Election Offender Number One
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.