Elec­tion Of­fender Num­ber One

Daily Trust - - VIEWS -

The Pres­i­dent of Nigeria is Num­ber One in many things. He is the first cit­i­zen, the first in pro­to­col, the first sol­dier, the first at the din­ner ta­ble, the first politi­cian, the first to cast his vote in an elec­tion, the first to be de­clared win­ner in an elec­tion, etc. It turns out that he is also the first elec­tion of­fender.

Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan was so an­gry with his for­mer party col­league Gover­nor Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso for eat­ing his cam­paign money that he de­cided to ex­pose him at an open air cam­paign rally, even though the episode hap­pened more than three years ago. Ac­cord­ing to Jonathan, his cam­paign team sent “a small amount of money” to ev­ery state del­e­ga­tion dur­ing the PDP’s pres­i­den­tial pri­maries in 2011. How­ever, when money meant for Kano State del­e­gates was sent to Kwankwaso who was the PDP’s gov­er­nor­ship can­di­date and state party leader, “he did not give any­one a kobo.”

That was very bad. Kwankwaso has said many things in his al­ter­ca­tion with Jonathan in the last 10 days or so but he has not specif­i­cally ad­dressed this al­le­ga­tion. He should ad­dress it. How much money did Jonathan give him? Was it in lo­cal or for­eign cur­rency? Did he bring it him­self or did he send some­one else? If he sent some­one else, who was that per­son? Was the money al­ready di­vided into small en­velopes or was it all lumped to­gether? And when Kwankwaso col­lected it, what did he do with it? Did he call the del­e­gates one by one and give it to them or did he, as al­leged, “not give any­one a kobo”? If so, why?

You see, all these ques­tions that I am ask­ing are per­ti­nent be­cause they will be re­quire an an­swer at the Elec­toral Of­fences Tri­bunal, EOT, which could be es­tab­lished in this coun­try in the not too dis­tant fu­ture. The Elec­toral Act 2010 as amended said no one should bribe vot­ers in an elec­tion. Even though this was a party elec­tion and not a gen­eral elec­tion, the im­port of the law is the same. Now Jonathan, in a fit of anger, has ad­mit­ted at a rally that he bribed del­e­gates to the PDP con­ven­tion. It was the first time that a ma­jor politi­cian had ad­mit­ted to an elec­toral crime since Pres­i­dent Obasanjo told us the story of what hap­pened at the State House when, in his pres­ence, then Anam­bra State Gover­nor Chris Ngige and his es­tranged god­fa­ther Chris Ubah ar­gued about how they rigged the 2003 elec­tion.

You see what a man can do to him­self when he speaks in anger? Elec­tion Of­fender Num­ber One, wel­come to the dock.

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