Pressures From Your Excellencies Are Urgently Needed For The Sacred Wish Of The People Of The State Not To Be Criminally Subverted Allegedly By The Nigerian Authorities
Above subject matter refers: International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law is a civil liberties and democracy advocacy group, based in the Southeast, Nigeria, which had since 2008 contributed immensely towards democracy building in Nigeria including the Southeast geopolitical zone.
As Your Excellencies are aware, evil and criminal plans are thickened on daily basis to subvert the sacred electoral wish of the people of Imo State, Southeast, Nigeria. On April 26, 2011, governorship and State House of Assembly polls were conducted in 24 out of the country’s 36 States including Imo State. But the events that unfolded in the State at the end of the exercise are a clear replication of Prof. Maurice Iwu’s inglorious epoch in INEC, during which the sacred mandate freely made and given by Nigeria’s gallant electorate was subverted with patent impunity. For clearer picture of what transpired during the said poll in the State, we have enclosed copies of our letter to the Chairman of Nigeria’s INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, dated April 28, 2011, and our public statement, issued and dated April 30,2011, in response to the INEC’s controversial directive that a “supplementary” election be held in four Local Government Areas and in an electoral ward called “Mbaitolu”, “ Ngo/Okpala”, ”Ohaji/Egbema” and “Oguta” LGAs as well as “Orji” Ward in Owerri North LGA of the State.
The criminal act of subverting the people’s sacred mandate had been a steady practice in Imo State since 2003, but most glaring before now was that of 2007 when patterns similar to the present situations were applied to subvert the true electoral wish of the people. Socially speaking, the State, hitherto envied as the Southeast-Nigeria’s center of intellectualism and ethical values, lost this enviable historical pride in the late 1990s when a notorious criminal class, artistic in advanced fee fraud and ritualism, unethically took over her social and economic affairs and threw the State into social identity crisis. The State has remained in that seeming perpetual bondage since then. Many believe that remnants of the social toxemia still control the social and political affairs in the State. And consistent efforts by most people of the State to restore the State back to glory through free, fair and credible elections have consistently been thwarted by the said criminal class through external assistance seemingly facilitated by successive federal authorities. There are also neo-civil war policies targeted at the Southeast geopolitical zone by successive federal authorities, dominated by the zone’s main opponents in the 30-month bloody civil war (1967-1970). Part of the vanquished policies is to perpetually install tainted, rotten and riotous “quantities” and puppets to oversee the affairs of persons in the zone including Imo State.
Pieces of information reaching us clearly suggest that President Goodluck Jonathan including his wife, widely believed to be more powerful than the constitutionally established office of the vice-presidency, is suspected to be bent on upturning the sacred electoral wish of the people of Imo State. It must be clearly pointed out that the office of the first-lady, so called, is unambiguously unknown to the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, as amended, yet the powers allocated to this unconstitutional office and resources being squandered so as to maintain it is almost the annual budget size of the Comoros Island.
The hasty and shoddy nature of the investigations purportedly carried out by the National Headquarters of INEC, led by Prof. Attahiru Jega, suggest that the Commission might have successfully been procured allegedly by the Presidency to rig the so called “supplementary election” so as to return at all cost the seemingly rejected incumbent. Pieces of credible information reaching us also suggest that rigging machinery has allegedly been set in motion, again, courtesies of the said incumbent, the Presidency and its ruling party as well as some tainted senior officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission with a view to allegedly returning the incumbent on account of false or “dead votes” to be originated from rigging.
As it is now, every police area command, which is second to the State police command in Nigeria, in size, has reportedly been directed by the police general headquarters to move a 25-man squad of the so called “anti-riot” police personnel, to be led by a superintendent (supol) to Imo State. We have it on good authority that Onitsha Area Command was part of the commands so directed. Also, the detachments of soldiers from the 32 Field Artillery Brigade at Obinze near Owerri, Imo State and the Onitsha Artillery Regiment, courtesy of the General Officer Commanding, 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army in Enugu, Southeast, Nigeria, have been moved to Owerri, under the guise of “security mission in Imo State”. It may be safe to submit that they are on a “rigging spree mission to Imo State”. This is more so when another indisputable reports have it that during the said inconclusive election in the State, dreaded “Umuleri Militant Boys” and “Bakassi Boys” were reportedly brought in from Anambra and Abia States as instruments of intimidation, violence and rigging, allegedly at the instance of the incumbent. There were also allegations leveled against the Imo State office of INEC and some unnamed top officials of the Commission in Abuja, such as accepting bribes allegedly from the incumbent so as to manipulate the ballot figures, eleventh-hour redeployment of strategic INEC staffers and their replacement with some card-carrying members of the ruling party in the State, etc.
Consequently, we respectfully pray Your Excellencies to pressurize and demand the following from President Goodluck Jonathan and Prof. Attahiru Jega-led INEC on the grounds of their nationally and internationally acclaimed positions as “agents of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria”:
1.That President Jonathan should keep to his several promises of ensuring free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria, or any part thereof, including Imo State of Nigeria, and steer clear of the abominable events in the State, in the context of political partiality.
2. That President Jonathan, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces should issue both overt and covert orders, directing the Police IG and the Chief of Army Staff to ensure that no soldier or police officer is turned into an agent of rigging, violence or intimidation during the said “supplementary poll”.
3. That the idea of declaring a “State of Emergency” in Imo State, Southeast, Nigeria, reportedly being muted by the Presidency, in the event of artificial constitutional stalemate, should be shelved, and the people of the State allowed free hands to choose their next governor.
