By Farooq Kperogi
In his interview with Arise TV recently, Ovation publisher and presidential hopeful Dele Momodu talked of the “owners of Nigeria” who teleguide the selection of political leaders, particularly presidents, and to whom we’re helpless victims.
They are an amorphous group of crafty old stagers with enduringly deep roots in the structure of Nigeria, and include such people as TY Danjuma, IBB, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Aliyu Gusau, Obasanjo (from 2007 to now), etc.
From 1999 up until 2019, this group determined who became president. But the late Abba Kyari caused their mystique to evaporate in 2019.
Like Dele Momodu rightly pointed out, the group endorsed Atiku Abubakar because they justifiably feared that Buhari was leading Nigeria to a ruinous future that it may not recover from.
However, although Atiku did convincingly win the 2019 election by nearly 2 million votes, Abba Kyari used INEC’s Mahmood Yakubu, a man he singlehandedly and strategically appointed, to thwart Atiku’s victory– and nothing happened.
Nearly three years after the election, INEC has still not given a state-by-state breakdown of the result of the election on its website like Attahiru Jega’s INEC did.
INEC has not had the courage to share the raw data of the election with the public because the numbers won’t add up. The numbers won’t add up because they are not even remotely faithful to the outcome of the votes cast on Election Day.
An indication of the discomfiture of the “owners of Nigeria” about the outcome of the 2019 election was evident in the fact that no past living head of state or president, except the unfailingly genial Yakubu Gowon, honored Buhari’s inauguration. They all withheld their symbolic stamps of approval from it. That was a first.
Abba Kyari has shown that if you can control the INEC chairman, you can outsmart the “owners of Nigeria.”
Josef Stalin once said, “I consider it completely unimportant who… will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.”
Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza was coarser and blunter when he mocked a political opponent he fraudulently “defeated”: “Indeed, you won the elections, but I won the count.”
The New York Times of May 26, 1880 recalled Napoleon Bonaparte to have said: “I care not who casts the votes of a nation, provided I can count them.”
Instead of begging the “owners of Nigeria” to give him a chance to be president, Egbon Dele Momodu should tweak Abba Kyari’s formula: influence how the vote is counted.
Since he can’t influence Mahmood Yakubu like Abba Kyari did, he should lend his weight to calls for transparent, on-the-spot electronic transmission of election results, which should be stored on a server that INEC can’t disown at will later—like it did in 2019.
If that becomes institutionalized, everyday Nigerians, and not a shadowy cabal of influence peddlers, could become the “owners of Nigeria.”
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