiku Abubakar visited but 20 states. Meanwhile President Muhammadu Buhari visited all 36 states and the FCT. Many of Atiku’s campaign rallies were characterized by scanty attendance. His events lacked the energy and passion evident in the APC rallies. Most telling of all, Atiku’s campaign was an ineffective messenger. His campaign document, the Atiku Plan, was stillborn. It crashed from inattention and apathy before having a chance to take off. Barely a week after publishing it, Atiku never mentioned it again. Devoid of a positive message to give the people, his campaign team implemented their infamous Dubai Strategy, deploying lies and publicity stunts to gain public sympathy and distract the electorate from the fact that corruption is their most fitting epithet.
An example of these empty stunts was his visit to America. Atiku Abubakar paid lobbyists and others over a million dollars for a two day visit to the place. If Atiku’s aim was to make history, He succeeded, but not in the way he wants. The man succeeded in purchasing the most expensive temporary visa in the annals of recorded travel between two nations. For him to spend such a lavish sum for such a meager visit portends his designs on the national treasury. He did not spend that much money just to lose it. If he gains high office, Atiku will much more than enrich his friends. He will make himself the supreme potentate. Money will bear his face and name because he will believe all the money is his. In short, the visit to America was an expensive attempt to convince the Nigerian people that Atiku was legitimate to the outside world.
Ongoing investigations since the election postponement indicate that PDP and Atiku have deployed their evil cunning in an attempt to corrupt the electoral process. It appears that they had bribed some election officials to pre-program smart card readers so that they appear dumb and transmit false results to INEC headquarters. This is why the card readers have had to be wiped clean and reprogrammed. They have also spent heavily to buy the loyalty of some INEC staff and NYSC ad hoc staff. They have gained possession of ballot papers and have manufactured close counterfeits of the genuine papers which they thumb-printed in advance to pad the vote in their own strongholds. They had hired thugs and ruffians to make a mess of things and bring disorder where they know they cannot rig the returns. They used this exact same template in past elections, but they must never be allowed to do this again. Enough is enough.
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