The Niger Delta University Alumni Association 2019 elections have been successfully concluded. The election was peaceful, mild, free and fair although with noises and arguments at various quarters as would be expected of a typical Nigerian elections. The elections which began immediately after the monthly sanitation held from 11:00am through 6:00pm when results were announced by the eleco chairman, Comr. Akpama Ebisuobodei Lawrence.
The election which was well attended in an unprecedented manner had voters classified into Faculties and set to enable a swift accreditation experience. The set of 2005-2008, Management Science, College of Health Science, Arts and Science were classified to be accredited in the left flank of the multipurpose hall. Faculty of Education, Agriculture Technology and Engineering were accredited in the front right flank; while Social Science and Law were classified to be accredited at the far right flank of the multipurpose hall.
Requirements for Voting
The only credentials required of voters were basically statement of result, NYSC certificate and a valid Identity Card. However, the NYSC certificate was not used in most cases.
- Daniel Inebiri Enetimi
- Ezekiel Believe Wisdom
- Garenkeme Awini
- Inengite A. David
- Seiyabo Tonbra Otododo
- Ekiyor- Ebi Doreen
- Davies Daminabo
- Bokolo Ifiemi Nengi
- Fawei Enifie James
- Konyefa Tokoni Matilda
- Robert Nabena
All other positions were returned unopposed
The accreditation commenced at about 11:00am after voters arrived from various parts of the country. Although many voters came late, they were able to join in the accreditation process as accreditation held from 11:00am through 1:45pm. Accreditation was a bit rowdy as there were noticeable pushes and quarrel. Nevertheless, the elections were peaceful, decent, free and fair. There was also cases of disenfranchisement as persons from Port Harcourt who came late were not allowed in to vote, a development that caused quarrel and arguments amongst contestants, voters, eleco, BOT and other stakeholders.
There were cases and reports of impersonation here and there. There was a case of a male voter who came for accreditation with female credentials. The accreditation officer in charge refused vehemently to accredit him. There was another purported case on impersonation. The man in question was running and being chased for alleged impersonation. However, when he was later caught, his friends claimed he is an eligible voter and that the police will not take him away, otherwise, spurious and added charges would be made to complicate issues. This almost resulted to another problem as the police too stood their ground that they are ready for battle. The problem was however averted when they resolved the case and the boy freed immediately for his friends and cronies.
Vote buying and selling was a major part of the elections. In fact, vote buying and selling is now deep-rooted and is somehow now part of our local electoral culture that it will be difficult to eradicate. In fact, some persons came with the sole aim of selling vote they were not even eligible to cast in the first place. Influencers were also around to pay as much as possible to influence voters’ behaviour. A voter held that “I must go home with N5,000 from the elections”. That “an aspirant is giving me N200, he is not even ready” he lament. From the look of things, the lowest amount paid to influence votes was N200 while the highest amount recorded was N1,000. The vote buying and selling behaviour in this election can be classified as very high.
The voting process was the most orderly part of the whole elections. This was because access to the main multipurpose hall was restricted. Voting started around 2pm and last through EXACTLY 2:55 pm. Although the elections was supposed to end by 3:00pm, the last person voted at 2:55pm and argument of some disenfranchised persons ensued for 40mins. This made eleco chairman address to start vote counting took up to 3:35. It is on record that the 2019 Alumni election voting was done without a single noise nor argument. Voters were allowed entry through the back door and whence voted, exited through the front/side left door(s). the heavy presence of security personnel also added to the maintenance of law and order in the whole process.
Cases of disenfranchisement came up which threatened the credibility of the elections. As far as our observations is concerned, the elections were peaceful till that very hour. It happened that voting was supposed to end by 3pm. By this, the eleco chairman locked the voting hall doors and barred all outsiders not to come in again. Truly speaking, accreditation has ended and there was no one on the queue again. So, the eleco chairman thought that those inside the hall already voting will take up to 3:00pm to complete voting as stipulated. Meanwhile, it was at this time that voters from Port Harcourt came in. Other accredited voters also came at this point; voters who have been accredited but strolled out. On coming to vote, they met with locked locked.
The outrage that ensued did not come off quickly as persons were hoping they would be allowed to vote later. However, when it was becoming clear that they have been disenfranchised, trouble started outside as disagreement ensued. The disagreement did not end outside as the eleco members who were inside the voting hall were also divided amongst themselves. A notable female eleco member was noticeably angered that “Portharcourt Alumni that was inaugurated just a month ago and mobilized to this election could not vote”. She later excused herself from the voting hall as she could not stand the decision that no more voting could take place.
This show of disagreement lingered for a whole 40min (from 2:55pm-3:35pm). Initially, it was the BOT Chairman, Snr. Comr. Ebisikpi who was speaking up on the issue with the eleco chairman, Mr. Akpama Ebisiodeibodei Lawrence until the alumni president was called in to make his contributions. The alumni president held that even though the elections were to end by 3:00pm, any eligibly accredited voter who was present before 3:00pm was supposed to be allowed to vote. The disenfranchisement angered the alumni chairman and called the eleco chairman to “do the right thing”. Nevertheless, seeing how time has gone far as a result of the arguments, the eleco chairman pleaded for clemency that it will mar the elections if they are to go back and allow new voters.
At exactly 3:35pm, the eleco chairman took his final decision and address the house in a bid to commence counting of votes. In his speech, the eleco chairman appealed to the house, citing his conscience “before God and man” to have done all he could to make the process peaceful. He swore that to the best of his knowledge, the elections has been free and fair and would want to ensure it end that way. He also held that the elections so far has followed the stipulated guidelines and procedures. Consequently, counting began.
After the eleco chairman’s address at 3:35pm, actual vote counting and result announcement held from at 3:40pm to 6:00pm. The vote counting was open and clear to all agents and no agent was seen contending any action. All void votes were separated, and all valid votes were share amongst contesting agents.
The first results announced were those of assistant secretary. The results for this category are as follows:
- Konyefa Tokoni Matilda – 532 (Winner)
- Robert Nabena – 359
- Invalid votes – 28
- Total – 919
- Margin – 173
- Bokolo Ifiemi Nengi – 407
- Fawei Enifie James – 496 (Winner)
- Invalid votes – 22
- Total – 925
- Margin – 89
- Ekiyor- Ebi Doreen – 529 (Winner)
- Davies Daminabo – 363
- Invalid votes – 21
- Total – 913
- Margin – 166
- Daniel Inebiri Enetimi – 295 (Winner)
- Ezekiel Believe Wisdom – 234
- Garenkeme Awini – 88
- Inengite A. David – 66
- Seiyabo Tonbra Otododo – 216
- Invalid votes – 56
- Total – 955
Immediately after the vote counting ended, it was followed by the announcement of the results before the elections were peacefully concluded. Till the end, there was no fight nor cases of robbery.
For any part of this report you think it is necessary to be corrected, please, send your concerns to WhatsApp 08050706635.