Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says there is a need to investigate the audio file which purportedly captured some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders giving orders to a general to rig the June 21, 2014 governorship elections.
But President Goodluck Jonathan says the inability of Sagir Koli, the army Captain who leaked the audiotape, to come forward and authenticate it, is the reason investigation into the matter cannot proceed.
Prof. Soyinka, in a statement, said the audio file must be investigated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and that the issue was too weighty to be dismissed without being investigated.
But President Jonathan told Thisday that he inquired from the head of the Department of State Security, (DSS) if the agency was investigating the matter, but was told that investigation could not proceed because Mr. Koli, who went underground after he was tipped off about the order from the army hierarchy to arrest him, has not come forward to validate the audio recording.
Soyinka said no one would lose anything by investigating the tape since it was the job of law enforcement agencies to investigate matters of state.
He said, “For those who have nothing to hide, disrobing lies and forgeries and reinforcing truth is regarded as part and parcel of the obligations we owe democracy. The audio could well be one of such forgeries. We are daily inundated with allegations, evasions, distortions, image plundering and image laundering, all under the permissive canopy of electoral proceeding”.
However, the president stated, that “There was no formal petition before them (DSS) but because of the general interest, they wanted to have him interviewed to know where this was coming from. If someone comes up with a spurious allegation that has no substance and the person disappears, of course, what do you want me to do? Definitely, anytime we get him, he’ll have to substantiate his allegations. There is a lot of false stories being circulated and it is very sad,” he added.
On his part, the Nobel noted, that “Once in a while, however, we encounter exposure of an exceptional dimension that appears to strike at the very root of democracy, questions the validity of an entire electoral system and even erodes confidence in the integrity of the state. Such an event need not be regarded as a repudiation of the formal mechanics put in place by an electioneering agency such as INEC, but nonetheless extends the scope of its responsibilities, including its projection of looming hazards of future electoral exercises.
“This is why, in the absence of a Constitutional Court or its equivalent, one is left with no other course than to call on INEC to also take formal charge of the recorded incident of this alleged conspiracy to pervert the course of democracy. For those ‘who have nothing to hide,’ it is a call that deserves unstinting support. They should not hesitate to assist in calling on the same US expertise to assist us in exposing a forgery.
“We are speaking here of a development that implicates not only products, beneficiaries or would-be constitutional guardians of the electoral process – that is, an elected governor, a governorship aspirant, but also state agencies – the military, two serving ministers – that is, members of the Executive arm of government, one of them in charge of the nation’s defence portfolio – and others.
“In addition to the logical role of the police, the nation’s electoral commission should undertake an independent investigation and make its findings known to the nation. Is this perhaps something INEC can undertake while the nation waits out its suspended electoral sentence? It only requires repudiation – or validation – of the findings of an already advanced forensic enquiry.”
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