February Polls Shift Fallout: How independent is INEC?

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Nigerians wait and watch!

 

Going by the power play, alleged threat, blackmail and unprecedented

bribery allegations in the polity, the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), is being accused of being ‘independent’ only by name, writes Our Political Correspondent

 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can perhaps be seen in the previously alleged compromises, corruption and bribery allegations, particularly during the controversial 2011 polls which gave incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan questionable victory even in areas known to be major stronghold of the then opposition party, CPC, is being played out the latest election postponement drama.

INEC was forced to decide and approve the unpopular election postponement which the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, reportedly championed and ensured that it scaled through because the party is convinced where the votes and direction of Nigerians will be if the elections were to hold this week.

Even from the facial mood and general comportment of the INEC boss, Prof. Attahiru Jega, during the World Press Conference to announce the shocking decision to the world it is very clear that he looked glaringly helpless, frustrated, handicap and a picture of a man obviously being blackmailed into doing the bidding of a desperate ruling party hell bent on imposing itself on a population that has collectively indicted it for unprecedented corruption, none performance, wanton impunity, abuse of office, destruction of the nation’s economy and indeed corrupting its electoral process.

Going by the unanimous rejection of most political parties, except perhaps those allegedly sponsored by the PDP to vote in favour of the shift and the rejection of same postponement by 21 out of the 37 Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, Nigerians and indeed the international community are not only asking nagging questions but were generally shocked by INEC’s approval of the postponement as glaringly dictated by the presidency and the PDP and clearly not only pursuing it but also sponsoring it in order to ensure that the elections were postponed. An online news medium, PREMIUM TIMES, had reported during the intrigues that resulted to the postponement that the presidency is distributing between $30,000.00 to $40,000.00 to smaller political parties and reaching out to other INEC officials with mouthwatering bribes to influence their decision and vote in favour of the postponement.

And surprisingly too INEC has cited security concerns and a letter from the security agencies indicating that they will not be available to provide security due to a planned six weeks operations to engage Boko Haram insurgents. To many it is not a coincidence that the military did not consider such operation before now and it is only thinking of engaging in such operation during a scheduled election period which they know the outcome will not favour the man that appointed them in their lucrative positions.

Even though there is a Federal High Court Sokoto judgment that declared as unconstitutional for the army to be deployed to supervise any election in Nigeria and that the police which the constitution mandated to provide security during election is not participating in the ‘six weeks’ counter insurgency operations, INEC while announcing its decision to postpone the election said “it has become pertinent for it (INEC) to seriously consider the security advisory presented to it by the Security and Intelligence Services. I would like to reiterate here that INEC is an Election Management Body, EMB, and not a security agency. It relies on the security services to provide a safe environment for personnel, voters, election observers and election materials to conduct elections wherever it deploys. Where the security services strongly advise otherwise, it would be unconscionable of the Commission to deploy personnel and call voters out in such a situation”.

Jega in a futile effort to convince the press, Nigerians and the skeptical international community reminded during the press conference that the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) wrote a letter to the Commission, drawing its attention to recent developments in four Northeast states of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe currently experiencing the challenge of insurgency. The letter stated that security could not be guaranteed during the proposed period in February for the general elections.

Prior to INEC’s controversial decision to postpone the polls Nigerians were aware that there are calls from those that are clearly identified as very close to President Jonathan on INEC to postpone the election and were that is not achieved or resisted by the Commission the like of Chief Edwin Clark are calling for the immediate arrest and prosecution of Jega. Insiders told DESERT HERALD that the agitators allegedly in conjunction with their sponsors at the presidency have compiled overwhelming dossiers of corruption and corrupt enrichment against Jega and some of his principal officers and have threatened to blackmail them with it if their desire to shift the polls is not granted by INEC thus leaving Jega helpless and to have no option than to accept the purported security concern as a justification for the postponement even though it is highly unlikely for security and normalcy to be restored in those areas within the six weeks grace they are asking for.

