ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
During the recent Presidential elections in Imo States, the people sincerely came out and cast
their votes but the electoral officials in most cases took the law into their own hands
thumb-printing and casting ballots for people who never showed up for the elections
including some who had died in between registration and voting.
Fraudulent Election Malpractices
in Imo State of Nigeria Election of President
16 April 2011
1. In Abakuru, in Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta Local Government Area polling station for the election of the President of Nigeria, one Mr. Chidiebere Roland Nwaneshi, a Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) Polling agent challenged the Presiding officer who gave several ballots to an individual PDP (current President Goodluck Jonathans ruling party, PDP [People’s Democratic Party]) voter. He observed the same people voting and thumb-printing repeatedly. He then informed them that it was illegal to have the same person vote over and over again.
a. There was an observer present, an Anglican pastor by the name of Rev. Victor Ndukwe from Abakuru who observed what was going on. The CPC agent tried to get him to help stop the voter fraud and intimidation going on and the pastor did nothing. Then he now observed the INEC officer there thumb-printing 85 times and signing each voter registration card by himself. He informed the INEC official by name of Chigozie (Stationed at the Abakuru Station) that what he was doing was fraudulent.
b. The INEC official kept thumb printing and refused to stop. The CPC agent, Mr. Chidebere Nwaneshi then called on them again to stop the ongoing malpractice. He also then took from one of them a batch (12) of pre-signed and stamped ballot papers as EVIDENCE. Upon seeing that the CPC agent had physical evidence of Voter Fraud and Multiple Voting by the same Individuals, the PDP officials and INEC agent got angry and told the police when they came that the CPC Agent had snatched the ballot box.
Without allowing him the opportunity to explain and defend himself, Mr. Nwaneshi (CPC Agent) was thrown forcibly into a Police vehicle and sent to jail and kept there overnight. Even, after CPC officials came to bail him out, the police refused and repeatedly beat him throughout the night when he would not sign the FORGED confession they wrote. His arrest and detention was authorized by the PDP Government appointed Local Government Area Chairman and he was refused bail despite all entreaties by CPC state party officials.
c. The following morning, CPC officials then went to see the Commissioner of Police who had heard the story and he was also given the Evidence, the ballot papers. The Commissioner of Police then authorized the release of the CPC Agent on bail saying that his story was very convincing and gave instructions for the DPO and all other named accomplices be brought to Owerri for further investigation. Names of people who voted repeatedly include (according to the CPC Agent) Godson Amuchie, Sebastian Obichere, Metu Onyeneri, Kyrian Nwakuna, and Obichere Okechukwu.
2. CPC is asking for these elections in Imo State to be cancelled as this election was marred by voter fraud, intimidation, double voting, thumb printing by electoral officers who should have been insuring a free and fair election. Democracy means ensuring that citizens are not disenfranchised and that voting is not done illegally by multiple voting by the same people or coercion of voters by some security agents and recalcitrant INEC officials some of whom thumb-print 85 times because they see voting and victory as now their own project and no longer that of [the candidate] as they will do their best to ensure victory at the polls.
3. In several polling booths in Owerri zone like booths 001 and 002 at Ihiagwa, site of the Federal University of Technology, votes for CPC were not recorded and several ballot papers showing a vote for CPC were torn and destroyed.
4. At Irete polling booth votes for CPC were equally not recorded and others were torn. This was the situation in Agbala and Naze and these incidents were severally reported to the police to no avail.
5. At Okwu Emeke in Owerri North Local Government, a young lady in security outfit and uniform positioned herself by the polling booth and stand and directed all that came to vote and ensured that they thumb-printed for the PDP [People’s Democratic Party]. When accosted she was shielded and hurried out of the premises by two men who said that they would have killed the challenger if they did not have respect for him.
6. Yet in all polling stations, in spite of ballots torn and/or destroyed near maximum votes were recorded all mostly for PDP and voting was conducted in most booths without accreditation, and practically all duplicate copies of Result sheets are not legible.
7. Finally, it is wrong to use the Vice Chancellor of FUTO whose wife is running for PDP Deputy Governor of Imo State as a Returning Officer especially when political parties at a meeting with the State Commissioner of Police, SSS Director and Heads of other Security organizations had expressed reservation about the propriety and fairness of such anomaly (see exhibit A FUTO VC, Staff may be delisted as INEC Announcer Weekend, Friday, April 8th-9th, 2011, p. 4.
8. The inappropriateness of using FUTO Vice Chancellor and staff of FUTO and allied Federal Institutions in Owerri is further confirmed by the declaration of FUTO staff when called to a meeting by the PDP Deputy Governorship Candidate, Prof. Viola Onwuliri, wife of the FUTO Vice Chancellor. Labour Leaders who spoke on the occasion included Mrs Ekwemalor, Chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Comrade J. K. Okere, Chairman Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) both of the Federal University of Technology Owerri who expressed joy that one of their own was chosen as the governors (Ohakim) running mate and that it was now their own project and no longer that of Mrs Onwuliri as they will do their best to ensure victory at the polls. (see exhibit B Deputy Governorship Candidate Meets Varsity Labour Leaders The Leader, Sunday April 3-Sunday April 10, 2011, p. 5.
