By Ahmad Sajoh
There are many reasons why the March 18th gubernatorial election in Adamawa State will continue to generate interest nationwide.
It is the second time that a woman will be putting up a robust challenge for the governorship of a state, and definitely the first to be won if legitimately cast votes were to have been counted. But then something went wrong. Thuggery was introduced, vote manipulations took place on a massive scale.
Totals were altered on result sheets, collated results were changed and in many locations the accredited BVAS figures were totally different from the manual results announced. The fraud was massive.
In one instance results were collated in a police station and forcefully declared while chanting “PDP Power” This is the correct canvass on which to paint the scenerio of what is playing out in Adamawa.
Yet in the face of this glaring anomalies propagandists employed by those who opposed Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani want the gullible public to believe that all was well.
An electoral process is always conducted under a legal framework. Compliance with legal framework is what determines the legitimacy of an election. Unfortunately, Nigerians have come to realize that results announced anyhow or through any means fair or foul, confers some degree of legitimacy on the assumed winner. Oftentimes it becomes practically impossible to prove the fraud perpetrated in a Court of Law.
This is because such cases often get mired in legal technicalities and judicial summersault. Sometimes due to timespan it takes to pass judgement on very glaring fraud, the beneficiaries of such fraudulent acts would have enjoyed certain benefits from the illegality. Such benefits are never refunded to the state. So, fair or foul, a benefit is assured. That is why illegalities continue to define our elections. Such incentives prove too attractive to be ignored. Thus, some people believe being declared winner is the ultimate goal and nothing else.
When Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani through her lawyers demanded for a review of the election it was not done in order to gain some favour. It is done to ensure legitimacy for the process.
What she is asking for is within the confines of the Electoral Act. Review let us see. Identify where votes are wrongly collated, correct the anomaly. Identify where BVAS accreditation was not done, expunge the result. Identify altered result sheets, revert to the legitimate results.
Identify places where the elections were marred by violence, cancel whatever fake results that come from there. Identify where no elections took place but results were manufactured, eliminate them. That’s all she is asking for. Sanitize the results before declaring a winner. Someone called this desperation. That’s quite unfortunate. In situations like this every patriot should call for the validation of our electoral process.
It is not proper to wait for fraud to affect a person before he or she condems it. If anyone can be described as desperate, it is obviously the person who wants to win by hook or crook. Those who committed fraud and doctored results should be the ones to be described as desperate.
Senator Binani did not ask INEC to declare her winner. She asked INEC to declare anyone with legitimate valid votes winner. Rather than answer her on this simple and straight forward request, those fought tooth and nail to make her loose but failed to do so have decided to hire some fictitious writers using fake names to bandy lies about the election and her legitimate quest for genuine results to be declared.
In order to demonstrate her sincerity in the whole process, Senator Binani did not ask to be declared winner on account of fraudulent votes. She wants whoever is declared winner to be so declared on the basis of legitimate votes cast. If they truly won this contest fair and square no amount of review will change that. Let them have the courage to accept Senator Binani’s challenge for the whole process to be reviewed.
Who is afraid of a review? Let the votes be reviewed within the ambit of the law. Where did some of the bogus figures recorded in many places including Boko Haram deserted areas come from? Why can’t such figures be reviewed for fairness sake? We have seen jingles and other media propaganda saying some people are used to a run off due to inconclusive election.
May we also add that they are also used to cooking figures in areas where elections are not held. We gladly concede to them the experience of rigging elections. We do not want to be associated with such illegalities. But let them know that no matter how lucky a thief might be, a day will come when such luck will run out. Soon enough such luck will surely run out. Illegalities cannot subsist forever. One day “strong wind go blow and foul nyash go comot”
Some hired writers have been engaged to disparage the Adamawa State Resident Electoral Commissioner REC into the fray and label him an APC sympathizer. That is not only unfair but grossly uncharitable.
The man is trying to be fair and just because that is what is expected of him as the umpire. But it becomes a further proof that they are the real losers. Winners don’t blame the referee in a contest. Referees often get blamed by losers if at all someone has to blame them. But here we are saddled with supposed winners heaping blames on the referee.
The REC was fair and just. He gave a listening ear to all contestants. If doubts are cast on a result that was declared under duress with party slogan chanted, there was indeed a begging need to take a second look at that. That is the minimum expected of an impartial umpire.
Another writer was hired to blame Dame Pauline Tallen the Hon. Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development. While it is not in our place to hold brief for the Minister, we wish to state that her interest in a woman becoming Governor in any state in Nigeria is within her purvey as Minister in charge of women affairs.
The birth of the Ministry itself was a product of the desire of women for gender mainstreaming in all National Affairs including politics. So it amounts to both administrative and social illiteracy to deny her involvement in a matter of this nature. This is the highest level of gender mainstreaming and one of the goals of the Ministry.
On a final note, it is necessary for all the hired hands churning out unrestrained falsehood, halfbaked half-truths and black ops propaganda to realize that wrong is wrong no matter how much they try to dress it in the toga of right. The outcome of the March 18th elections clearly projected Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani as the winner.
Despite all the gang ups, invoking the gods of ethnic bigotry, using religious groups and other sundry stakeholders they still failed. The only thing that could push her out is fraud. However, since the others have failed, this one too will fail. The Binani phenomenon is beyond politics. It’s an idea whose time has come.