But on the surface Jega wants Nigerians and the international community to accept that the fact that he took his decision by “relying on Section 26(1) of the Electoral 2010 (As Amended), which states thus: Where a date has been appointed for the holding of an election, and there is reason to believe that a serious breach of the peace is likely to occur if the election is proceeded with on that date or it is impossible to conduct the elections as a result of natural disasters or other emergencies, the Commission may postpone the election and shall in respect of the area, or areas concerned, appoint another date for the holding of the postponed election, provided that such reason for the postponement is cogent and verifiable”. He therefore as reported during the week announced that the Commission “has decided to reschedule the 2015 general elections thus: the national elections (i.e. Presidential and National Assembly) are now to hold on March 28th, 2015; while the state elections (Governorship and State Assembly) are to hold on April 11th, 2015.

But conceding to the presidency’s and PDP’s demand for the election shift is not one without implication for the polity and survival of democracy in the country. Pundits averred that the main reason Mr. Jonathan is pushing for the postponement is to allow for more scheming and to see the possibility of compromising and manipulating the electoral process by all means to their advantage. They said part of the many options before Mr. Jonathan is to use maximum force as it was done during the infamous Ekiti gubernatorial election to ensure by all means and even if the nation will go in flames that the incumbent is returned as president.

It would be recalled and typical of PDP’s brand of politics and democracy under Mr. Jonathan and a clear indication that they just want power by all means and the opinion and rights of the people don’t matter when it comes to their selfish ambition, a substantial evidence of how they used the Army, Police and INEC to unseat a seating APC governor through fraudulent election was obtained by an online news medium.

The audio recordings and affidavit on how the rigging was organize and perfected were provided by Sagir Koli, a Captain in the 32nd Artillery Brigade stationed in Ekiti State, who has since fled the country for fear of victimization. Capt. Koli recorded the conversation on 20th June 2014 when he was asked to accompany his Commanding Officer, Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh, to the meeting. The venue was Spotless Hotel in Ado-Ekiti.

The audio recordings captured the meeting as being attended by the eventual “winner” of the election, incumbent Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti; Senator Iyiola Omisore; a man identified as Honorable Abdulkareem; the Minister for Police Affairs Caleb Olubolade; and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro who was at the time the Minister of State for Defence. Mr. Chris Uba came to Ekiti with huge stash cash and soldiers from the East to carry out the assignment.

The 37-minute recording gave details of the conversation between these men as they bribed Brigadier General Momoh with a promotion for his assistance in carrying out election fraud in Ekiti. In it, Obanikoro is clearly heard informing the group of men, “[I] am not here for a tea party, am on special assignment by the President.”

It further revealed how President Goodluck Jonathan had instructed the Chief of Defense Staff, Alex Badeh, to use the army in arresting and intimidating opposition politicians before and during the election. The audio recording provides exact details of the plot, with the collaborators almost degenerating into physical combat.

To prove its allegations beyond all reasonable doubts the audio recordings of the Ekiti electoral fraud which the opposition said the PDP are plotting to do same in 2015 were analyzed and authenticated by Guardian Consulting, an independent US-based security consulting company. According to a report authored by Guardian Consulting the independent company used Forensic Voice Frequency Comparison technology to identify all voices on the recording with audio available in the public domain.

The then Deputy Defense Minister, Obanikoro, clearly stated to General Momoh that he was not only sent to the meeting by President Jonathan, but “you can’t get a promotion without me sitting on top of your military council. If I am happy tomorrow night, the sky is your limit.”

Governor Fayose revealed that he had already bribed an official of the Independent National Election Commission (INEC), the non-political commission charged with organizing elections in Nigeria, to bring copies of voter ballots with the INEC logo to him that day. Fayose, upset that his INEC contact was caught in traffic, narrated his day’s frustrations: “Where are we supposed to be collating the thing INEC gave to us? Soft copies we now printed? Why is my [INEC] contact not with [the ballots]…my contact man [was] sitting in the check point…it took me more than two hours to get this man.”

As the plotters began to argue, Omisore, who was running for Governor of Osun State on the PDP ticket, tried to calm the room: “I would just say that we don’t have to argue so much, we have seen some lapses [today] yes. It’s just this evening, there is nothing happening now that we cannot contain before tomorrow morning.”

