Ex  INEC Chair  IWU under trail over  N1.2b 2015 Poll fraud in
election won by Buhari
……….says  Am a victim of witch hunt , victimization.
FROM  VINCENT  EGUNYANGA
Former  Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission
(INEC)  Professor Maurice  Iwu has said his trail by the Economic and
Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)  over alleged bribe of over one
billion naira to rig the  2015  General Election was an act of
intimidation and victimization.
Professor  told  newsplatform  Magazine  before his arraignment at the
Federal High Court  that he had done nothing wrong.
He said there is a calculated attempt by those in Authority to punish
him unjustly because of the way they lost the 2007  Presidential
election which the lost.
It will be recalled that Professor IWU  is facing trial over his
involvement in the  N23.29 billion poll bribery  scandal which
characterized the 2015 polls.
IWU  is alleged  to have between December 2014 and March 2015 aided
the concealment of the sum of  N1,203,000,000 (One billion, two
hundred and three million Naira.
The  said sum was in the bank account of Bio resources Institute of
Nigeria limited domiciled  in the United Bank for Africa, UBA PLC.
According  to  Nation Newspaper report  ‘a reliable source who gave
insight into  the investigation of IWU SAID THE CASH IN QUESTION WAS
ABOUT THE POLL BRIBERY SCANDAL OF 2015.’
HE SAID ‘Iwu  has been implicated  in the N23,29b poll bribery scam
perpetrated by a former Minister of Petroleum  Resources  Mrs  Diezani
Alison  Madueke.  He was accused of allegedly using an NGO, West
African  Network of Electoral observers in the facility  of the
bribery to top officials  of the Electoral  Commission.  The  case has
been on since 2016’.
Reports  had it that the EFCC has been investigating the bribery
scandal which was allegedly facilitated  by Mrs Alison Madueke.
About four oil firms, some Directors of some oil companies, two banks
and some politicians more than 283 staff of INEC are under probe.
Also about  205 INEC  staff members  are on trial in connection with
the biggest  electoral fraud in the country.
According to reports  apart from  the EFCC’S  findings,  INEC  panel
headed by  a National Commissioner Baba Arfo  Shettima made shocking
discoveries.  These include
(1)      An NGO,  West African Network of Election observers  was used to
share the bribe to INEC.
(2)      A  former  INEC Chairman coordinated the bribery scandal
(3)      Many  former Residents Electoral commissioners  and Retired
Administrated Secretaries  were used to penetrated INEC  in all the 36
states  for the bribery to alter poll results.
(4)    Some  serving Resident Electoral Commissioners  and Directors
benefitted  from the bribery scandal as confirmed by EFCC
investigations.
What is curious is that while Professor Maurice  Iwu who was not a
staff or Commissioner of INEC  as at the time of the 2015 election is
being tried for election bribery scandal while  principal  officers of
the Commission  like  Chairman Professor Attahiru  Jega  etc were not
tried.  To the EFCC only those who wanted former President Goodluck
Jonathan to win the elections rigged. Those who wanted Buhari to win
did not rig.
It would be recalled that  in his remark recently The  Chairman of
the Independent National Electoral Commission Prof Yacoub  stated
categorically that that the 2015  election conducted by Professor Jega
recorded  the highest number of annulled polls. At the meeting with
Residents Electoral Commission [REC]  He stated that there were  20
annulled elections in 2015. These figured did not include those in
which the courts upturned the elections and ordered for issuance of
Certificate of Returns  to a different candidate
Even recently The Human Rights Commission election reports on election
offences  2007 to 2015  condemned the 2015 elections and threatened to
prosecute those they termed rigged the election. Their target was
Maurice Iwu.  The report however  is  in human, lazy and uncerebral
exercise.
Mr Wale Fapohunda who masterminded the project served under governor
Fayemi first tenure as  governor of Ekiti state as Commissioner of
Justice. Before then he was a member of the Commission and after
Fayemi was voted out of office , he came back to the commission
through the back door.  Some civil Society Organisations who  observed
these elections  along with Gani Fawehinmi led National Conscince
Party  are ready to also let the world know what went right under
Professor Iwu leadership of INEC. Why the Commission silent on whole
sale election offences committed in 2011 and 2015 by those who are in
power now . Over 500 people including youth corps members  were killed
by protesters not happy with the outcome of the 2011  general
elections conducted by Professor Attahiru Jega that brought in Dr
Goodluck Jonathan.

INEC THE JOURNEY SO FAR
IT is important to state here that the collapse of past Republics was
due largely to the controversies and  rejection to the outcome of
election results at various levels during the period.
The Electoral Commission of Nigeria  [ECN]  conducted  the election in
the first Republic 1960 to 1966. The  elections was marred by  series
of  malpractices which included ballot box snuffing, ballot box
snatching, kidnapping of opponents, denying opponents electoral
materials etc. the ethnic leanings of the political parties made
matters worse as crisis among political parties led to ethnic crisis.
Political  Parties and their ethnic supporters  rejected the outcome
of the  1964/65  general elections. There was near anarchy in the
land. The situation was so bad that the leader of Action Group [AG]
who was leader of opposition Chief Obafemi Awolowo was quoted to have
said he had lost confidence in the electoral system.
Instead of the government at that time trying to reform the electoral
system and restore confidenc, Chief Awolowo and some of his supporters
were sent to jail. This was the situation in the country until the
military struck in 1966.
