There have been rigged elections in Nigeria but the 2023 Elections have taken the Oscar by the brazen manner the electoral umpire conducted it. In past elections where results were manufactured, there were attempts to hide the manipulation, even though people knew the results were contrived. But the 2023, General Elections in Nigeria have been rigged in such an open manner that Nigerians have been insulted and ridiculed before the world.
From the Presidential Election and National Assembly Elections of February 25 to the Governorship and State Assembly Elections of March 18, the county’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the body’s addled with the task of giving Nigerians free, fair and credible elections, have muddled up things in a way that has spoilt all the recent gains made since the days of the Late President Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan. This year’s elections have taken Nigeria back by 40 years (1983 to be precise) when the then National Party of Nigeria, NPN, used the then electoral umpire to assault the sensibilities of Nigerians and it was no surprise that a military coup came soon after.
Having seen how the recent elections have been conducted, it is scary to contemplate the extent of havoc it will wreak on the political life of the country. The INEC simply did not hide its bias and did as it was directed by its paymasters.
Despite complaints, it went on with collation in many places and announced results which did not tally with those in possession of party agents. But where its anointed candidate were trailing, collation was suspended as in the cases of Enugu and Abia States, prompting some people to ask if indeed, INEC could suspend collation.
The brazen manner in which INEC rigged the last elections can only enthrone lawlessness in the future and give the impression that the end justifies the means and this can only endanger future elections in the country, especially if the perpetrators of the electoral heist are allowed to get away with it.
One major fallout of it is that people will lose hope in the electoral process, leading to serious voter apathy. Another is that violence may have been enthroned, such that those who have the power will use every means to subvert the will of the people.
In Enugu State, a popular senatorial candidate of a party was killed by a suspected rival although luckily, the dead man’s brother replaced him and won after the election was eventually held.
Unfortunately, the Federal Government went deaf and dumb in the backdrop of obvious electoral malfeasance.