The eyewitness testimony and sworn affidavit by Capt. Koli corroborated the audio recordings of the PDP officials’ plans to manipulate the Ekiti elections. The plotters devised several plans intended to bring about an unlawful victory for PDP candidates in Ekiti State race, including the forging of INEC ballots, the use of the military to facilitate access for PDP operatives and supporters, the creation of a list of APC members to be arrested, and the deployment of a Special Team of military personnel to prevent APC voters from reaching the polls.

The PDP officials told General Momoh that those soldiers on election duty “must work hand-in-hand with the PDP agents” and ordered the arrest of selected APC stalwarts as that could “greatly assist the party during the election including DG campaign organization for Dr. Fayemi, Mr. Bimbo Daramola,” Capt. Koli said in his affidavit.

General Momoh, confronted with criticism by the group, defended himself by saying that “we have done a lot of [APC] arrests.” It would be recalled that there were arrests of APC members in Ekiti during the period. It would also be recalled that many members of the security offices paraded around Ekiti in disguise. The PDP collaborators also demanded that the military block APC members’ access to the electorate and that moles should “be careful because the consequence will be severe.”

Soldiers were instructed to set up roadblocks leading to the polling stations and prevent APC supporters’ access. Additionally, vehicles and individuals with a special sticker labeled “National Security Taskforce” were allowed movement anywhere, and were only distributed to PDP agents.

General Momoh informed the group that there were “about 6 special teams. I have one strike force. I have almost forty soldiers after deployment,” evidently an organized system being used to manipulate voter turnout.  Capt. Koli’s statement explained that based on these strategies, “they succeeded in rigging the Ekiti State election with victory in all the 16 Local Governing Authorities (LGAs). These really inspired them and they were with the euphoria that same would happen in Osun State.”

Indeed, leading into the Osun State elections the Brigadier General posted there was told to take a three-week leave during the elections. His position was temporarily filled by General Momoh, who then repeated the same fraudulent tactics in Osun.

But the atmosphere now looks certain that President Jonathan is in more trouble as the opposition APC, well meaning Nigerians and the international community notably United States are convinced with their independent intelligence report that Mr. Jonathan’s PDP plotted for the postponement to get more time to manipulate the outcome of the elections to its advantage and specifically, according to an exclusive document obtained by DESERT HERALD weekly, the ruling party is relying on the security agencies to rig out victory for them. A source who pleaded anonymity told this reporter that “the NSA, all the service chiefs including the Inspector General of Police, the Directors of NIA, SSS and all other relevant security bodies have looted so much from defense budgets in the name of fighting Boko Haram and they are fully aware that defeating the PDP at the polls means not only the end of their corrupt and ineptitude reign but the incoming government will undoubtedly remove them from their positions and probably probe them. So they are doing everything including violating the constitution and the rights of citizens to rig the election for the PDP. Do not expect any fairness from them. Are they not the same people that rigged the election for Jonathan in Ekiti recently?”

And expectedly the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Campaign Organisation (PDPPCO) has almost immediately after the postponement and as if it is a pre-written speech welcomed the postponement of the elections. The party said “It is in the best interest of deepening democracy and in the national interest”. Femi Fani-Kayode, who was speaking on behalf of the PDP and who one week ago accused the INEC of conniving with the APC to rig the election in APC’s favour, suddenly found ally in INEC and said “we must commend INEC for showing the courage to shift the elections after acknowledging the fact that its state of preparedness was not 100 per cent.”

“The shift of date is a welcome development. It is solely the decision of INEC. The decision is not ours but we commend them (INEC) for showing courage by owning up to the fact that they are not ready to go ahead on February 14th. The shift will help INEC to organise themselves properly, to put their house in order and to put in place all the necessary arrangements for the polls. The shift will also enable the nation’s security agencies to do what they have to do in order to secure the north-eastern zone and ensure that elections can hold there.

But the opposition APC looks set to give the drowning PDP a big fight while there is out pour of condemnation across the nation by stakeholders that are not even politicians. The All Progressives Congress, APC, said it only heard over the news media that INEC has decided to postpone the elections by six weeks on the strength of a letter by the security chiefs that they cannot provide security for the elections nationwide because of the commitment of its resources to fight insurgency in the north eastern part of the country.

