Friday, January 25, 2019

Bola Tinubu’s Costly 2023 Political Gamble

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

You don’t have to be enamored with Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s politics to concede that he is, for now, the nonpareil political hegemon of Nigeria’s Southwest.  Sure, his hegemonic hold over the region’s political space isn’t total and unchallenged, but it’s remarkably preeminent nonetheless.

I am deploying the term “hegemony” not in its contemporary, everyday sense, but as it was used and popularized by Italian Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci. Gramsci theorized hegemony as the way the ruling classes in capitalist society perpetuate their dominance by making their values seem “natural” and “common sense,” which encourages oppressed people to identify with their oppressors without a twinge of psychic discomfort. Most people think, for instance, that it’s “natural” and “common sense” to want to make profit at the expense of the physical and creative labors of others. It’s not.

Hegemonic cooptation of all classes in the society is achieved through artful consensus building and through the persuasive narrative construction of the core values of the ruling classes. This requires that the consent of subordinate classes be perpetually won and re-won voluntarily, for, as Gramsci pointed out, “people’s material social experiences constantly remind them of the disadvantages of subordination and thus poses a threat to the dominant class.”

Tinubu has succeeded, to a large degree, in seamlessly meshing his self-interested acquisitiveness and insatiable thirst for power with the “Yoruba agenda” or the “Yoruba interest.” Many, certainly not all, well-meaning Yoruba people take it as “common sense” that Tinubu is the “leader,” or, if you will, the apotheosis, of the Yoruba people in contemporary Nigeria who looks out for and defends their interest. This hegemonic narrative enjoys the purchase of a vast swathe of the region’s intellectual, media, and social elites.

I have read people opine that Tinubu used his enormous wealth to buy the consciences of many otherwise critical minds in the region; that these otherwise critical people are his pitiful, acquiescent poodles because they can’t risk severing their financial umbilical cord with him. That’s simplistic. While I won’t discount the influence of money in buying the silence and loyalty of otherwise clear-minded people, the truth is that once an idea becomes hegemonic, people buy in or accede to it out of social pressure, out of anxieties about social ostracism. We call it the spiral of silence in communication theory.

For instance, before his death, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi became something of a social pariah in the Southwest because of this relentless opposition to Tinubu and his intrepid quest to  pry open the ethical dirt Tinubu hides in plain sight in his cracked closet. Most people don’t have the emotional stamina to defy and confront the ferocious attacks and smears Fawehinmi contended with, so they just toe the line of least resistance by conforming to normative expectations.

However, as Gramsci pointed out, hegemony is always a site of contestation, which explains why the consent of people who buy in to it has to be earned and re-earned in perpetuity.  Afenifere used to be the hegemonic political force in the Southwest. But Tinubu and his forces have diluted the group’s dominance. Tinubu’s own dominance is also now being repugned by a multiplicity of subaltern political forces in the region.

The February 2019 election will determine if Tinubu’s hegemonic hold over politics in the Southwest will be strengthened or weakened. My sense is that it will be weakened—if not extirpated outright. Here is why. Tinubu is going into another alliance with Buhari in hopes that Buhari and his supporters will reward him with a presidential ticket in 2023. That’s a costly miscalculation for a whole host of reasons.

I am familiar enough with members of Buhari’s inner circle to know that they deeply despise Tinubu. They snigger at his presidential ambition and are amused by his expectation that they would support him. Tinubu himself knows this. That’s why I am shocked that he appears irresistibly and dangerously drawn to people who will throw him like he is hot after the February election. Maybe he is gripped by the sort of deathly attraction that causes a moth to embrace a flame.

During a TV appearance on Television Continental on February 20, 2018, Tinubu’s wife, Remi, said Tinubu was “trashed” by Buhari’s northern political machine after the 2015 election. People who “trashed” you after an electoral triumph to which you’re central will certainly go the whole hog and incinerate or bury you in the aftermath of another victory that will ensure that they will no longer need you.

