So much has been said, read and heard about the immediate past off-cycle elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi States. Even though Nigerians had already known when and which party would win in all the three states, no thanks to INEC, there was however another new game that was introduced.

It is against this background that I make bold to suggest that Nigeria should outlaw this method of election. Rather, parties should be made to submit the names of their candidates to the Supreme Court which in turn will decide who to be Governors at the state level and who the President should be at the presidential level. This suggestion is based on the fact that the relevance of INEC is no more valid. Instead of appropriating huge amount of money to INEC for the purpose of conducting free, fair and credible election, let us channel such funds to agriculture, roads and bridges.

Nigerians no longer believe in INEC. For me, the acronym INEC simply means Inherited Network of Economic Cabals designed to offload the loot of politicians to their individual pockets as their own legitimate share of the national cake. Period. This is why only the highest bidder gets victory in political cases brought before it.

Would you expect a fresh candidate with ideas to defeat a sitting governor in an election? Yes. It can happen so far as such election is not conducted in Nigeria and by INEC, especially this present electoral body led by my very honest brother of same mother but different father, the great Prof. He does not need much introduction. This guy is so brilliant that the equipment he bought with taxpayers’ money and acclaimed to be foolproof decided to develop a “glitch” when they were most needed, having successfully performed in the previous election. Oga you too much.

Perhaps this will bring about an extensive research work by scientists. This reader may wish to agree with me that when voters get to know that it is the Nigerian INEC that is handling any election, they will prefer to sit at home and watch sport programme instead of going out to vote for the candidate of their choice. Why? The reason being that their votes will not make any difference. The authorities already know the chosen one. So, going to vote under the scorching sun or heavy downpour, as was the situation in the last general election, is only a waste of precious time.

Maybe this is why the writer is of the opinion that INEC should be scrapped and both the Appeal and Supreme Courts be allowed to take over its functions. Stop fuelling the organization that is no longer useful.

On the other hand, even the Appeal and Supreme Courts which have not taken over from INEC no longer have “skeletons” in their cupboard. Instead, what we find now are healthy rats and cockroaches that have abandoned the eating of files. Check it out, the least they feed on presently are fresh bread, biscuits and noodles. This was evident in the day when majority of the Justices slept off comfortably during the period judgement was being read by the Appellate Court in the case of Atiku and Obi challenging the election of Bola Tinubu. Was it not a show of overfeeding? Call it any name.

However, the days or credible elections are gone. Results of elections are now finally determined by the courts depending on which side INEC gives its backing and support. With the present leadership of INEC, there cannot be changes except maybe for the worst.

Even as we speak right now, there have been rejections in some quarters over the alleged appointments of some members of All Progressives Congress (APC) and allies of high-ranking politicians as new Resident Electoral Commission (RECs) for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). These alleged members of the ruling APC appointed are from Rivers, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom and Edo States. Their appointments were confirmed by the Senate.

Meanwhile, RECs are supposed to be non-partisan. How can these set of persons who are expected to conduct credible elections do their jobs without political biases when they are already identified as belonging to a political party?

Presently, Nigeria is drifting towards a one-party system against the spirit of our constitution of 1999 (as amended). The principal actor is this regard is the APC, while the permanent “collabo” is INEC using the courts as “facilitator”. Our democracy cannot be said to be on solid keel with all these happenings.

Chidi Anselm Odinkalu in his column, Veritas of Monday November 20th captioned “Judicial Mercenarism” wrote and I quote: “It is no surprise that this kind of thing only happens in political and election disputes where politicians chase judges with money and induce open trades in the outcome of judicial proceedings. This is why judicial mercenarism is often accomplished by unconcealed hubris. Just this past week, a Justice of Appeal informed the Appellants in the judicial court over the governorship of Lagos State that they ‘came empty-handed and left empty-handed. They merely enjoyed their day in court’. The courts no longer even pretend to tether their pronouncements to any sense of principle, precedent or proportion.”

Using an expression originated by our Cameroon neighbours, he concluded, “Judicial mercenarism now manifests itself in an open jurisprudence of ‘buy am; sell am’.”

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But let us remember that the reason why monkeys are acclaimed as very good in jumping from one tree to the other is because the trees are close to each other; let them try their skills where the trees are just a pole from each other.

Our mumu don do; Nigerians should shake this attitude of “siddon look”. I have spoken just like the oracle!

Meanwhile, politicians even at the ward level seem to be opposed to the kind of politics being played at both the state and national level. For example, while those who claimed to be politically superior to those at the grassroots level in a particular ward in Benin were using their Ogboni Fraternity to coerce a popular candidate of the people, they met with a stiff opposition. Whereas the son of Papa Linger was the chosen chairman, other highly influential members of the party within the same ward wanted to plant their chosen one as the chairman of the ward. Their resistance was highly commendable and the so-called godfathers had to leave the venue in shame. The question is: How many can be so united as to have their way against such godfathers?

I commend the son of Papa Linger and his supporters for standing their ground. If others can emulate this exemplary behaviour, perhaps there would be no reason to seek “judgement” from the courts. Papa Linger, I salute your courage! I also salute your supporters for standing by you without looking at the “bags” of money they brought along to intimidate them. If I did not witness the happenings, I would as well classify the election as usual.

Now back to base. Just as I was concluding this piece, some cheering news came in from Liberia. This news rubbished what and how the Bible described the homeland of our Lord Jesus. The Thomases asked rhetorically, “What good can come out of Nazareth?”, just the way our colonialists do not believe any good thing can come out of Africa.

Goodluck Jonathan did it before and now George Weah has done it again. The question is: Are there any lessons for our present leaders with regard to these new developments?

Listen to Weah: “The results announced tonight, though not final, indicate that Ambassador Joseph N. Boakai is in the lead that we cannot surpass. Therefore, a few minutes ago, I spoke with President-Elect to congratulate him on his victory. Tonight, as we acknowledge the results, let us also recognize the true winners of these elections are the people of Liberia.”

Of the truth, Weah had all the instruments of the election, like our President, over Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, but he refused to coerce those involved in the electoral processes. Yet, Nigeria’s President, whose election was heavily challenged, had the mind to commend the Liberian leader for what he personally described as “sterling example, undiluted patriotism and statesmanship”.

At this juncture, permit me to ask this question: Who should be giving good example? Is it the giant or the Lilliputian? Your guess is as good as mine.

Weah decided to concede defeat because of the fact that the outcome of the election was due to the prima facie electoral process which resulted through free, transparent and credible voting pattern. Nigeria once had these opportunities but were rubbished by the umpire.

The only way we can enjoy such process again in this country depends on who replaces the present composition of INEC. If Prof and his group remain to conduct 2027 general elections, to God be the glory. One thing I am very sure about is that, Nigeria will not remain the same again, thereafter.

Ka Chineke mezie okwu!!!

*Imagbe, journalist and public analyst, writes from Benin.