Dear Professor Mahmood Yakubu,
I hope you are staying safe, and keeping to the WHO and Government guidelines with respect to the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19?
Please sir, I will be very plain and detailed in this open letter.
As you may already know sir, the general elections of 2019 had come and gone. The governorship elections of Kogi and Bayelsa States had also come and gone. We are waiting for the governorship elections of Edo and Ondo States to also come and go too.
But in all these elections; both past, present, and future, something is seriously wrong with all of them. Something very important is seriously missing in all of these elections.
Professor Mahmood sir, I would like you to tell me why it is usually so difficult for INEC to publish the results of elections on the official INEC website (for instance, the results of the governorship elections of Kogi and Bayelsa, and all other recent bye-elections are yet to be published on the website).
And then, I would also like to know why is so difficult for INEC to include the very necessary information about the elections inside the results which happened to be published on the INEC Website.
I would like to know why INEC refused to include the “Number of Registered Voters”, the “Number of Accredited Voters”, “Total Votes Cast”, “Total Valid Votes”, and “Total Voided Votes” in all the election results which you uploaded on the official INEC website (except perhaps, for only the presidential election result which has all the necessary information complete in it.)
Why exactly did INEC omit all this important information which was in the presidential election result in all the other election results that were published on the INEC Website?
Professor Mahmood sir, it may interest you to know that many Nigerians (Including Myself) and many Civil Society Organisations had been sending series of Freedom of Information Request Letters to your office and to the official email address of INEC, requesting that these necessary information be included in the results which INEC published on its website.
Yet the necessary information are yet to be added to the published results up till this very moment.
If INEC had the strength and the time to publish the names of the parties and the numbers of individual votes gotten by the parties in the various elections, and to also indicate which party won the election, what exactly is so difficult for the same INEC to make the results complete by adding the total registered voters, accredited voters, total votes cast, total valid votes, and total voided votes?
Professor Mahmood sir, let me use these typical examples below to make myself clearer. I had included the links to some of the election results that were published on the INEC’s website. The first link below is the link to the Presidential Election Result, which is very complete and very commendable. This format of the presentation of presidential election result was what I was expecting in all the other results that were published on the INEC website. httpss://www.inecnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2019-GE-PRESIDENTIAL-ELECTION-RESULTS.pdf
But now, comparing with the results in these three links below, which are the three senatorial results for Anambra State, the only thing someone who clicked on the results can get is the name and locality of the elections, the dates, the parties that contested, the votes which the parties got, and the party that won. The person would not see the number of registered voters for each senatorial zone, the number of accredited voters, the total votes cast, the total voided votes, and the total valid votes. And even in some other cases, whether the final results of the elections were decided with a supplementary election, and the dates of such supplementary elections. 1. httpss://www.inecnigeria.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/ANAMBRA-CENTRAL.pdf
The same thing occurred in All the published senatorial results, all the house of representatives results, all the governorships results, and all the house of assemblies results. Not even One of them is complete.
And again, Professor Mahmood sir, there is something else I need to bring to your notice. I do not know exactly why there would be any differences in the number of accredited voters in the same geographical area, for elections that took place at the same time.
Take for instance in Anambra State.
There were no postponements in the three senatorial elections. And the same thing happened with the presidential election. That means, the total number of the accredited voters for the three senatorial elections should be the same for the presidential election, since it was the same One Accreditation which served for both the presidential, senatorial, and house of representatives elections; and again, none of the senatorial elections in Anambra State was postponed and concluded on another date.
Without wasting time sir, let me roll out the values of the numbers of accredited voters in the three senatorial zones for the three senatorial elections, as was announced during the declaration of the results: For Anambra North, it was 210,819. For Anambra South, it was 224,569. For Anambra Central, it was 223,877. The total of the three is 659,265.
Professor Mahmood sir, you can agree with me that these values are very genuine, because they were announced by the INEC Returning Officers in front of the whole world. But sir, even if you think that these figures are fabricated, then you have to disprove these figures by uploading the real values on the INEC website for everybody to see.
Professor Mahmood sir, as you may also know, the number of accredited voters for the presidential election in Anambra State was 675,273. This means that, if we check the difference between the number of accredited voters for the senatorial elections and that of the presidential election in Anambra State, it was 16,008 additional accredited voters.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu sir, I am considering this open letter as a Freedom of Information Request addressed to you publicly as the National INEC Chairman.
And I would like you to issue a comprehensive press statement to address these three issues listed hereunder: First of all, you have to explain why all the necessary information needed to make the election results complete were obviously missing in all the results which INEC published online on their website, even though it is the statutory duty of INEC to release the results of elections and make them public (according to the Nigerian Constitution as amended, and the Electoral Act as amended.)
Secondly sir, you have to explain why there was a difference of 16,008 accredited voters between the senatorial election and the presidential election in Anambra State, whereas the accreditation was not done differently, and also, it was a known fact that cancelled polling units were cancelled altogether for all elections held in that affected polling unit.
Thirdly, you have to state categorically, the date towards which INEC must have uploaded on the INEC website, the complete results with all the necessary information.
Professor Mahmood sir, please bear in mind that by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act, it is the statutory duty of INEC to release and publish the results of each of the elections down to the ward-level results and polling-unit-level results. That one though, is not what I am requesting for at the moment inside this letter, but I just want you to bear it in mind. I may come for those ones later.
And Please sir, I would not want you to reply this letter with the usual mantra of: “All the necessary information are there on the INEC Website”.
To be honest sir, there is no useful information on the INEC Website, and that is exactly why I am writing this open letter to you sir. I hope this letter meets you well.
Please stay safe sir, and please accept the assurances of my warmest regards.
*Mr. Stephen Okechukwu Umerika writes from Aguleri, Anambra State.