A professor of political philosophy with a speciality in public policies, politics and governance, Akinyemi Onigbinde has given his verdict about the 2023 elections.
According to him, the election that produced President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was not free and fair.
Onigbinde, who is also the Executive Secretary, Centre for Development and Policy Studies, in an interview with Nigerian Tribune, said the elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the 2023 presidential elections was not credible and also alleged that the BVAS was deliberately disabled to favour candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC), Tinubu.
“We saw it as it happened even in the last elections conducted by INEC. Without prejudice to whatever the court will say, the election that produced Tinubu was not free and fair. INEC deliberately disabled BVAS for the presidential election. Why did it work for the National Assembly election which was held on the same day? Suddenly, they said BVAS did not work again,” he said.
Onigbinde also alleged that the general elections in Lagos was tampered with to reduce the votes of the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi, saying, “We have it on good authority that the result in Lagos was terribly doctored to reduce the votes of Peter Obi.”
He added that by alleging the APC of using violence and playing the tribal card to gain the advantage of the Yorubas and divide the electorate, “they went overdrive in the governorship election. In fact, they reduced my humanity as a Yoruba person with the kind of bigotry displayed in the second election. Suddenly, the election turned to where we had to bring in Igunnu masquerade and oro, with people beaten out of the queue. Even some Yoruba who look like Igbo people were beaten and denied the chance to vote in the election.
“We should know that these politicians have captured even the judiciary. Look at the pronouncements of the Supreme Court on Senators Ahmed Lawan and Godswill Akpabio, people who did not even take part in the primaries of their parties were declared the rightful candidates. Look at Imo State today. So, whoever has access to the judiciary now gets the votes.
“We should call what we have a civilian administration and not civil administration because there is nothing civil even in the way these people come to power. Rigging no longer has finesse as far as these people are concerned. Baales in Lagos threatened people not to come out and vote for the candidates of their choice unless they were ready to vote for a particular candidate.
“They did this to ensure a section of the voters did not come out to vote. So, I don’t know what you meant by being harsh in my statement. There is total state capture. Nobody outside the political class, no matter your ideas, can win an election now. Who are you to have ideas on how you intend to want to run the country better when a party sold its nomination forms for N100m? Election has been turned into a lottery. The N100m is a ticket to get you into the lottery room, not even to begin to play. To play, which is to contest the election, you require hundreds of billions of naira. Do you know what N100m is?”
The Professor decried the monetary tool employed by politicians and the weaponization of poverty, saying; “We have monetised politics and weaponised poverty. People now just go to queue behind the person who can give them food. I am from Egba in Ogun Central, but I have been one of the advocates of the Yewa agenda over the years. How could you have a people, out of three senatorial districts in the state, who have not been able to produce the governor of the state? Suddenly, somebody who has played all his politics in Lagos State and whose name has never been mentioned as being from Yewa has now become a Yewa person, maybe he just remembered the story of his great grandfather who was said to have come from Ilaro or wherever and switched over to Yewa.
“Immediately, they handed over the political structure to him because he has money. From being a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, later House of Representatives and Senate twice, he is now the Senator-elect from Yewa. The people of Yewa rejected their own, tested and trusted sons and daughters who had been there for them. It is about money. He has enough money to send everybody away from the dance floor. Once a musician sees you as the one with the deepest pocket, he will switch to singing your praise. People won’t know there is any other person on the dance floor.”