By Emeka Umeagbalasi
Owing to several scholarly studies in recent times in various parts of the world including Nigeria, triggers/causes of election and post election human and material violence have substantially been linked to the electoral commissions or bodies that organized such polls.
In the Republic of Ivory Coast, for instance, the immediate causes of 2010 post election violence were traced to the country’s electoral commission that controversially annulled poll results in seven strategic polling areas of the North to favour then incumbent Laurent Gbagbo. In USA, the denial of voting rights to Blacks and Hispanics has given rise to age-long scientific/demographic rigging in the country, leading to tensions, several protests and lawsuits.
Gladly, this age-long injustice is now being frontally addressed. Nigeria is presently faced with similar challenges courtesy of its Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It has been empirically established that the referenced electoral commissions contribute 60% causes of electoral violence leaving 30% to political authorities and politicians and 10% to the electorates.
On January 9, 2015, the (INEC) headed by Prof Attahiru Jega, made public the status of the National Register of Voters to be used in the February General Elections in Nigeria. The INEC said that it has ordered or received as at January 7, 2015, a total of 54, 341, 610 PVCs (permanent voters cards) from its suppliers/ contractors; out of which, 38, 774, 391 have been distributed to registered voters across the country till date leaving 30, 059, 085 registered voters disenfranchised. That is to say 14,491,866 unproduced PVCs and 15,567, 219 PVCs undistributed till date.
On January 13, 2015, the Jega’s INEC made another public statement saying that a total of 68, 833, 476 RVs (registered voters) have been penciled down to vote in the February General Elections in the country. It said it arrived at the figure after subjecting the National Register of Voters to automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) for the purpose of elimination of multiple/double registrants leading to elimination of over 4million double registrants after which the figure came down to 68, 833, 476. The INEC also pasted on its website the State by State distribution of the PVCs as at 13th January 2015 and withheld State by State breakdown of its given and approved registered voters of 68, 833, 476 it penciled down to vote in the said polls. It is important to note that these claims of INEC are yet to be independently verified.
Disenfranchisement of over 35m voters: As of date, over 35 million Nigerians most of them registered voters have been disenfranchised by INEC. The total number of disenfranchised registered voters across the country is 30, 059, 085; out of which those that have not been captured in the PVCs production and delivery is 14, 491, 866, while those captured in the PVCs but have not received theirs till date is 15, 567, 219. Other five million eligible registrants were also not captured during various continuous registration exercises across the country particularly in the Southeast and the Southwest geopolitical zones. This brings the total number of disenfranchised adult voters in the country to over 35M. There are over five million Igbo residents in the North, who are registered voters. Many of them fled the area abandoning their PVCs following Boko Haram and Islamist Fulani insurgencies. Others are leaving the area in droves fearing insecurity and other unsafe conditions during the referenced polls. These referenced registered Nigerian voters are automatically disenfranchised.
Geopolitical allocation of registered voters & PVCs: Our thorough investigation of the foregoing in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as the country’s six geopolitical zones using INEC’s voters’ registered shows the following findings: Northwest 1. Kano State: registered voters 4, 751, 818, PVCs distributed 2, 771, 185, 2. Kaduna State: registered voters 3, 743, 815, PVCs distributed 2, 643, 517, 3. Katsina State: registered voters 2, 928, 046, PVCs distributed 1, 965, 840, 4. Sokoto State registered voters 2, 113, 698, PVCs distributed 1, 211, 717, 5. Kebbi State registered voters 1, 459, 374, PVCs distributed 1, 035, 780, 6. Zamfara State registered voters 1, 802, 302, PVCs distributed 935, 302.
Jigawa State registered voters 1, 817, 087, PVCs distributed 1, 460, 420. Total registered voters for the Northwest zone 18, 616, 499. Total PVCs distributed 12, 003, 964. Total disenfranchised 6, 612, 535.
North-Central: 1. Benue State: registered voters 2, 340, 718, PVCs distributed 1, 132, 178, 2. Plateau State: registered voters 2, 082, 725, PVCs distributed 1, 072, 352, 3. Niger State: registered voters 2, 427, 081 PVCs distributed 1, 089, 002, 4. Kogi State: registered voters 1, 305, 533, PVCs distributed 755, 775, 5. Nasarawa State: registered voters 1, 291, 876, PVCs distributed 799, 991, 6. Kwara State registered voters 1, 125, 035, PVCs distributed 670, 694. Total registered voters for the North-Central 10, 592, 958. Total PVCs distributed 5, 539, 982. Total disenfranchised 5, 052, 976.
To be continued