Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
And What Is To Be Done About the 2003 Elections Results?
Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.
Burtonsville, MD, USA
May 13, 2003
What is to be done about the 2003 elections
results? That is the big question begging for an answer – or many answers.
Despite best efforts at ignoring the elephant in
the room, the brouhaha about the recent elections is not going away any time
soon. With Buhari and his ANPP band now being a tour Western capitals (check
your local listing), there may be rough time ahead.
Reports today by the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, as well as a May 1 statement by the
Nigerian Civil Society (for both statements, see appendices) are also not
flattering at all either to the Government of President Obasanjo or to INEC.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT APRIL 12, APRIL 19, MAY 3
So what can President Obasanjo do at this time?
First with the amount of evidence, albeit
circumstantial, of the rigging, what he SHOULD NOT CONTINUE TO DO is thump his
chest around the country that he and his governors and new legislators won a
RESOUNDING VICTORY based on these rigged numbers. God knows that they may
INDEED have won, but not by these numbers. He would have lost his limited
legacy as a democrat if he and his PDP aides carry on as if everything
His last open letter to INEC's Chairman Dr.
Guobadia in which he urged some investigation of reported electoral malfeasance
shows that he is beginning to realize that he must be more careful otherwise
we may have another long-time crisis a la June 12 (without its cancellation) in
Secondly, he should not interfere in INEC's effort
to straighten things out.
Now what should INEC then do?
It should take ALL of the reports of its own
monitors; those of the Nigerian election monitors; as well as those of all
the international monitors - no exceptions, warts and all - and make a table of
the state-by-state complaints, election-by-election. In fact, INEC could choose
to COMPLETELY IGNORE any state that was not mentioned in any of the reports as
being problem states, stating that it believes that the elections were
completely credible in un-named states.
Then from that table of observer complaints, INEC
should pull up all the relevant the election results, and make voter turn-out
analysis comparisons. These should be both differential analysis (relative
to House versus Senate; Gubernatorial versus Presidential) as well as integral
analysis (relative to the number of registered voters in each polling station or
district) of those states and constitutencies in which all relevant results have
been posted for example on its website. For example, the 618,071 difference in
votes in Ogun State of April 19 Gubernatorial/Presidential elections; 173,559 in
Kaduna State, 78,805 in Sokoto State, 55,740 in Jigawa State, 46,336 in Oyo
State, 41,269 in Yobe State, 37,369 in Adamawa State, 31,850 in Niger State,
30,644 in Akwa Ibom, 24,197 in Edo State, 20,241 in Zamfara State, 15,375 in
Benue State, and 12,753 in Kogi State, should not go un-addressed. On April
12, the most egregious differences were Adamawa with 53,839 votes, Edo with
51,075 votes, Yobe with 44,437 votes, and Akwa Ibom with 33,372 votes. A
local-government-by-local-government analysis yields quite some interesting
Differential and integral analyses of BALLOT REJECTION RATES also show interesting results in comparison to the complaints of the monitors, with 12 states having absolutely zero bad ballots in their the ENTIRE House and/or Senate returns, despite their total number of votes of 5,953,221 in the House of Reps. (H) elections and 7,671,236 in the Senate (S) elections. These states are Abia (H,S), Adamawa (H,S), Bauchi (H,S), Bayelsa (S), Borno (S), Ebonyi (H), Enugu (H,S), Gombe (S), Imo (H,S), Lagos (S), Oyo (H) and Sokoto (H,S).
Finally, two to three weeks after some of the
elections have been held, some results of some states have still not been
published by INEC itself.
Luckily, these states cut across party lines in
terms of ascendancy.
INEC should then PUBLISH a list of election sites
where it feels that egregious violations MIGHT HAVE OCCURRED, and leave it up to
PARTIES and CANDIDATES to file complaints before the TRIBUNAL. Those that it has
already found egregious violations, it should NOT TO CONTEST in the Tribunals,
and in fact will join the Parties and Candidates in asking for a formal
cancellation of those SPECIFIC ELECTIONS, not just a blanket cancellation. It
can also signal that it will VIGOROUSLY CONTEST those places where it is
convinced that credible elections are held.
Then we can re-run elections in only those areas where the Tribunals rule so. The law allows for up-turning of elections even AFTER those people have been installed in office, so May 29 should not REALLY be a limitation, providing that filing of petition has been done within 30 days of declaration of results as required by law.
I believe it is that confidence-building that we
need right now, not throwing up of our hands that nothing can be done.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS SHOULD BE POSTPONED
Finally, I do not believe that the next local
government elections should be held under the cloud that we are in right now. It
will just once more give more room for rigging - so why bother? Why
allow criminality to occur when we know, when we are now sure AHEAD OF TIME that
it will occur? Does that show any national responsibility?