The party through its national chairman, John Oyegun, said the decision was “clearly a major setback for Nigerian democracy and our Party is meeting in emergency session to study its implications and will inform Nigerians of its decisions in the next few days. What happened is highly provocative, I strongly appeal to all Nigerians to remain calm and desist from violence and any activity which will compound this unfortunate development. We must not fall into this obvious trap. Change we must. They can only delay it; No one can stop it”.

The United States also reacted angrily to the postponement through its Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry. Kerry said “the United States is deeply disappointed by the decision to postpone Nigeria’s presidential election, which had been scheduled for February 14.

“Political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission is unacceptable, and it is critical that the government not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process. The international community will be watching closely as the Nigerian government prepares for elections on the newly scheduled dates. The United States underscores the importance of ensuring that there are no further delays.

“As I reaffirmed when I visited Lagos last month, we support a free, transparent, and credible electoral process in Nigeria and renew our calls on all candidates, their supporters, and Nigerian citizens to maintain calm and reject election-related violence”.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities has also condemned the postponement of the general elections, but urged Nigerians not to be frustrated by the shift. The Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, Segun Ajiboye, made the appeal last week while reacting to postponement of the February elections by INEC.

Mr. Ajiboye said Nigerians should rather ensure that they collect their Permanent Voter Cards before the rescheduled dates for the elections. He described the INEC decision as a serious setback for Nigeria’s democracy. “We condemn the shift in the dates for the polls but, however, we encourage Nigerians to keep calm in the face of unnecessary provocations. “The decision is a serious setback for Nigerian democracy. But we should remain steadfast. Let us organise and not agonise,” he added.

INEC had on Saturday night at a world news conference postponed the general elections, and announced that the presidential elections will now hold on March 28, while the governorship holds on April 11. Also, radical lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana said President Jonathan, NSA Sambo Dasuki, and the military chiefs have plotted a coup against the Nigerian constitution.
Falana said after failing to convince the National Council of State, NSA Dasuki “In a desperate bid to blackmail the INEC to postpone the election wrote a letter to the INEC to the effect that the armed forces could not provide security for the election because of the operations in the north east region. By writing directly to the INEC on the security situation in the north east region the NSA usurped the functions of the National Security Council. That is the only body that has the constitutional duty to “advise the President on matters relating to public security including matters relating to any organization or agency established by law for ensuring the security of the Federation.” The Council which is established under section 153 of the Constitution is comprised of the President, Vice-President, the Defence Minister, Chief of defence staff, minister of interior, minister of foreign affairs, inspector-General of police and national security adviser.

“It is pertinent to point out that the security chiefs are not members of the National Security Council. Neither are they members of the Nigeria Police Council. Therefore, they lack the constitutional power to make any authoritative pronouncement on the security of the nation. Even though the NSA is a member of the National Security Council he cannot usurp the constitutional responsibilities of the body with the connivance of the service chiefs. Since the NSA and the service chiefs acted illegally and mala fide the INEC ought to have rejected their politically motivated request for the postponement of the Election. The reliance on section 25 of the Electoral Act by Professor Attahiru Jega, the INEC chairman, is totally misleading. The provision does not support the postponement of a general election in the entire country but “in the area or areas” where there is violence or actual threat of a breakdown of law and order.

“Since the reason for the postponement of any election must be “cogent and verifiable” it is crystal clear from the press conference addressed by Professor Jega last night that the INEC did not verify the bogus claim of the NSA and the security chiefs as required by the law. By saying that they would not provide security in aid of civil authorities pursuant to section 217 of the Constitution the security chiefs have committed the offence of mutiny contrary to section 52 of the armed Forces Act. Contrary to the mistaken belief of the INEC leadership the armed forces have no role to play in the electoral process.

“Since it is the exclusive constitutional responsibility of the Nigeria Police Force to maintain law and order during elections the INEC should have called off the bluff of the security chiefs. More so, that the Inspector-General of Police had confirmed the readiness of the Police to provide security for the election. Just last week, the federal high court sitting in Sokoto declared illegal and unconstitutional the involvement of soldiers in election duties. That judgment is binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria.