Nigeria made another attempt at Democracy  in 1979/83 knwn as the
second Republic. The electoral sytem then produced lots of
malpractices and the legal interpretations of what is the 2/3 of 19
states. The case got to the supreme court without resolutions. The
1983 elections was not better off. All oppositions candidates that
contested the elections Dr Nnamdi Azikwe of the Nigeria Peoples Party
[NPP], Chief  Obafemi Awolowo of the Unity Party Of Nigeria [UPN],
Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri  of Great Nigeria Peoples Party [GNPP], Mallam
Aminu Kano of Peoples Redemption Party [PRP]  opposed the results of
the elections while Alhaji Shehu Shagari of the National Party of
Nigeria [NPN]  went away with claims of landslide victory. The
landslide victory was shortlived as  as the miliray struct again three
months after later Dec 31 1983 bringing the second Republic to an end.
Many people in Nigeria particularly the vocal minority regarded the
1993 general elections in the country  as the freest and fairest in
the country,  there was however a departure from the past as it
introduced an option A4 into elections in Nigeria. It was introduced
by the government of  General Ibrahim Babangida as head of state and
Professor Humphery Nwosu, a Professor of Political Science as the
Chairman of  National Electoral Commission [NEC].
Because of its perceived success many called for the adoption of
option A4 for future elections in Nigeria. What proponements of option
A4 failed to realize was that the outcome of that elections which
included its annulments led to the death of the perceived winner of
that election Chief Moshood  Abiola, his wife Kudirat, a former Head
of state Sani Abacha and hundreds of Nigerians killed  on the streets
of Lagos. It also brought with it lack of trust and  harmony among
neighbours  and friends.
The 1999  which was conducted by the Independent National Electoral
Commission [INEC]  elections had its own problems but was overlooked
because Nigerians were tired of the military and wanted them to go
immediately.
The 2003 general elections was regarded as the worst election in
Nigeria especially by both local and International observers. Among
the observers that rejected the outcome of the 2003 general elections
included the Transition Monitoring Group [TMG]  and the European
Union.
The  2003 Presidential election was said to have been won by the
candidate of the PDP Chief  Olusegun Obasanjo. There were series of
streets  protest  by  Buhari to protest the results of the election
using the platform of the Conference of  Nigerias  Political  Party [
CNPP]. Those who led the street protest included  Muhammadu Buhari,
Chief Odimegwu Ojukwu  who was then candidate of APGA, Chief Tunji
Braithwaite, Alhaji  Balarabe Musa,  Barrister Maxi Okwu  who was the
secretary of CNPP among others, police used tear gas to disperse these
eminent Nigerians.
There was also a follow up protest in Kano where  the Police used
poisoned  gas  to disperse the protesters.  Buhari’s  Running mate at
the 2003  election  and former Senate President Dr Chuba Okadigbo did
not survive  from the poisoned gas until he died.
This was the electoral situation in Nigeria before Professor Maurice
Iwu became the Chairman of  the Independent National Electoral
Commission [INEC].  What Professor Iwu did  was first to ensure that
we didn’t go back to the mistakes of the past, ‘if we must save the
country and sustain out nascent democracy. He introduced some reforms
into our electoral systems. Some of the reforms we are still following
till today.
Among the reforms introduced by Professor Iwu was the stakeholders
forum with Political Parties, this was done both at the National,
State and Local Government levels. The stakeholders forum is made up
of  representatives of Political Parties, Civil Society Organisations
and Development partners.  INEC  under Professor Iwu also launched
the Political Party finances’ manual.
The 1999 constitution of Nigeria and the Electoral Act 2002 vested on
INEC  the responsibilities of overseeing the general activities and
management of Political Party Finances. In carrying out this
responsibility a brand new  Political Party  Finance manual
accompanied by a handbook was launched. The  Political Party Finance
manual has provided a system  for capturing, documenting, controlling
and reporting on the  financial activities of Political Parties. The
emphasis is on the disclosure of Information on Political Parties
Finances with the understanding that the disclosure will curb
Political corruption, prevent inflow of  funds from undesirable
sources and enable the public to know more about the sources of funds
into the coffers of  parties and candidates. If this aspect of the
reforms as proposed  by Professor Iwu was continued after he left
office, this issue of probing campaign funds or using Arms money for
election would have been avoided. The  last American Presidential
election just ended the whole world  knew that Hilary Clinton was able
to raise about $500m  for her campaign while the winner of the
Presidential Election Donald  Trump raised about $300m.  but nobody
not even INEC  knew how much  the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] or
the All Progressives Congress [APC] raised for their  campaign in the
2015 general election.
Many Nigerians who are probable happy with the Permanent Voters Card
and the Card Reader  or who are the direct beneficiaries of the PVC
have forgotten that the system was actually introduced by Professor
Iwu in 2004 when he introduced the Electronic Voting System. The
system consisted of four components. They include the Electronic
Voters Register,  Eligible Voters Authentication, Electronic
Balloting, and the  Electronic Transmission of Results.
The Electronic Voting System are automated  voting methods which
employ computing technology to improve several aspects  of the
electoral process. It incorporates  paperless voting methods, increase
efficiency, stability, speed, audit and accuracy.  Its main features
is that it is easy to operate, easy to adapt, ensure integrity of the
voting data, portable and battery powered.
The Independent National Electoral Commission under Professor Maurice
Iwu conducted the 2007 general elections. It was the elections that
brought in Alhaji Umar YarAdua to power as the President of Nigeria.
This election was widely condemned by Nigerians and the International
Community which included the  National Democratic Institute,[NDI]  the
International Federation on Electoral System [IFES], The International
Republican Institute [IRI] , THE Commonwealth Observer Group among
others. even the main beneficiary of the election Umar YarAdua himself
said the election that brought him to office lacked credibility.

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