Right now, there is no law compelling the state
governments to run local government elections. The new and continuing state
governments can RETAIN the hand-picked local government councillors or pick new
ones as they see fit. But for goodness sakes, let us PROPERLY REVISE our voter
registers; expand/re-constitute INEC and the SIECs to include party members so
as to get a little more independence; fund INEC and the SIECs in a more
independent manner; reduce the four-step collation process into no more than
two; secure the institutionalized service of our internal monitors - maybe
they too should be required to sign result tallies - so that they can give more
internal validity to our upcoming elections.
In any case, it is not a wise move to have so many
new state governments be saddled with the task of organizing local governments
within less than a month after their inauguration.
I rest my case for now.
IRIN NEWS ON 2003 ELECTIONS
NIGERIA: Obasanjo's official landslide has
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
13 May 2003
[This is from IRIN, a UN humanitarian information
unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its
agencies. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post any item on this site,
please retain this credit and disclaimer.]
LAGOS, 12 May 2003 (IRIN)
- The triumph of President Olusegun Obasanjo and his ruling party in Nigeria's
general elections was as sweeping as it was unprecedented. But given widespread
accusations of electoral fraud on a massive scale, their resounding victory has
a hollow ring.
"I doubt the results reflect the mood of the
electorate," Chima Ubani, the head of Nigeria's prominent human rights group,
the Civil Liberties Organisation, told IRIN. "It's not the actual wish of the
electorate but some machinery that has churned out unbelievable outcomes. We've
seen a landslide that does not seem sufficiently explained by any available
Most of Nigeria's 29 opposition parties have
denounced plans for Obasanjo to be sworn in for a second four-year term on May
29. Instead they are demanding that Nigeria's chief justice over as interim head
of state to organise fresh elections within three months.
Obasanjo, a former military ruler in the 1970's,
officially won 62 percent of total votes cast in the presidential ballot on
April 19 as he sought a second term as an elected civilian president. And in
separate polls during April and early May, his People's Democratic Party (PDP)
won an absolute majority in the national parliament and governorships and
legislative majorities in 28 of Nigeria's 36 states.
Under previous democratic governments, Nigeria's
ruling party always had to reach a pact with an opposition party to function
effectively. But the PDP has surpassed even the comfortable majority it won in
1999, to arrive at the threshold of total one-party dominance.
However, Muhammadu Buhari, Obasanjo's main rival
in the presidential election and leader of the country's biggest opposition
party, the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) said the elections as "the most
flagrantly rigged in Nigeria's history". Several other influential opposition
Their strident condemnation would have seemed like
sour grapes if local and international observers had not picked large holes in
the conduct of the elections.
The most weight opinions from local observers came
from the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a coalition of 170 human rights and
civic organisations which had 10,000 election observers on the ground, and the
Justice Development and Peace Commission of the Roman Catholic Church, which
deployed 30,000 observers across Nigeria.
The TMG said it found cases of multiple and
underage voting, snatching of ballot boxes by armed thugs and falsification of
results. It said that while several parties were involved in fraud, the major
beneficiary was Obasanjo and ruling PDP. They control the police and other
security agencies, which were found to have been active in perpetrating
The JDPC made similar observations, but also
pointed an accusing finger at Nigeria's electoral commission. In many parts of
the country the results which it announced did not reflect trends observed at
the polling stations, the church monitoring group said. "Someone was fiddling
with the figures," Ifeanyi Enwerem, the head of the JDPC told IRIN.
Similar cases of widespread electoral fraud and
other premeditated malpractices were also reported by international monitors,
including those from the European Union, the U.S-based National Democratic
Institute and the International Republican Institute.
Only the Commonwealth observer group, while noting
cases of fraud, said it was convinced that the results did indeed reflect the
will of the electorate.
The JDPC described as "incredible" official
results showing nearly 100 percent turnout in southern Rivers State, with 2.1
million of 2.2 million registered voters casting their ballot for the ruling
party on a day when observers reported a low turnout.
And in the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta, ethnic
Ijaw militants questioned electoral commission figures showing an 98 percent
turnout near the oil town of Warri. Weeks of fighting between Ijaws and people
from the rival Itsekiri and a boycott organised by Ijaw militants ensured there
was practically no voting in the area. An electoral official assigned to work in
the area told IRIN that top politicians in Obasanjo's PDP had taken home
electoral materials and ballot boxes which they filled and returned.
