Undoubtedly, because INEC has been given broad powers by the Constitution to manage elections, it also has incidental powers to cancel or postpone them. But it’s a power that must be exercised judiciously. In the circumstances of the present situation, the power was not judiciously exercised, for the logistical snafus cited as reasons were self – induced.
Let no one be deceived. Remember, Amina Zakari, the President’s step – niece, is INEC’s National Commissioner in charge of Logistics, and this logistical snafu may have been contrived. I suspect a grand conspiracy that goes beyond the logistical snare, and the ultimate aim may have been to throw an iron curtain on the arrangements, and ensure that the procedures become impermeable to critical scrutiny by international election monitors and observers. A longer postponement could have achieved this; the nosy observers would have grown weary and left – never to return. Had that happened, the spectre of “foreign interference ” would have been eliminated, and electoral depredation would have had a free rein. That a longer postponement was not foisted upon the nation may have been due to the subtle resistance of the forces of due process pulling the strings from the background.
The conspiracy to render the election amenable to manipulation started when the president withheld his assent to the electronic innovations embedded in the 2018 Electoral Bill. Since the advent of the card reader, it has become unfashionable, if not illogical, to rig elections at the polling units. Most elections are these days rigged during the manual transmission of the results contained in the various polling units forms EC8A to the various points of secondary and tertiary collation. It’s at these points of collation that the power of incumbency deploys force to shut the door firmly against rival party collation agents who in consequence are barred from witnessing the process. Fictitious figures, not having any correlation whatsoever with the actual results, are then collated on the secondary forms EC8B, and further inflated along subsequent collation points.
By its recommendation of the electronic transmission of results to the various points of collation, the human manipulation of the figures was the mischief that the Electoral Bill which the President killed with a sleight of hand sought to cure. In killing the bill, the President left wide open this window for manual manipulation. Fortunately for due process, in the present race, the incumbent is up against a wily and battle hardened combatant, who, along with Obasanjo, has sensitized the International community of the existence of this opportunity for electoral heist. It was in response to this malady that an unprecedentedly large contingent of observers and monitors was deployed to Nigeria, with a specific mandate to, for the first time, pay close attention to collation. When el Rufai, or Abba Kyari, rails against “foreign interference”, this is what they are actually railing against.
Interconnected with the grand plan is also the plot against Onnoghen. Ironically, Onnoghen’s major offence was his mustering of sufficient independence and fortitude to, along with two other justices of the Supreme Court, resist the manipulations of the PDP in the 2007 Presidential election to nullify, in a minority opinion, Umaru Yar Adua’s election in favour of Buhari, in 2008, when Buhari’s petition got to the Supreme Court. Surely, such an independent minded jurist is too dangerous to leave at the helm in a season of grand conspiracy. Even the burning of INEC offices, the destruction of thousands of card readers and other sensitive election materials without any consequence, are not to be read in isolation. All through the week, even before the distribution of electoral materials to the states commenced, rumours of a postponement were strong and rife, and many even suspected that that was what the Presidential broadcast of last thursday was going to announce. Put all the nuts together, and a definite pattern suggesting something sinister and reprogrammed, emerges.