QuickRead: Jega revisits 2023 election controversy. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

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A former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, last week alleged that desperate politicians breached the commission’s result viewing portal (IReV) in last year’s general election.

The same week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (INEC) arraigned the former Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, for alleged money laundering.

These and the three stories we tracked dominated public discourse in Nigeria last week.

1. Jega revisits 2023 election controversy

On January 26, the former INEC chairman claimed that politicians infiltrated the commission’s result viewing portal during the last general election in the country.

Jega, who spoke on Channels Television’s programme, Inside Sources, said: “In 2023, INEC did its best under very difficult circumstances, and a lot of these difficult circumstances were caused by the mindset of our selfish politicians who wanted to win by hook or by crook.

“INEC has over time introduced technology to make the process of election results very transparent with integrity, but from my own experience when I was in INEC from 2011 to 2015, I suspect that a lot of that has continued to be so up to 2023. Our reckless politicians try to be a step ahead of INEC.”

Why it matters

Jega may have hit the nail on the head on the problem that beset the last national election in Nigeria.

The reluctance of the political class to wean themselves of the win-at-all syndrome means election outcome in Nigeria is determined by every other means but not the votes.

This act is the reason Nigeria has continued to struggle to conduct credible polls since 1999 when the military handed over the baton of leadership to the political class.

2. EFCC arraigns ex-Gov Obiano for alleged money laundering

The EFCC on January 24 arraigned ex-governor Obiano for alleged money laundering to the tune of N4 billion.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge and was allowed to continue with the administrative bail earlier granted him by the commission by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

One of the charges read: “That you, Chief Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, whilst being the executive governor of Anambra State of Nigeria between March 2014 – March 2022, sometime between 7th February 2018 to 18th February 2019 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court indirectly transferred through Mr. Willie Nwokoye, your then principal private secretary, the sum of N156,800.00 only from the Anambra State Government Security Vote Account No: 5030050875 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Pic into the Fidelity Bank Plc Account No: 6060018819 belonging to C.I. Patty Ventures Nigeria Limited (an entity that had no business relationship with the Anambra State Government).”

Why it matters

The arraignment of the ex-governor indeed brings home the question of accountability and whether indicted public officials involved in barefaced corruption are being sufficiently punished as a deterrent to others.

Although Obiano is still assumed innocent of the corruption allegation until proven otherwise by the courts, his ordeal is a sad reminder of the level of corruption pervading Nigerian society.

However, the onus lies on the anti-graft agency to discharge the burden of proof on this matter instead of embarking on a media trial against the former governor.

3. Shaibu dares Obaseki on Edo governorship race

The Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, on January 25 declared that he cannot be intimidated out of the governorship election in the state.

Shaibu, who spoke when he returned his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship nomination form at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja, said he had been harassed and intimidated by some powerful elements in the state because of his ambition.

He said: “By the grace of God, our support is organic, it is not procured. I am not an aspirant that is being pushed; I am not an aspirant that is cut off from the people.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: US court orders return of looted $8.9m to Nigeria. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

“Edo people, the voters know me, they touch me and they feel me. We have already dealt with the issue of godfatherism but it is rearing its ugly head again.

“I am happy that the governor had told us that even if he tries to impose somebody on us as the new godfather we should deal with him.

“We are standing on the mandate of the people. My support is organic and with Shaibu, PDP will retain its seat in Edo State.”

Why it matters

The unfolding scenario in Edo shows that the PDP will approach the September 21 election as a divided house and this portends a danger to its aspiration of retaining power in the South-South state beyond this year.

With Shaibu up in arms against his boss in the battle for the PDP governorship ticket, the party may have played into the hands of APC in the race to elect the next occupant of the Edo State Government House.

4. Gunmen abduct Lagos PDP chairman

Gunmen on January 25 abducted the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Lagos State, Mr. Philip Aivoji.

The PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Alhaji Hakeem Amode, confirmed the development in a statement and urged security agencies and the state government to intervene promptly and secure the release of the party’s chairman.

The spokesman said: “Aivoji was abducted on Thursday, January 25 at about 6:00 p.m. on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway while returning from a stakeholders meeting in Oyo State convened by Governor Seyi Makinde and Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State.

“It is disheartening that kidnapping has become a prevalent issue in our country, and the government’s inability to address this menace is deeply concerning.

“Aivoji’s abduction was a violent incident, and his current whereabouts or any communication from the abductors remain unknown.”

Why it matters

“The abduction of PDP chieftain and other persons across the country underscores the need for decisive actions from the government to eradicate this menace.

The development illustrates the increasing helplessness of security agents and, by extension, the Federal Government in the fight against insecurity in Nigeria.

Without a sustained effort to contain the terrorists and other criminals who are now roaming, the country may well brace for total anarchy and rapid descent into a failed state.

5. Ganduje lures Gov Yusuf, others to APC

The All Progressives Congress (APC) National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, on January 25 invited the Kano State Governor, Abba Yusuf, to dump the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) for the party.

He made the call while addressing the party’s stakeholders in Kano.

Ganduje said: “I am appealing to Governor Yusuf along with his members from the NNPP to defect to the ruling APC at the national level to ensure massive political growth of the state.

“We are also working very hard to ensure more members of the National Assembly from Kano State and others from other political parties join hands with the progressives as doors of the party remain open for all.

“We will provide an enabling environment for all defectors for the overall political growth of our party and state.”

Why it matters

The APC chairman’s open invitation to a key member of a rival political party is clear evidence of a lack of ideology among Nigeria’s political establishment.

It also shows how the average Nigerian politician fits into the perfect description of a political animal.

Again, the development reinforced the assertion of politics as an interest-driven game, casting light on how players in the political space can quickly alter situations in the pursuit of their goals.

By Hamed Shobiye

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