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Owo ward result: The monkey hand in Enugu governorship election magic



By Sunny Igboanugo

Government magic! Babanla nonsense! Democrazy! Demonstration of Craze! Crazy Demonstration! These were the words of Fela Anikulapo, the late Afrobeat king with which he tried to capture Nigeria’s variance of democracy. Hear him: People no go vote, dem come get big-big numbers – thousands to thousands – millions to millions. Na decocrazy be that!

Now this was after the 1983 elections. How long is that now? That’s 40 clear years. Now, in those 40 years, the same people who brought the idea of democracy to Nigeria, have practically turned man into woman and vice versa – something nobody thought was ever possible. They call it transgender. In 1983, when Fela sang of the sorry state of Nigerian election, who could have thought that a woman in her farm at Eha-Amufu would pick up her phone and call her son in Lagos or Maiduguri to complain of her ailing knees and get the instant soothing words she needs to carry on or that one would enter a car and programme it, sit comfortably and be watching a movie, while the car takes him to his destination, safely and comfortably, without having to shout at his driver.

That’s the level the world has moved. Yet in Africa as retrogression remains the name of the game, the people continue to grapple with most basic elements of life, not because they are completely ignorant of what happens elsewhere, or because they lack the template to redeem themselves, but because they have become prisoners to the most retrogressive enablers of bad behaviour – primordial sentiments.

As Fela sang: In Africa, as time de gooo things just de bad, de bad more and more. Poor man de cry, rich man de mess! Yes, because of the mess the big man makes, the poor have remained the butt of the society, have remained at the receiving end of a swivelling, tempestuous, whirlwind of vicious cycle. They have remained in their sedate, innate and sedimentary state, simply because they lack the means to extricate themselves from the vice grip of their traducers – too helpless to act and failing to act because they are helpless.

Just like many other states, Enugu presents a demonstrably perfect example of this vicious cycle. In the last 24 years, it has found itself in this vice grip, where a political tendency, which burst into the state with some uncanny fanfare, has virtually taken a life of its own, growing into a monstrous behemoth, stamping down on any sort of organic growth that managed to sprout out from the ground with the prospect to give the people a new lease of life.

That nobody can turn the taps in Enugu today, as in most cities in Nigeria and water will flow from a public source, flows from the direct consequence of the illicit, but powerful force that seems to have taken permanent residence in the state since the inception of the current regime the purveyors refer as democracy, but which the majority see in Fela’s apt description as – democrazy.

Just like in previous editions, Enugu, the capital of former Eastern Nigeria presents its variant of the macabre dance the world is being regaled with in Nigeria. It is a dance in which chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission have taken the front row to demonstrate one of the oddest if not the most grotesque forms of electoral heist that has marked the 2023 general elections.

The Owo ward of Nkanu East Local Government Area of the state, was the venue, where the weird political performance was displayed. There, the dramatis personae engineered the crooked construct that made Peter Mbah of the PDP prevail over Chijioke Edeoga of the Labour Party (LP) in a manner that has kept many mouths agape as they see the curtain fall after the outlandish drama that characterised the March 18 governorship election.

The full story of that uncanny episode was captured by Eze Sabinus Oscar O, Professor in the department of biochemistry and Dean, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), who as the Collation Officer for the ward, saw it all.

Here is how he recorded his story entitled: Why Owo Ward Of Nkanu East LGA, Of Enugu State Is In The Eye Of The Storm he gave a graphic picture of his encounter with some people that could only be described as electoral brigands, gave a clear impetus to to why many people have described the 2023 election as the worst in the history of Nigeria.

His account: “My fellow colleagues and the general public. Having observed the turmoil arising from the results collated from Nkanu East LGA and also having served as the Governorship Collation Officer for Owo ward in Nkanu East LGA, I stand in a proper position to put the records straight and clear some pockets of doubts as follows:

*Collation of results at the INEC office near the LGA secretariat started around 7.30 pm with the arrival of PO’s (Polling Officers) from different wards

*As at 1.30am on Sunday morning, the PO’s from Owo Ward had not returned to INEC office to submit their results.