“It is pertinent to point out that the postponement of a General Election throughout the country is provided for under section 135(3) of the Constitution where it is stated that “If the Federation is at war in which the territory of Nigeria is physically involved and the President considers that it is not practicable to hold elections, the National Assembly may by resolution extend the period of four years mentioned in subsection (2) of this section from time to time, but no such extension shall exceed a period of six months at any one time.” Since the President could not persuade the National Assembly to pass a resolution for tenure elongation on spurious grounds, the service chiefs allowed themselves to be manipulated to subvert the democratic process. Thus, by causing the election to be postponed, the NSA and the security chiefs have staged a coup against the Constitution. They are liable to be prosecuted for the grave offence of treason at the appropriate time.

“If the satanic Boko Haram sect is not defeated by the armed forces of the republics of Chad, Cameroon and Niger in the next six weeks, the security chiefs are likely to ask for another postponement of the General Election on the ground that the operations in the north east region have not been successfully concluded. As such extension cannot be accommodated under the Electoral Act and the Constitution; the democratic process may be terminated by the security chiefs to pave way for the much touted INTERIM NATIONAL GOVERNMENT. Since some of the Colonels who played a dominant role in the criminal annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election have taken over the security of the country, the democratic forces in Nigeria should be prepared for a long drawn battle for the restoration of civil rule. In the circumstance, I am compelled to urge Nigerians to beware of the “Ides of March”.

Following what legal experts now regarded as an illegal postponement of the General elections originally slated to begin on February 14, Nigerians have intensified calls for a holistic review of the nation’s statutes to pave way for peaceful co-existence between the North and the South and to ensure free and fair elections. Despite desperate attempts and agenda to elongate his stay in Aso Rock through fraudulent election, Nigeria’s economy under Mr. Jonathan has continued to suffer alarming decline.

Still, the naira has become a campaign issue, with opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari’s team pointing to the weakening purchasing power of the currency under Jonathan. While oil producers with falling exchange rates from Russia to Malaysia have avoided imposing currency controls, Emefiele’s measures cut daily trading of the naira to less than a tenth of previous levels last month, according to Standard Chartered Plc.

The restrictions prompted JPMorgan Chase & Co. to warn Jan. 16 that it may remove Nigeria from bond indexes tracked by more than $200 billion of funds. Foreign holdings of domestic debt have fallen by half since 2013, according to Standard Chartered.  “It’s difficult for policy makers to ignore that political backdrop,” Ayodele Salami, who oversees about $200 million of Nigerian equities as chief investment officer of Duet Asset Management, said by phone from London on Feb. 4.

Investor caution has helped drive yields on local government bonds to 15.4 percent, the highest since August 2012 and steepest among 31 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg. The stock market is posting the world’s worst losses this year.

The naira under Jonathan weakened 0.7 percent to 193.82 per dollar as of 2:07 p.m. in Lagos, a record low on a closing basis, to increase losses over the past six months to 17 percent, the most among 24 African currencies tracked by Bloomberg. The exchange rate could still tumble to 255, prices on 12-month forward contracts show.

Jonathan, 57, a Christian from the south, faces Buhari, a 72-year-old northern Muslim and former military ruler, in Nigeria’s tightest election since army rule ended in 1999.  Tensions are rising with the Islamist militants Boko Haram declaring a caliphate in northeastern Nigeria that’s the size of Belgium. The group killed more than 4,700 people last year, double the number of deaths during 2013, according to Bath, U.K.-based risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

Jonathan ousted Sanusi last February, accusing him of “financial recklessness and misconduct.” Now the Emir of Kano, Nigeria’s second-most important Islamic ruler, Sanusi had called on Jonathan to investigate billions of dollars of oil revenue he said were unaccounted for.

Emefiele took over in June, days before crude prices began their 50 percent plunge. Oil provides about 90 percent of Nigerian export earnings and 70 percent of government revenue.  The Central Bank spent $5 billion defending the exchange rate in the last three months of 2014, reducing reserves to a three-year low of $34 billion, while devaluing the midpoint of the official exchange rate to 168 per dollar from 155 and raising the benchmark borrowing cost to a record 13 percent.

Trading restrictions introduced in December were needed to cut “spurious or speculative demand” for dollars, Emefiele said in an interview last month. “Any investor that wants to go out is able to do so freely, without any hindrance.”

