The treachery of Mahmud Yakubu must never be forgotten nor forgiven (2)

The explanations INEC and Mr Yakubu gave for the non-uploading of the results of the presidential election to the INEC server in real time were unconvincing and even downright insulting. While INEC national commissioner, Festus Okoye, acknowledged they “promised that results would be uploaded in real time to our result viewing portal,” he conceded that “there were challenges” that were not anticipated. But as to the nature of those challenges that curiously only affected results of the presidential elections and not those of the National Assembly elections conducted the same day, Okoye didn’t explain.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign council, however, in defence of INEC, said no law mandated INEC to transmit election results electronically. In subsequent court filings, INEC adopted this line of argument wholesale, completely ignoring its promise and repeated reassurances that: “there is no going back on the deployment of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for voter accreditation. There is no going back on the transmission of results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (iReV) in real-time on Election Day.”

Make no mistake about it, what Mahmud Yakubu and his minnows at INEC did was to directly insult Nigerians to their faces. It is a way of saying: “We’ll deceive you; we’ll raise your hopes; we’ll get you giddy with excitement; we’ll get you to the polls, and we’ll do exactly as we wish because you all don’t matter and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it”.

That is exactly how elected and appointed public officials treat Nigerians. The concept of legitimacy and accountability is foreign to them. What matters is capturing power by any means necessary and being appointed to high office where they could enrich themselves at the expense of the public.

Mr Yakubu and his like know they will never be held accountable. He knows that Nigerians have a short memory, and in a little while, they will forget about his treachery and welcome him into the noble/respectable, and wealthy class of ex-government officials who possess institutional knowledge and wisdom and would be consulted from time to time to lecture and educate citizens on national events. He will demand and be accorded undeserved respect and honour at private and public events, and no one will remember or bother to recall his misdeeds and betrayal of the Nigerian people. Sadly, even among the staunchest pro-democracy advocates, there seems to be an uncanny reverence for monied former government officials.

After all, he has precedent to learn from. After conducting the worst election in the history of Nigeria in 2007 where results were being announced in Abuja even as voting was ongoing in states, Maurice Iwu, the extremely corrupt and amoral Chairman of INEC, who was announcing results where purported votes are higher than the total number of registered voters in some places, retired to a life of affluence and honour. Shortly after, in 2011, at the height of the Ebola pandemic, he was even being entertained on primetime television shows discussing his nonsensical research on the use of bitter kola to cure Ebola. Today, he moves about comfortably in social and academic circles and still enjoys some respectability that he clearly didn’t earn.

Ditto Charles Soludo, the cantankerous, low self-esteemed hustler who managed to sweet-talk his way into being appointed the central bank governor. Once there, he went about satisfying his deep cravings for power, wealth, and influence and virtually forgot about one of the most important jobs he was meant to do – regulate the banks to ensure the stability of the country’s financial system. So preoccupied was he with living a luxurious life (he went about with a retinue of bodyguards and travelled on private jets) and cosying up to the bank executives that he pretended not to notice as bank executives hollowed out the banks and almost collapsed Nigeria’s entire financial stability in the process. Soludo’s dereliction of duty cost Nigerian taxpayers about N5.67 trillion through the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to stabilize the financial markets.

In a saner society, such an individual will be in jail or at least, will retire and live out the rest of his life in solitude and shame. But not in Nigeria. As if under a spell, Nigerians – even well-enlightened and genuinely pro-democratic and good governance advocates – continued to regard him as a well-intentioned technocrat, financial expert, and intellectual celebrity. Aided by that false and totally unearned reputation, he jumped into politics, promising to transform Anambra into the “Dubai, Taiwan, and Singapore of Africa.” He has been elected governor of Anambra state and we’re now witnessing how he is indeed transforming Anambra.

Since Nigerian institutions have shown no appetite or capability to hold anyone accountable for his/her actions in public office, the only avenue left for citizens to hold public officials accountable is through the strategic deployment of public shaming. Nigerians must learn to hold grudges against public officials who behave badly while in office. They must learn to continuously heckle, and like some religious sects, aggressively humiliate, and shun badly behaved current and former public officials, like Mr Yakubu, who has shown that he is nothing but a lying, deceptive, and unscrupulous scoundrel.

The only problem is that many of Nigeria’s civil society, pro-democracy activists and academics who are supposed to lead this aggressive humiliation and shunning campaign are of the same mindset as corrupt public officials. They all consider Nigeria as a huge cake and they are all waiting in line for their turn to “chop and clean mouth”. Activism for them is only a waiting game and a way of getting noticed.

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