The National Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Plot 436 Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District, FCT, Abuja, NIGERIA.
OPEN LETTER TO PROFESSOR MAHMOOD YAKUBU
RE: RECENT CONDUCT OF THE 2023 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE
My dear National Chairman,
My name is Barr. Menseh Madaki, a legal practitioner, human right activist, political analyst and social commentator and it is with utmost magnifying reverence that I have decided to write you this open letter. In my usual character sir, I would have been unbothered, quiet and tacit on the live issues to write you this letter if the terrible, unfortunate and avoidable circumstances of the most dubitable and dodgy electoral process had not happened thereby throwing the vast majority of the populace into a state of utter dishevelment, messiness and disorderliness.
Sir, before the 25th day of February 2023 you had countlessly remained determined, poised and cocksure that Nigerians will witness a free, fair and credible election in line with the intentions of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR and Nigerians lauded such pellucid utterances and pronouncement owing to the fact that the Electoral Act, 2022 was a watershed which re-instilled confidence in the Nigerian people that the Electoral process was going to tenaciously comply with the express provisions of the electoral Act.
Mr. Chairman sir, the Electoral Act, by virtue of Section 62, mandates the Commission to compile, maintain and update, on a continuous basis, a register of election results to be known as the National Electronic Register of Election Results which will be a distinct database or repository of polling unit results, including collated election results, of each election conducted by the Commission in the Federation but as at the time of this letter the complaints by various political party agents and indeed all Nigerians are that no results had ipso facto been uploaded/transmitted on the database and the collation of the presidential election has continued despite the complaints of the vast majority of Nigerians.
In case you have not fully read the extant provisions of paragraph 38 of INEC Manual and Guidelines 2022 which is made pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and the Electoral Act which provides that:
38. On completion of all the Polling Unit voting and results procedures, the
Presiding Officer shall:
(i) Electronically transmit or transfer the result of the Polling Unit, direct to the collation system as prescribed by the Commission.
(ii) Use the BVAS to upload a scanned copy of the EC8A to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), as prescribed by the Commission.
(iii) Take the BVAS and the original copy of each of the forms in tamperevident envelope to the Registration Area/Ward Collation Officer, in the company of Security Agents. The Polling Agents may accompany the Presiding Officer to the RA/Ward Collation Centre.
Prof. the operative word is “SHALL” which connotes compulsoriness and mandatoriness and INEC has no option other than comply with the express provisions of the law and the mode of doing the act. Sir, the law is settled as was emphasized in THE GOVERNING BOARD OF THE NIGERIAN NATIONAL MERIT AWARD & ANOR v. AYOOLA & ORS (2022) LPELR-57173(CA) forcefully emphasized the point that:
When a law or regulation provides for a particular method of doing a thing or procedure for carrying out a duty, it must be strictly followed and complied with otherwise any contrary steps taken shall be null and void. See MOBIL PRODUCING NIGERIA UNLIMITED VS. OKON JOHNSON & ORS (2018) 14 NWLR (PART 1639) 329 at 359 A-D per OKORO, JSC who later said… where a statute has provided for the method of doing anything, it must be done in accordance with the express provision of the statute.
It is trite law that when a law provides a particular way/ method of doing a thing, and unless such a law is altered or amended by a legitimate authority, then whatever is done in contravention of those provisions amounts to a nullity and of no effect whatsoever. See Ude v. Nwara & amp; Anal (1993) 2 NWLR (Pt. 278) 638, (1993) LPELR-3289 (SC); M.P.P.P. v. I.N.E.C. & amp; Ors (2015) LPELR-25706 (SC), (2015) 18 NWLR (Pt. 1491) 251
Permit me to say that your insistence on continuing with the collation of results despite public protestations and outcry is a manifest departure and aberration from the express rules and regulations regulating the conduct of elections and the Electoral Act which you are bound to comply with to the latter.
INEC officials have no powers not to transmit the election results electronically and any attempt to do is a calculated and intentional ploy to sabotage and truncate our hard-earned democracy which you must resist such temptations just like flying from the devil.
We have suffered so much in this country in the hands of political monsters and kleptocrats and we must desist from embellishing all sorts of shenanigans that may send us to the orgies and cesspool of wayward decisions as a result of sheer incompetence and callous orientations owing to your obstinate stance to continue with the collations of dubious election results.
This sham called presidential election must be cancelled immediately and a new election be rescheduled to restore confidence in the Nigerian people otherwise we may not be able to withstand the consequence/aftermath of any untoward representations and sheepish declarations.
I conclude by encouraging you to remain dogged in the quest for a better Nigeria through the deployment of sane and prudent decisions that will save us any collective and corporate insult as a people. We cannot afford to go the chaotic state of anarchy and lawlessness since life in that state is brutish.
You have an opportunity to save yourself any shame and posterity will be kind to your generations and indeed you will boldly have your name crafted and engraved in the indelible annals of history.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Act now and save our democracy.
About the writer:
Emmanuel Menseh Madaki Esq. (LLM) MIPMA, is a legal practitioner, human right activist, political analyst and social commentator. He is from the Quintessential Palace of Justice.