Nigeria's lower chamber of parliament last week
weighed in on the side of the critics by passing a motion asking for fresh
elections in the entire south of the country and parts of the north, alleging
The House of Representatives also called for the
dismissal of the country's police chief, Tafa Balogun and chairman of the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Abel Guobadia, blaming their
agencies for the alleged disenfranchisement of millions of citizens.
Despite initially ignoring the criticism and
commending INEC for its conduct of the polls, Obasanjo subsequently urged the
electoral body to investigate some of the issues raised, particularly in Enugu
and Rivers states in the southeast.
INEC said last Friday it had started an
"exhaustive" investigation of its own officials for their alleged involvement in
electoral fraud. However, political analysts said this is unlikely to satisfy
opposition groups who have vowed to prevent Obasanjo's inauguration for a second
term and have threatened "mass action" if fresh elections are not held.
Most of the aggrieved opposition parties are also
preparing to challenge the results before electoral tribunals which are expected
to begin sitting in the coming days. However, Nigeria's leading constitutional
lawyer, Professor Ben Nwabuaeze, said these tribunals would not address the main
avenues through which fraud had been committed.
"There is the right of the millions of voters
whose votes had been rendered useless and their wishes thereby thwarted," he
said. "These millions cannot go to the election tribunals or the court of
NIGERIAN CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT ON THE GENERAL
ELECTIONS OF APRIL
12TH AND 19TH 2003
May 1, 2003
As Nigerians prepare to vote in the state
legislative elections scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2003, it has become
necessary to review the political situation following the conduct of the
National Assembly Elections held on Saturday, April 12, 2003 and the
Presidential/ Gubernatorial Elections held on Saturday, April 19, 2003. This
intervention is issued based on observations on the controversy surrounding the
elections, especially the reports of the monitoring groups, grievances by some
parties, responses by government officials and the mass media.
This review is being conducted by members of civil
society organizations involved in election monitoring activities during the last
elections. Representatives of 45 organisations1, met in Abuja on Tuesday, April
29 and Wednesday, April 30, 2003 under the auspices of the Electoral Reform
Network (ERN) to deliberate on matters arising from the series of elections
conducted so far.
The deliberations took into consideration the
preliminary reports issued by election observer groups, including the Transition
Monitoring Group (TMG), the Catholic Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC),
the Labour Election Monitoring Team (LEMT) and the Federation of Muslim Women
Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and the Muslim League for Accountability (MULAC).
These report were supported by direct evidence of observers who saw events in
Collectively, these groups deployed a total of
46,000 observers to cover the 120,000 polling stations in the country. This
represent about 31 per cent of the polling stations. In actual fact, our
observers covered more polling stations than the total number of monitors
because in many communities, between 4 and 8 polling stations are located in the
same vicinity. When these units are taken into consideration, Nigerian civil
society organizations covered more than one third of the polling stations. Our
monitors/ observers reports, therefore, a true reflection of events that went on
in a substantial numbers of the polling stations.
All these observers/monitors were accredited by
the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to observe the elections.
We believe that the reports of these Nigerians performing a civic duty of
election observation must be taken into consideration by the election
authorities in determining the success or otherwise of the elections.
Summary of Findings
The evidence available to us confirms that
elections/voting took place in some parts of the country voters had the
opportunity to turn up at polling stations, cast their ballots for the
candidates of their choice and had results declared reflecting their choice.
This ideal situation was actually the exception rather than the rule.
We have evidence that in many polling stations
across the country, voters voted, results were declared at some polling
stations, while in other there was a conscious decision by electoral personnel
not to declare the results. Whether declared or not, these results were
manipulated by electoral officers and party officials at collation centers. This
was the situation in many local government areas in Anambra State Njikoka,
Aguata, Onitsha and Nnewi; Imo State Owerri North East, Orlu; and widespread in
Rivers, Enugu and Delta States. But a comparision of these results declared at
polling stations and recorded by both domestic and international observers, show
The third case scenarios are places where voters
were disenfranchised because they did not have the opportunity to vote. Our
observers' report show that elections did not take place in Ughelli North,
Ughelli South, Okpe, Patani and some parts of Bomadi and Burutu Local Government
Areas of Delta State.
While in some areas, these malpractices were
isolated, in other areas, they were part of a systematic plan to either
disenfranchise the voters or distort the votes.
In summary, the following represent various forms
of malpractices and inadequacies which afflicted the elections, based on the
reports of the various monitoring groups:
1. Inadequate preparation by INEC, resulting in logistic problems and inefficiency of its officials, especially on April 12, 2003
2. Pre-election activities, such as voters' registration and education, were hurriedly carried out by INEC. In particular, the voters' registration exercise were not effectively done.
