The Edo State Governorship election will likely be rigged, decided by the power of gun while the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will declare the winner of the election.
This will happened for some reasons, (1) INEC will not make the use of card readers compulsory and will opt for incident forms which will give room for massive rigging (2) the coercive use of federal might will come to play, the security personnel will assist the thugs in rigging the election (3) violence will characterize places the People Democratic Party (PDP) has massive support (4) votes will not count.
In the build-up to the election, INEC did not assure Edo people and Nigerians its readiness to ensure card readers are the only means of authenticating voters’, it did not also condemn vote buying while no plan was made to ensure vote-buying did not take place.
From 2015, the trend shows clearly INEC is not interested in the use of card readers which is the only tool at the moment to check election rigging, and this is backed by data that shows the compliance level of card readers’ usage by INEC. The compliance level is shown below.
54% compliance in 2015
19%/compliance in 2019
16% compliance in 2020
After the massive rigging in the Kogi election, INEC accepted that it was the worst election it ever conducted followed by the Bayelsa election. Bad as the elections were, INEC returned ballots and announced results, while defending its action and blaming the Kogi people.
In Kogi and Bayelsa, the police worked with thugs to carry out huge electoral violence and fraud that led to the rigging of the entire process while APC was returned elected.
After the Kogi election, the Nigerian police accepted it was rigged while accusing thugs of committing electoral atrocities wearing a police uniform, exonerating its men from the political sacrilege that happened in the state that led to the emergence of Mr. Yahaya Bello as the state governor.
Till this moment, no police officer and INEC official have been publicly sanctioned for aiding rigging in Kogi and Bayelsa states.
After the Kogi election, Mr. Bello was welcomed at the Aso – Villa by Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, where he congratulated him and rated the election as one of the best in the nation’s history.
The use of federal might to rig election has featured prominently in Ondo, Kano, Kogi, Bayelsa elections. They have become an acceptable norm in conducting elections in Nigeria. And, Edo cannot be an exception especially when Mr. Bola Tinubu, the perceived APC leader is determined for his party to win the Edo governorship election.
The incentives for rigging election in Nigerian and INEC’s character of rewarding those who rig election by accepting and announcing result from the rigged election has since assured politicians that they can rig election in any way possible and be declared the winner.