The European Union gave a damning assessment of the last general elections in the country.
This and four other stories we tracked dominated public discourse last week.
1. EU’s damning report on 2023 elections
On July 4, the EU Election Observation Mission dismissed the process and outcome of the elections as non-transparent and fraudulent.
In its executive summary on the election, the EU highlighted a number of factors that undermined the elections.
The report read: “The 2023 general elections did not ensure a well-run transparent, and inclusive democratic process as assured by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“Public confidence and trust in INEC were severely damaged during the presidential poll and was not restored in state-level elections, leading civil society to call for an independent audit of the entire process. The pre-poll environment was volatile and challenging, affected by economic crises.”
Why it matters
The EU’s report may have given credence to the opinions of many Nigerians, especially the opposition, on the conduct of the election.
The report and the post-election resentments in Nigeria again highlight the need for improvements in the nation’s electoral processes to achieve polls that are acceptable to all.
However, it remains to be seen if this damning evidence by the EU would be enough to turn the tide in favour of the opposition at the presidential election petition tribunal.
2. Kano anti-corruption agency’s invitation to Ganduje
The Kano Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) on July 6 invited former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje over alleged bribery.
A video emerged in 2018 showing Ganduje stuffing bundles of dollars he allegedly received as kick-backs from contractors handling projects in the state in his traditional attire.
The PCACC Chairman, Magaji Rimingado, according to a statement issued by the agency’s spokesman, Kabir Abba Kabir, confirmed this in a programme on Channels Television.
Rimingado said: “I have signed a letter to invite him for questioning at the commission next week because this is what the law says and we will provide ample opportunity for him to defend himself.
“This is why on my return as the chairman a few weeks ago and the fact that the former no longer enjoys immunity, we decided to reopen the investigation and give the former governor the opportunity to clear himself or otherwise, more so, as the videos have continued to cause the state and the citizens of the state ridicule across the globe.”
Why it matters
Ganduje’s invitation by the Kano anti-graft agency again reaffirmed the position of law in the conduct of men.
However, in the conduct of its activities, especially as it relates to Ganduje and his allies, the anti-graft agency must wean itself completely of the tendency to be used as an instrument to harass or oppress perceived enemies.
3. INEC files charges against Adamawa REC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on July 7 it has filed a six-count charge against the suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Adamawa State, Yunusa Hudu Ari, at the State High Court in Yola.
This followed the REC’s alleged role in the crisis that trailed the March 18 governorship election in the state.
The INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said in a statement that the court had fixed July 12 for the commencement of Ari’s trial.
The statement read: “INEC held its regular weekly meeting Thursday 6th July 2023, and discussed, among other issues, the progress with the prosecution of electoral offenders.
“As provided by Section 145(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, an offence committed under the Act shall be triable in a Magistrate Court or a High Court of a State in which the offence is committed, or the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.”
Why it matters
The prosecution of the suspended REC and other electoral offenders will send a clear signal on the commission’s and by extension the Federal Government’s readiness to reset the country’s electoral process for greater efficiency and transparency.
This and other measures being canvassed by stakeholders if not swept under the carpet will ensure the enthronement of credible and sustainable leadership recruitment processes anchored on fairness, equity, and justice in the country.
4. Supreme Court’s ruling on Senator Nwaoboshi
The Supreme Court on July 7 ordered the release of the former Senator representing Delta North, Peter Nwaoboshi, from the Ikoyi custodial centre in Lagos State.
Nwaoboshi was sentenced to a seven-year prison term for fraud and money laundering last year.
At the proceeding, the apex court set aside the July 1, 2022 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which reversed Nwaoboshi’s acquittal by the Federal High Court, Lagos.
Justice Emmanuel Agim, who delivered the lead judgement, held that the ex-lawmaker was unjustly and maliciously prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for a time not known to law.
He said: “The arrest, detention, and prosecution of an alleged loan defaulter is illegal. What is worrisome is that the NEXIM Bank never complained that the loan was unlawfully obtained and that there was default in repayment.”
Why it matters
The ruling again speaks to the technicalities inherent in the administration of the criminal justice system in Nigeria.
It also reinforced the clamour for EFCC and other anti-graft agencies to always discharge the burden of proof in order to jeopardize otherwise water-tight cases.
5. Mmesoma admits to falsification of UTME result
The Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) candidate, Ejikeme Mmesoma, has confessed that she falsified her results from 249 to 362.
The Anambra State Panel of Inquiry set by the government stated this in a report signed by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Paul Nwosu, on July 7.
The report read: “Part of the panel report reads.
The report read: “The results paraded by Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma with an aggregate score of 362 are fake as buttressed by significant variations in the registration number, date of birth, centre name, and other infractions
“Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma admitted that she manipulated the fake results herself, using her phone.
“The Principal Anglican Girls’ Secondary School, Mrs. Edu Uche, and the education secretary, Diocese of Nnewi (Anglican Communion) expressed dismay at the conduct of Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma.
“Ejikeme Joy Mmesoma should undergo psychological counseling and therapy.”
Why it matters
The 19-year-old’s case points to the total erosion of values in a country where mediocrity and people with bad behavior are honoured and accorded recognition in the society.
The unfortunate incident has reinforced the call for a reorientation of Nigerians, especially the youths, who are the country’s hope for a prosperous future, on societal core values.
By Hamed Shobiye
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