While Sanusi cut the amount of foreign currency banks can hold without assigned buyers to 1 percent of shareholders’ funds from 5 percent, Emefiele set the amount at zero on Dec. 17, before allowing a 0.1 percent so-called net open position on Jan. 13.

Trading Crushed

The effect was to reduce daily trading to less than $30 million from $300 million to $500 million and foreign holdings of government bonds in naira to 14 percent of the total from as much as 27 percent in 2013, according to Samir Gadio, Standard Chartered’s head of African strategy.

By contrast, Sanusi liberalized Nigeria’s markets by lifting a requirement for foreign investors to hold local-currency debt for at least one year. That resulted in JPMorgan adding the nation’s bonds to its GBI-EM local-currency indexes in 2012. Foreigners increased their holdings of the securities almost fivefold in the next year, according to Bank of America.

“Sanusi had high credibility in the international markets and both the nature of his exit and the context resulted in an increase in Nigerian risk premium, which has remained,” Jim O’Neill, the former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, who now works as a Bloomberg View columnist, said in e-mailed comments from London on Jan. 28.

Negative Watch

JPMorgan, placing Nigeria on “index watch negative,” said the drop in currency and bond trading “challenges the ability of foreign investors to replicate the benchmark.” The New York-based lender will make a decision within five months. Craig Macdonald, a spokesman for JPMorgan in London, declined to comment.

The central bank’s decision to boost the net-open position limit to 0.5 percent of funds on Jan. 22, shortly after JPMorgan’s warning, increased daily trading volumes to about $250 million to $300 million, Emefiele said on Thursday.

“We are confident we will remain in the index based on the decision,” Emefiele said. “The main issue was liquidity and we are convinced that liquidity has come up to the level they desire.”

For the market to “unfreeze,” the exchange rate probably needs to weaken to 220 per dollar, Antoon de Klerk, who helps oversee $18 billion of emerging market debt at Investec Asset Management Plc, said by phone from London Feb. 2.

The issue of how Boko Haram was allowed despite huge resources to take over many communities, kiilings thousands and kidnapping at random will certainly affect Mr. Jonathan’s desperation to return to power notwithstanding the alleged backing of the military. Boko Haram is flush with cash and weapons after a string of battlefield advances, but the fighting group could face a tougher fight with Nigeria’s neighbours, US intelligence officials have said.

In an assessment of the group, whose five-year uprising has included massacres and kidnappings and spread from Nigeria into neighboring states, the officials said they did not believe it posed a major threat to Nigeria’s oilfields in the south.

They said the group has about 4,000-6,000 “hardcore” fighters – considerably less than some estimates which have put the group’s size at up to 10,000.

The group is “financially secure” from bank robberies, kidnappings and other sources, and is able to go “toe-to-toe” with the Nigerian military after capturing an arsenal of arms, the intelligence officials told reporters.

However, the group could soon face an unprecedented test on the battlefield against more capable forces from Cameroon, Chad and Niger, they added.

The military intervention of neighbouring powers “potentially can be a game changer in a positive way,” one intelligence official said.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Boko Haram were believed to be still holding about 300 schoolgirls they kidnapped early last year and had dispersed them to multiple locations.

Around 10,000 people were killed in Boko Haram attacks last year. The Sunni Muslim group poses the biggest security threat in Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer and biggest economy.

Concern over the insurgency appears to be and one of the main reasons for what appears to be a surge in political support for opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari in a February 14 election.

Many Nigerians believe Buhari, as a former military ruler, will be able to bolster the army’s hapless efforts to counter the insurgency, and that as a Muslim he may even be able to take some of the wind out of Boko Haram’s ideological sails.

The officials said the group had been engaging in both small-scale and larger attacks in recent weeks and they expected this mixed pattern of operations to continue during the election period.

The US officials’ comments came as Boko Haram suffered heavy losses after launching a major attack into Niger last Friday for the first time.

What appears clear to keen observers of Nigerian politics, however, is that the current tempo if  sustained by the opposition, no amount of planned rigging or use of force can change or manipulate the will and choice of the people. The next one month, they say, will be more difficult for President Jonathan as he gradually loses local, foreign and domestic support within the African continent and beyond.

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