Apart from the certain betrayal that will surely come from the Buhari camp in the event that Tinubu helps them to win or rig the 2019 election, a Tinubu presidential candidacy will be beset by a lot of problems. Given the heightened sensitivity of religion in Nigeria now, which is made even more so by Buhari’s unexampled, in-your-face bigotry, Tinubu would be required to have a northern Christian as a running mate to earn the support of the south and the Christian north. That would, however, automatically alienate Buhari’s northern Muslim supporters. So his ambition is dead before it’s even born.

Most importantly, though, as Tinubu himself knows only too well, a vote for APC in the coming presidential election won't be a vote for Buhari; it would be a vote for an evil, greedy, corrupt, provincial, and reactionary cabal and their minions who are currently perpetrating a stratospheric theft of the nation's resources in ways that would make an angel of Abacha. President Buhari is an insentient human vegetable who is barely aware of his own existence.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Tinubu’s dutiful protégé, is worse than a figurehead vice president. The cabal habitually humiliates him to his face and denudes him of any real powers. Every time Buhari handed over power to him when he traveled to London, the Villa always became a tumultuous, feuding house.

When former DSS boss Lawal Musa Daura instructed his men to invade the National Assembly, Osinbajo was not in on the decision, even though he was the "acting" president. When he inquired why he was not consulted, he was insulted and humiliated by members of the cabal. He fired Daura in exasperation. But the man is practically back. He nominated the current DG, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, and is actually the man who still runs the DSS. Every decision VP Osinbajo took when Buhari was away has been reversed or vitiated upon Buhari's return. Check the records.

This would be worse in a Buhari second term when the cabal no longer needs to pretend in order to earn the goodwill of the Southwest. The dissension between the cabal and the southwest political establishment led by Tinubu and Osinbajo would reach a feverish pitch. A degenerative, vegetative Buhari would be oblivious, and the nation would burn to the ground. You need no oracular powers to know that this would happen. At that point, Tinubu's minions in the news media and the currently quiescent civil society organizations would resume their trademark barking and tarring all northerners with the same brush. By then, it would be too late.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Buhari’s Physical and Mental Health is Now a National Emergency

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

A fierce, momentous national emergency is confronting Nigeria now—the emergency of President Buhari’s physical and mental incapacity to govern. This concern should transcend partisan political loyalties because it strikes at the very core of the urgency for national self-preservation.

It is apparent to anyone who cares to observe that Buhari is unwell. People used to give expression to this concern on the fringes of polite society in Nigeria. But it’s now increasingly becoming mainstream.  For instance, in a December 24, 2018 article in the Boss Newspaper titled “My Take on Buhari’s Physical and Mental Problems,” National Interest Party (NIP) presidential candidate Eunice Atuejide divulged snippets of a conversation she had heard by Aso Rock insiders who worried that Buhari has dementia that is worsening by the day. She quoted them as saying that it was “totally irresponsible for his handlers to push him to continue as Nigeria’s president beyond 2019.”

One of the conversational partners, she pointed out, “said the stress of the campaign for the presidency would only cause him more harm than good.” We have seen precisely that in the last few days. Although it’s easy to dismiss Atuejide’s article as a partisan, ill-natured whispering campaign, it’s not. I have known this for a while.

On November 23, 2018, for instance, I tweeted that a doctor who has met Buhari during a personal, non-medical visit told me he was troubled that Buhari appeared to evince tell-tale symptoms of dementia (of which Alzheimer's disease is a type), which is often characterized by repetitiveness, unawareness, mental deterioration, impaired memory, diminished quality of thought, slurred speech, and finally complete helplessness. That’s why neurologists call dementia "failure of the brain."

A friend whose dad has dementia and who has also met Buhari in the recent past had earlier told me Buhari reminded her of her dad whom she forced to retire, adding, sadly, that Buhari’s dementia is way worse than her dad’s is. She was, and still is, concerned that Nigeria has no president. She's right, and the evidence stares us every day. Buhari barely has any awareness of his existence, much less the requirements of being president.