*As at such late time, majority of the collation officers had already completed their collation assignments from wards under them.

*The PO’s at Owo ward finally returned around 2.00am but collation couldn’t start immediately as the SPO (Supervisory Presiding Officer) was nowhere to be found, as reported by POs.

*Collation of the results finally started around 2.30am

*It was observed that only polling units 008, 009, 010 and 011 used BVAS machines for accreditation of voters, while seven polling units (001- 007) did not use BVAS machines.

*Steps 5 and 6 of the guideline for collation of results were activated but no response was observed.

*This was immediately brought to the attention of the EO but couldn’t yield good result

*Step 17 of the guideline (Form 40G) on collation was activated, as the hard copy of the Form 40G was not issued to CO (Collation Officer) alongside other collation materials, but still failed.

*When all these actions were taken and all efforts to justify results returned from Owo could not stand, it became imperative that the only alternative was to cancel those results from Owo where these BVAS machines could not work.

*All these were brought to the attention of the LGA collation officer who also doubles as the LGA returning officer for gubernatorial election.

*I categorically made it clear to the LGA collation officer that he should not collate the results for Owo ward, especially where BVAS machines could not work, and that the election in the affected areas without BVAS machines should be cancelled so that a re-run should be fixed since the RATECH (Registration Area Technician) claimed that those BVAS machines malfunctioned.

*The LGA collation officer for gubernatorial election claimed that he would not adopt my advice because his life would be in danger thereafter.

*All my efforts to get the results from Owo Wards (polling units 001 to 007) cancelled generated a lot of tension as the news permeated everywhere that I want to cancel the gubernatorial election held at Owo.

*The cloud of tension and animosity became too thick to the point that I was advised from both within the area and outside Nkanu to make effort to leave the scene as my life was visibly in danger.

*At this point, all other collation officers from other Wards had already left back to Enugu with the only two buses that conveyed all collation officers to the INEC office at Nkanu East, thereby leaving only me behind.

*As efforts to get the results from polling units 001 to 007 canceled with a view to rescheduling a re-run failed, I decided, as a last option, to do a letter of complaint to the REC through the LGA collation officer/returning officer. Unbelievably, the LGA Collation/Returning Officer refused to accept this letter from me, insisting that unless the EO endorsed it, he would not collect the letter.

*The EO, on the other hand, also declined to endorse the letter.

*This particular action taken by me to initiate the process of cancellation of the polling units results, skyrocketed the tension in the area and it became visibly obvious that my life was in danger since I have been abandoned with no vehicle to exit the area.

*The total number of registered voters in Owo ward was 6129.

*How the number in (20) above translated to 30,000 votes from Nkanu East LGA is not known to Owo ward collation officer?

*Note that all the results sheets from all the eleven polling units in Owo has only one political party with votes and other parties scored zero.

*The recording of zero to other political parties was done at the polling units level and not at the Ward collation level.

*When I did not obtain the protection and support of the EO to secure the rejection/cancellation of the results for a rerun, and given the clear threats from a plethora of thugs, and without any security protection, it was clear that I was on my own and that my life was in obvious danger. How, I as Owo ward collation officer left the area and arrived at Enugu should be better imagined. The dead does not tell the story but the living.

Now, while many would be quick to capture the incredulity of the story, many more, would simply dismiss it as as an open and shut case, given the glaring and obvious ingredients in relation to the the guidelines used by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

But not when vested interests are involved – politicians with bags of money chasing willing electoral officials at the highest level, whose only interests are to either complete some shopping malls in some cities across the country, acquire more housing estates in choice areas of Lagos and Abuja or buy properties in Europe and America – as opposed to those seeking better and nobler ideals for humanity and for country.

So, what do you have? They went to work, after apparently sealing their deal. In the end, the totally scandalised people of Enugu, have again been served one of the wackiest offerings on the Nigerian electoral menu – the Owo breakfast – a pot of soup with the hanging hand of the axiomatic monkey with all the garnishing to boot.