During the recent Presidential elections in Imo State, the people sincerely came out and cast their votes but the electoral officials in most cases took the law into their own hands thumb-printing and casting ballots for people who never showed up for the elections including some who had died in between registration and voting. There was no accreditation in most polling centers even though Presiding Officers recorded fake numbers of accredited voters. As above evidence shows, there was multiple voting by individuals, thumb-printing of ballot papers by presiding officers and their PDP [People’s Democratic Party] accomplices. A forensic test will more than confirm several ballots bearing same thumb-prints. This was not an election. It is voidable and should be voided and if other elections are to go on these anomalies should be corrected.
Dr. S. Okechukwu Mezu, Deputy Gubernatorial Candidate Imo State, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), For and on behalf of CPC Imo State, Nigeria
Dr. S. Okechukwu Mezu, a graduate of Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.) has a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) and studied at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris) and was formerly the Biafran Ambassador to Ivory Coast during the Nigerian Civil War.
* * * * *
* * * * *
By Muhammad Jameel Yushau
BBC Hausa Service
It is the first time in Nigeria’s recent history that the election result has exposed the huge division between the Muslim north and Christian south. Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan has won in nearly all southern states, which are predominantly Christian except for one, while his main challenger Muhammadu Buhari won in the Muslim north-east and north-west. Both candidates shared votes in the north central area which has a substantial Muslim and Christian population.
Elections in Nigeria are not necessarily about issues but about ethnicity, religion and regionalism. So historically they have been won as a result of either a formal alliance by political parties ormore recentlyan informal agreement within the governing PDP [People’s Democratic Party] to alternate the presidency between north and south.
For this reason, the winning candidateirrespective of region, religion or ethnicitynormally commanded a wide national spread. In 1999, Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian from the south, won the majority of the votes in northern Nigeria. However, the rotation was broken when Mr Jonathan succeeded to the presidency last year after the death of Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner. This election, described by international observers as the most successful for decades, seems to be compounding the country’s regional and ethnic divisions.BBC
* * * * *
By Caroline Duffield
I’m inside Nigeria’s election collation offices in Abuja and this is the nerve centre of the election.It’s where officials scrutinise results for fraud before declaring them. Election Commission Chairman Professor Jega is sitting on a raised platform, slowly reading out results. Behind him is a glass office where official paperwork is being matched and compared with data captured at 120,000 polling stations.
It’s only when officials are all agreed on what they’re seeing that they can confirm the authenticity of the results. It’s a painfully slow process but it’s designed to expose any tampering or fraud with either the computer records or the paperwork.And this building itself is under massive security. We came through several military cordons to get inside. People here are grimly determined to get through the next six to 10 hours of this count without violent incidents.
According to regional results, Mr Jonathan has passed that threshold in at least 24 states. He polled 20.3m votes to the 10.4m cast for his nearest rival, General Muhammadu Buhari.In Akwa Ibom state, he was credited with winning 95% percent and in Anambra it was 99%. In his home state, Bayelsa, he took 99.63%.
“Figures of 95% and above for one party suggest that these are fabricated figures and, personally, they worry me because they pose serious questions on the credibility of the election,” Jibrin Ibrahim of the Centre for Democracy and Development told AFP news agency. Former government minister Nasir el-Rufai, a supporter of Gen Buhari, told Reuters: “In most of the south-east and south-south, no real elections took place.
“In the south-west and the north, the results have no relation to what happened at the polling units and we will prove it in due course.”A spokesman for the general, Yinka Odumakin, also said irregularities had taken place but any challenge would come after the vote count. Mr Jonathan’s campaign team have said they will not publicly comment until the election commission has formally declared all the results in the capital Abuja, an announcement expected later on Monday.
“This is no time for triumphalism,” Oronto Douglas, a senior adviser to Mr Jonathan, told Reuters news agency. “It is a time for deep reflection, for strengthening the bond of our union and for all of us to work together.” Previous polls were marred by widespread violence and vote-fixing but Saturday’s election was reported to have generally gone smoothly, after violence in the run-up left dozens of people dead.BBC News, Lagos
* * * * *
By Manning Marable
Years in the making-the definitive biography of the legendary black activist. Of the great figure in twentieth-century American history perhaps none is more complex and controversial than Malcolm X. Constantly rewriting his own story, he became a criminal, a minister, a leader, and an icon, all before being felled by assassins’ bullets at age thirty-nine. Through his tireless work and countless speeches he empowered hundreds of thousands of black Americans to create better lives and stronger communities while establishing the template for the self-actualized, independent African American man. In death he became a broad symbol of both resistance and reconciliation for millions around the world.
Manning Marable’s new biography of Malcolm is a stunning achievement. Filled with new information and shocking revelations that go beyond the Autobiography, Malcolm X unfolds a sweeping story of race and class in America, from the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Ku Klux Klan to the struggles of the civil rights movement in the fifties and sixties.
Reaching into Malcolm’s troubled youth, it traces a path from his parents’ activism through his own engagement with the Nation of Islam, charting his astronomical rise in the world of Black Nationalism and culminating in the never-before-told true story of his assassination. Malcolm X will stand as the definitive work on one of the most singular forces for social change, capturing with revelatory clarity a man who constantly strove, in the great American tradition, to remake himself anew.
* * * * *
By Randall Kennedy
Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama . . .
The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism. Recalling some of the criticisms of Americas past made by Mr. Obamas former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved. His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him boy, and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedys father relished Muhammad Alis quip that the Vietcong had never called him nigger. The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.
* * * * *
From The World and Africa, 1965
* * * * *
* * * * *
If you like this page consider making a donation
online through PayPal
* * * * *
Browse all issues
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
* * * * *
posted 18 April 2011