3. The display of voters' register for verification was not effectively done
4. In essence, voters' registration exercises created room for electoral fraud.
5. Inadequately trained INEC official
6. Domineering influence of state governors on INEC officials in many states, including supplying personnel who served as INEC electoral officials
7. Pre-election violence, such as assassinations,especially of members of opposition to the ruling party in many states.
8. Intimidation of opposition by the government, for example reply by President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Inspector-General of Police to General Muhammadu Buhari's letter of complaint about the management of the April 12, 2003 elections.
9. Violence in many parts of the country resulting in disruption or abortion of elections in many polling stations, especially in the south-South and South-East zones.
10. The use of members of the armed forces to intimidate the electorate and party agents, especially in the South East.
11. Under-age and multiple voting
12. Ballot snatching and ballot stuffing
13. Falsification of results
14. Employment of party faithful as INEC ad-hoc
Following the announcement of election results,
there were disputes, claims and counter-claims of the circumstances surrounding
the elections. We have no doubt, based on our observers' reports, that in some
areas, the elections were conducted and results reflect the will of people.
There are also circumstances where cases of electoral malpractices can be left
to Election Tribunals to make the determination, whether or not these
malpractices substantially affected the outcome of the elections.
The responses of government officials to these
reports have been unsatisfactory and, in many cases, undemocratic. The
demonisation of aggrieved parties and international observers is unacceptable.
The use of government mass media at the Federal
and State levels, especially the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the
Federal Radio Corporation of Nigerian (FRCN), to malign aggrieved persons,
demonise foreign observers and as tool of propaganda to distort the nature and
extent of electoral fraud constitute abuse of power.
The resort to falsehood by the Minister of
Information and National Orientation, Professor Jerry Gana, during his world
press conference, to the effect that the National Orientation Agency deployed
120,000 monitors is unacceptable.
Conclusions and Recommendations
INEC must acknowledge that although it may have
set out to conduct free and fair elections, not everything went according to
plan. INEC should be bold and honest enough to admit its errors and successes.
The INEC cannot seriously claims that elections have been successfully conducted
in states such as Rivers, Enugu and Delta. In some other states, including
Anambra, Abia, Benue, Imo and Plateau, where the election results have been
willfully falsified, INEC must quickly review the process and restore the
legitimate votes recorded.
Even in some of these cases, the INEC could reduce
the tension in the land by taking a second look at evidence of independent
domestic and international observers.
Based on the above, we wish to make the following
* In states where elections were not held, INEC should urgently make arrangements to conduct elections there
* The Election Petition Tribunals should not succumb to corrupt inducement, threat or intimidation from any quarters. They should not give priorities to technicalities over substantive issues and must aim to do substantial justice
* The demonisation of aggrieved parties and observers should stop
* The use of government-controlled mass media, especially the NTA and the FRCN, to distort the nature and extent of electoral fraud should stop. This constitutes an abuse of power.
* Government officials should desist from using
derogatory statements that do not reflect reality against opposition and
* Nigerians should learn to let people express their democratic rights and freedoms without ethnic,religious and regional prejudice
* The phenomenon of rented crowds of associations, professions, unions visiting state houses and the presidency has emerged again as was the case during the Abacha regime to congratulate "winners" and condemn opposition. This is a shameful exhibition of corruption, opportunism and lack of principles by both parties involved government and the "crowd" of visitors.
* The Constitution needs to be amended and
Electoral Act reviewed to make INEC truly independent and not mere appointees of
the President. There is also a need to prohibit the use of government facilities
and funds to prosecute the election campaign of incumbent office holders.
We hope that the May 3, 2003 elections will be
free from the malpractices and fraud recorded in the previous elections. We
commend the electorate for their commitment to democracy and their perseverance
so far and urge them to continue to believe in the democratic process and turn
out in large numbers to vote on May 3.
Electoral Reform Nework (ERN)
Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)
Justice Development and Peace
John A. Kolawole
Labour Election Monitoring Team (LEMT)
Federation of Muslim Women Associations of Nigeria (FOMWAN) and
the Muslim League for Accountability (MULAC).
The Election Review Meeting and this publication
is made possible by the Electoral Reform Network (ERN)
(1) Some of the organizations represented at the meeting are coalitions and networks representing scores of other organizations. These include: Transition Monitoring Group which has 170 affiliate organizations; the Electoral Reform Network (ERN), with 73 member organizations; the Labour Election Monitoring Team, representing member unions of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress; the Muslim League for Accountability and the Federation of Muslim Women's Association of Nigeria, both with about 50 member organization
© 1999 - 2006 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to legal recourse.
Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 710080, HERNDON, VA 20171-0080, USA.
This page was last updated on 10/27/07.