Indeed many believe that the Enugu miracle is a direct counter to the February 25 presidential election in which the Labour Party (LP) through its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, shocked the entire nation by virtually stop a moving train with bare hands. There is the talk that the INEC officials were only acting a script forbidding the party, from capturing any state across the federation in order to asphyxiate the party of the needed oxygen early enough and ensure it ceases to be a formidable force capable of posing any form of threat to the powers that be now and in future.

To achieve this, the INEC in Abuja, where the case was referred, which ought to cancel the entire election in Owo, as a result of not using the BVAS and the glaring fact of over-voting only managed the skim off some votes from the 30,000 recorded for the PDP, leaving it with just 16,000. Case closed.

Now the questions. The ward in issue has just 7,000 accredited voters on the BVAS. From where then did INEC that announced double that figure get the extras? In the first place, is INEC not supposed to cancel election in the ward and call for a rerun, as contained in its guidelines. What is the fate of Enugu people from hence. The answer can only be obtained in those three words – Go to court!  Tragedy!


Speak now! Catholic priests want Kaduna gov’s reaction to El-Rufai’s Islamisation comments



Uba Sani, must either officially distance himself or affirm the declaration of his predecessor Nasir El-Rufai that Muslim-Muslim executive branch leadership, have come to stay or stand up to denounce it immediately.

These were the demands from Catholic priests in parts of the North, who as they expressed disgust at the statement, which showed the former governor captured in a video, which went viral last week, practically celebrating the continuation of an arrangement, which he first introduced in 2019, and which has now been sustained with the new governor having a Muslim deputy.

Clerics from Kaduna, Kafanchan and Zaria chapters of the Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA), in a public letter to Sani, urged him to declare his position on what they described as political supremacism in Kaduna state and Nigeria, as part of their reactions to the video, which has raised a lot of dust.

El-Rufai, who in his speech to Muslim clerics in the state, had recounted how after instituting an all-Muslim executive in the state himself and made it permanent in the state, the arrangement was pushed through at the national level with the election of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, as President and Vice President, respectively on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Informing that while Nigerians were actually believed that religion was not the issue in pushing through with the ticket, when it was in fact the case, the former Governor, who spoke in Hausa, declared that the arrangement had come to stay and would last for the next 20 years at the initial stage after Tinubu, adding that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), had been defeated by the outcome.

But an apparently thoroughly upset Catholic priests, in an open letter on Thursday, said: “Having soberly considered the contents and implications of such communication by a former state governor who is known to be your close ally, we feel compelled to write you, to know where you stand with regard to the commotions Mallam El-Rufai intends to propagate and perpetuate in our state,” the letter reads.

“We write you today because we are responsible stakeholders in the affairs of our beloved state with our own congregations and followers. Mr governor, we do not intend to conclude that you are in agreement with all the content of the former governor’s utterances, as you have given no explicit reason to suggest so (yet), even though you were present at the occasion! We therefore earnestly expect your direct official reaction to the utterances of your predecessor in office.”

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Buhari spent more than $19billion on revamping four refineries without result – Nasarawa gov



Barely two weeks after his exit, the records of former President Muhammadu Buhari, have come to to the fore with one of them indicating a damning verdict, as he was said to have sunk a whopping $19billion in trying to rehabilitate the nation’s four refineries, without anything to show for it.

Abdullahi Sule, Governor of Nassarawa State, who used the former President abysmal failure to make a case for supporting the removal on petroleum products, compared the huge wastage to the amount Dangote refinery, cost to give Nigeria a facility with the single chain production in the world.

None of Nigeria’s four refineries, located in Kaduna, Port Harcourt, and Warri is currently operational despite the huge amount sunk to resuscitate them, most of the funds borrowed from foreign lending agencies, the latest being the securing of $1.5million loan for that of Port Harcourt.