4. That a firm order should be issued to the Police IG and the Chief of Army Staff by President Jonathan to arrest, detain, investigate and prosecute any armed thug or illegally armed “Bakassi Boys” or vigilante operatives found within the voting centers on the said “supplementary election” day.
5. That President Jonathan should direct for the deployment on the Election Day of the intelligence officers in mufti, properly and covertly tagged and armed, so as to track down trouble-shooters, including election riggers. Certain high ranking individuals including frontline politicians from the affected areas particularly Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta and Ngo/Okpala LGAs, who were reportedly accused of rigging during the inconclusive poll exercise, should be declared as “security risks”, checked and dislodged.
6. That President Jonathan should direct the duo of the Police IG and the Army Chief of Staff to relocate to Imo State on the said Election Day, fixed for Friday, May 6, 2011, so as to effect “civilized” security and prevent expected acts of over-zealousness on the part of their officers and persons including harassment and intimidation of prospective voters that may scare them from voting, aiding and abetting rigging and violence, as well as extortion and other acts of bribery. In the event of their failure to relocate, then it will be safely concluded that they are privy to plans to rig the said “supplementary poll”.
7. That President Jonathan should direct the said two security chiefs to ensure “round-the-clock” security in the affected areas including evening/night after the said “supplementary election”, because experiences gathered from the just held general polls showed that election riggers, particularly compromised INEC’s top substantive and adhoc staffers usually have a field day evening/night after the elections’ day.
8. That Your Excellencies should implore Prof. Attahiru Jega, Chairman of INEC, to relocate to Imo State as well, alongside his National Commissioners, so as to effect a direct supervision of the said “supplementary poll”, since all the elections have almost been held and concluded in the country. This is because the outcome of the exercise can make or mar the credibility of the entire elections of 2011 and rubbish the little gains so recorded. The reported recent deployment of four Resident Electoral Commissioners to the State for the purpose of the said “supplementary election” is not good enough. As a matter of fact, it is a makeshift approach. In the event of Prof. Jega and his National Commissioners’ failure to relocate, then, let it be known that they are also privy to the said rigging plans.
9. That Prof. Attahiru Jega and his National Commissioners should redeploy all the Returning Officers, Electoral Officers, Supervisory Officers and other relevant junior and senior substantive and adhoc staffers of the Commission particularly those used in the affected LGAs and Orji Ward during the inconclusive governorship poll. Their replacements should be ferried from outside Imo State, properly posted and monitored. Many, if not most of them reportedly compromised their duties and offices during the said exercise.
10. That Prof. Attahiru Jega and his National Commissioners should discard all the used and unused sensitive and non-sensitive ballot papers for the four LGAs and the Orji Ward, and replace them with brand new set of same for the said “supplementary” poll. This is because information has it that many of them, particularly the sensitive ones are already thumb-printed, stuffed, arranged and kept for an unholy hour opportunity for them to be allegedly credited to the incumbent.
11. That Prof. Attahiru Jega and his National Commissioners should ensure that voting materials and INEC personnel report to their duty posts at the designated time, on the dot, and sensitive electoral materials like Form EC8As made available in all the affected areas. They should be arranged serially and where there are multiple duplicate copies, they should be clearly separated and made useless.
Finally, we wish to appeal to Your Excellencies to deploy the relevant international election monitors including EU Election Observers, to be accompanied by relevant foreign journalists to all the electoral wards in the following areas: 1. Ngo/Okpala LGA, 2. Ohaji/Egbema LGA, 3. Oguta LGA, 4. Mbaitolu LGA, and 5. Orji Ward in Owerri North LGA of Imo State. From the security reports available to us, Ngo/Okpala, Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema LGAs are likely the flash or rigging points.
We sincerely trust in Your Excellencies’ expected expeditious attentions to this very important letter.
Yours In The Service For Credible Democratic Society,
Chairman, Board of Trustees
Email: [email protected]
Comrade Justus Ijeoma
Head, Publicity Desk
Our Ref: Intersociety/Vol.01/05/2011/F/Missions/01-10/ABJ/NG
41, Miss Elems Street
Fegge, Onitsha, Anambra State
1. The United States’ Ambassador to Nigeria, Embassy of the USA, FCT, Abuja
2. Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, the Canadian High Commission, FCT, Abuja
3. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, the British High Commission, FCT, Abuja
4. The Head of the European Union Mission in Nigeria, Europe House, FCT, Abuja
5. The French Ambassador to Nigeria, the French Embassy, FCT, Abuja
6. The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, FCT, Abuja
7. The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, the Australian High Commission, FCT, Abuja
8. The Austrian Ambassador to Nigeria, the Embassy of Austria, FCT, Abuja
9. The Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, the Embassy of Sweden, FCT, Abuja
10. The Netherlands Ambassador to Nigeria, the Royal Dutch Embassy, FCT, Abuja
1. The President & Commander-in-Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
2. Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
3. Inspector General of Police Force, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
4. The Chief of Army Staff, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
5. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
6. The Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria
7. Chairman, Southeast Governors Forum & Governor of Anambra State, Awka, Nigeria
8. The General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, Nigeria
9. The Commander, 32 Field Artillery of the Nigerian Army, Obinze, Imo State, Nigeria
10. The Assistant Inspectoral of Police in-charge of Zone 9 Command, Umuahia, Abia State, Nigeria
11. The Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, Owerri, Nigeria
12. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva, Switzerland
13. The Secretary General of the Commonwealth, London, UK
14. The Chairperson, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
15. The Chairman, African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights, Bangui, The Gambia
16. Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, New York, USA
17. The Secretary General, Amnesty International, London, UK
18. Civil Liberties Organization, Lagos, Nigeria
19. Campaign for Democracy, Lagos, Nigeria
20. Other Relevant Bodies within and outside Nigeria