Nigeria’s INEC Playing Ethno-Religious Card And Incapable Of Conducting Inclusive, Secure, Free, Fair And Credible Presidential Election In 2023
…Intersociety disclosed in a letter to sixteen US Congress Committee Chairs and Ranking Members
Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria: Thursday, Nov 3, 2022
The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety), Nigeria’s leading independent and not-for-profit research and investigative Democracy and Human Rights organization since 2010 had internationally told sixteen top US Congress Committee Chairs and Ranking Members drawn from the United States’ Senate and House of Representatives that ‘Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is notoriously playing ethno-religious card and incapable of conducting inclusive, pluralistic, secure, free, fair and credible Presidential Election in Nigeria, fixed for 25th Feb 2023’. That is to say that all international promises by Nigeria’s INEC to hold “free, fair and credible polls in 2023” are hoax and do not contain an iota of truth or seriousness. However, Intersociety makes bold to say that the only exception to the above is for INEC to be internationally compelled through a firm threat of withdrawal of multimillion dollar funding supports, sanction and blacklisting to mandatorily and timely issue Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) to 29.5m registered voters denied PVCs since 2019 and 31st July 2022 as well as compelling the Commission to totally flush out estimated 20m ghost or fictitious identities, underage and illegal migrants from the National Register of Voters. Fearfully, going by the statistical realities on ground including bureaucratic entanglements, chronic armchair and carefree attitudes and recalcitrance of the Commission, this exception is almost an act of impossibility or dead on arrival.
Intersociety had also stated in its letter that Nigeria’s INEC’s preparations for the crucial 2023 Presidential Poll especially as they concerned non-discrimination, inclusiveness and pluralism have been dealt a devastating blow by the Commission including by dangerously disenfranchising 77.4m Nigerian citizens of voting age through one ethnically and religiously motivated discriminatory bureaucratic conduct or the other. This was statistically the case during the country’s 2021/2022 Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) exercise; to the extent that “30m citizens of voting age were never registered; and out of 27.4m citizens that struggled under the rain and the sun to be registered, 18.1m got disenfranchised or had their registrations destroyed”. These, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission perpetrated and perpetuated inexcusably, frivolously and irrelevantly. The 77.4m disenfranchised citizens of voting age are strongly projected to be from Nigeria’s estimated 120m truly Nigerian voting population including: 30m unregistered citizens of voting age, 18.1m registered voting citizens whose registrations were destroyed by INEC, 20m registered voters denied PVCs since 2019 and 9.5m newly registered voters yet to be issued with PVCs since 31st July 2022.
Further, several independent findings by Intersociety and others supported by pieces of verified video, pictorial and textual evidence have also indicated that Nigeria’s INEC has systematically flooded the National Register of Voters with millions of ghost or fictitious identities, underage children and illegal migrants as “registered voters for 2023 Presidential Poll”, with number currently estimated at 20m. Nigeria’s INEC is also mindlessly engaging in another round of massive disenfranchisement by denying a total of 29.5m registered voters PVCs. This is to the extent that there are still no fewer than 20m registered Nigerian voters without PVCs since 2019 as well as 9.5m newly registered voters registered between 28th June 2021 and 31st July 2022 who are yet to be issued with PVCs less than four months to the crucial 2023 Presidential Poll. Nigeria’s INEC was investigated and found to have played ethnic and religious card as far as preparations for 2023 Presidential Poll are concerned. Apart from clear discriminatory and segregated CVR exercise, the Commission applied same despicable policies and methods in the 2015, 2019 and 2022 distribution of PVCs; to the extent of 50% PVC distribution for South/non Muslims and 90% for North/non Christians. It was further discovered that the chief motive of the Commission in all this is to conduct the 2023 Presidential Poll with substantial number of the 2019 registered voting population independently and widely criticized for being highly disproportionate in the context of Nigeria’s multi ethnic and religious groupings and their voting populations.
Therefore, it is most likely correct to say that as it stands today, out of the so called “93.5m registered voters in Nigeria for 2023 General Polls”, according to INEC, the number of truly Nigerians with PVCs is 44m which does not include 29.5m without PVCs and independently estimated 20m ghost or fictitious identities, underage children and illegal migrants captured as “registered voters for 2023 General Elections in Nigeria”. Fears are also very high that the 44m truly Nigerians with PVCs are not ethnically and religiously proportionate or equitably represented along Christian-Muslim lines. For record and intellectual purposes, the statistics supporting Intersociety’s international letter to the sixteen top US Congress Committee Chairs and Ranking Members are drawn from a 24-Page Special Investigative Report on Illegalities of INEC ahead of Nigeria’s 2023 Presidential Poll, supported with 43 Statistical References. The Special Investigative Report was concluded by Intersociety on 26th Oct 2022 after five months of compilation (June-Oct 2022), featuring critical evaluation and analysis of INEC’s released statistics and related policy statements from the Commission and other Government agencies including inter-agency bodies (military, police, etc), CSOs, diplomatic bodies, media reports, etc. Included are INEC’s statistics relating to 2015 and 2019 Continuous Voters’ Registration exercises, their Permanent Voters’ Card distribution and collated Presidential Elections’ Results’ from 36 States and the FCT including those that voted with PVCs and others who voted outside voting biometrics or without PVCs.
Intersociety’s letter to the sixteen US Congressional Committee Chairs and Ranking Members was dated 26th Oct 2022 and successfully delivered to them as follows: Honorable Robert Menendez, Chair, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate; Honorable Jim Risch, Ranking Member, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, Honorable Richard Durbin, Chair, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate; Honorable Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Honorable Pat Leahy, Chair, Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate; Honorable Richard Shelby, Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, Honorable Sherrod Brown, Chair, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States Senate, Honorable Pat Toomey, Ranking Member, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, United States Senate; Honorable Gregory Meeks, Chair, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States House of Representatives; Honorable Michael McCaul, Ranking Member, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States House of Representatives, Honorable Jerold Nadler, Chair, Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives, Honorable Jim Jordan, Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary, United States House of Representatives, Honorable Rosa L. DeLauro, Chair, Committee on Appropriations, United States House of Representatives, Honorable Kay Granger, Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations, United States House of Representatives, Honorable Maxine Waters, Chair, Committee on Financial Services, United States House of Representatives, Honorable Patrick McHenry, Ranking Member, Committee on Financial Services, United States House of Representatives.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law, Onitsha, Eastern Nigeria
/s E. Umeagbalasi
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Criminologist/Researcher
Board Chair @ Intersociety
/s C. Umeche
Chinwe Umeche Esquire, LL.B, BL
Head, Democracy and Good Governance Program @Intersociety
Chidinma Udegbunam Esquire, LL.B, BL
Head, Campaign and Publicity Department @ Intersociety
Ndidiamaka Chinaza Bernard Esquire, LL.B, BL, LLM
Head, Int’l Justice and Human Rights Program @ Intersociety
Mobile Phone/WhatsApp: +2348174090052, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: https://intersociety-ng.org