Bemoaning the situation, the governor, said: “Look at how much the President Buhari administration spent on fixing the refineries. In the eight years, he spent more money than the $19 billion that Dangote spent in building a refinery. That is one and a half times the size of our three refineries combined.”

A guest on Sunrise Daily, a breakfast programm of Channels Television on Thursday, Sule, pinned the payments of subsidy on Nigeria’s non-functional refineries, adding: “From the government side, I think we didn’t do a good job. When the (former) President (Buhari) came in in 2015, prices of crude oil dropped by less than 30 dollars. At that time, there was zero subsidy.

“Our three refineries in Nigeria today have a total of 450,000 barrels per day, Dangote is 650,000. He spent $19 billion on building it. We spent, not building a new one, but in maintaining these refineries; more than $19 billion in eight years, yet they have not been maintained.”

The Dangote Refinery, Africa’s biggest oil refinery, which took off in 2017, drew Nigerians and global personalities in different fields of life, including four African Presidents at its commissioning on May 22, 2023 by Buhari.

Sule, who also lamented the complexity of maintaining the refineries due to their diverse components, added: “The refinery is actually a component for water, crude, and diesel, about five or six different components that constitute a refinery. The moment the government says we are going to spend $2 billion this year on the refinery. The $2 billion is spent and as far as the President is concerned, they have given $2 billion.

“Now when it goes to the three refineries that we have in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna. Then they say, you now take $700 million, you now take $800 million – by the time they take that, it goes to fix maybe only one component out of the four components that are all bad. The ideal resolve would have been to allocate the major funds to one of the refining states to fix it totally before allocating the remainder to the other states.

“So, zero work is done. These are the true realities of what is happening, and that is why none of the refineries is working. These are truly the problem, we have not really managed this thing well.”

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Japan goes tough on asylum seekers, enacts new law to check abuse



Despite desperate attempts to block it, including a ruckus, which broke out in parliament Japan went ahead on Friday to enact an immigration law that would see the government deporting failed asylum seekers, even with members of civil society, joining in the pushback.

The law gives refugees only three chances to try after which they would face deportation, unlike before when applicants could stay in Japan during the decision process, regardless of the number of attempts they made to secure refugee status, reports, say.

The revised law will “protect those who must be protected while strictly dealing with people who have violated rules. There are many people who misuse the application system to avoid deportation,” Justice Minister Ken Saito, was quoted as saying, adding that this had persisted even when such people were not fleeing danger or persecution.

Last year, Japan accepted just 202 refugees out of some 12,500 applicants, and separately allowed 1,760 people to remain in the country due to “humanitarian considerations,” including more than 2,400 evacuees from Ukraine under a different framework.

Activists staged rallies against the revised law, but a protest from the opposition bloc in parliament was voted down by the ruling coalition, which holds a commanding majority.

“It is intolerable to deport people, even if they have criminal records, to countries that may violate their human rights” and where “their life and freedom would be in danger”, the Tokyo Bar Association said this week.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party says the revisions will bring better access to medical care and accommodation options for people whose asylum applications are pending.

Japan’s immigration detention conditions have been under scrutiny since the 2021 death of Wishma Sandamali, a 33-year-old Sri Lankan woman.

Sandamali was not an asylum seeker but had been held for overstaying her visa after seeking police protection, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship.

Her family are seeking compensation of more than $1 million from the government over her death.

Sandamali reportedly complained repeatedly of stomach pain and other symptoms, and campaigners allege she received inadequate medical care.

Controversy and political pressure over the incident led ruling lawmakers to drop a push to enact similar legal changes to immigration rules two years ago.

Shoichi Ibusuki, a lawyer for Sandamali’s family, told AFP on Thursday that the revised bill was “equivalent to having a button to execute those who seek refuge by deporting them”.

“Japan’s refugee recognition system is not working,” he said, with officials turning down applications quickly, sometimes without face-to-face interviews.

Amnesty International also said in March that Japan should scrap the proposed revision to immigration laws, calling the country’s detention policies “harsh” and “repressive.”

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