In the cringe-worthy December 25, 2018 Christmas carol he sang with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and APC chairman Adams Oshiomhole, it was obvious that Buhari had no clue who Oshiomhole was. He shook hands with Osinbajo after the carol but ignored Oshiomhole. When Oshiomhole extended his hands to shake him, he looked at him with a quizzical eyebrow and appeared to be asking Osinbajo who Oshiomhole was. In the video, we see Osinbajo pointing to Oshiomhole in ways that suggested he was introducing him to the president.

 A viral internet message by a diasporan Nigerian in France who attended Buhari’s interactions with the Nigerian community in Paris on November 12, 2018 during the Paris Peace Summit said Buhari had not the vaguest awareness who Abike Dabiri-Rewa, his Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, was. He openly asked who she was. No one was allowed to record the interaction because the president’s minders knew awkward moments like that would arise.

The president has, from all indications, lost most of his sentience. That’s precisely why he had been shielded from unmediated public communication for long. The people who are bent on imposing him on Nigeria know he is a human vegetable but don’t want the world to know this. Nevertheless, with his disastrously mortifying performance at Thursday’s #NgTheCandidates townhall series (he barely understood the questions he was asked and gave astonishingly off-center responses to the ones he understood) and his awkward, pity-inspiring verbal miscues on the campaign trail, the cat is now out of the bag.

Buhari’s problems aren’t mere “senior moment” problems that I wrote about in a widely shared June 20, 2015 column titled “Criticizing Buhari Over ‘President Michelle of West Germany’ Gaffe is Ignorant.” In fact, the doctor who told me he strongly suspects Buhari has dementia (and possibly Alzheimer’s) read my 2015 article where I explained away Buhari’s “Michelle of Western Germany” gaffe as an age-induced memory lapse, which is informally called senior moments in America. He said it was beyond that. It’s a clear case of progressive, irreversible cognitive decline.

On the campaign trail, we saw that Buhari could not remember the day he was sworn in. He said he came to power on May 19 instead of May 29. He couldn’t tell a "presidential candidate," a "senatorial candidate" and a "gubernatorial candidate" apart. He misidentified Great Ogboru, APC’s governorship candidate in Delta State, as his party’s “presidential candidate.” Ogboru corrected him by saying he was the “gubernatorial candidate,” but Buhari called him the “senatorial candidate.” After the second correction, Buhari finally called him the “governatorial candidate.”

 He also didn’t remember when he was Petroleum Minister. “Since 1984, or 78 to 79 when I was the Minister, I never lost interest in the petroleum industry,” he said in Delta State. Well, he was appointed the equivalent of a Petroleum minister in March 1976. Recall, too, that when he visited the family house of the late President Shehu Shagari to commiserate with them over the death of their patriarch, he didn’t have the presence of mind to write anything on the condolence register; he just signed his name and couldn’t even get the date right.

 He slumped at a campaign rally in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital, but, curiously, his aides who caught him didn’t seem fazed, indicating that this is a fairly habitual occurrence beyond the glare of cameras. He also slumped onto a couch during a campaign rally in Kaduna on Friday. That’s evidence of weakened motor skills, which doctors say is another symptom of dementia.

People around the president are intimately familiar with his considerably diminished sentience and his notoriously declining short-term memory. As a consequence, he is being taken advantage of by several people close to him. Aso Rock insiders say Buhari doesn't remember anything, so no one even obeys his instructions--if he gives any at all. The last person to see him gets him to do whatever they want. Someone from the Presidential Villa told me it’s precisely because of this fact that governors frequent the Villa several times in a week; they are in a race to be the last people to see the president before he takes decisions and signs off on them.

If you think with Buhari as president Nigeria has a president, you should sue your brain for non-support; you're NOT thinking! We have a national emergency on our hands. Buhari appears infirm both in mind and in body. Without a doubt, other people are ruling on his behalf, and his own wife hinted at that when she said her husband’s presidency had been hijacked by a three-man cabal.

 If Nigeria were a functional nation, the National Assembly should have constituted a team of medical experts to examine the state of the president’s physical and mental state. If he is found to have dementia, as I strongly suspect he does, he should be declared incapacitated and removed from office.  And he would certainly not be a candidate for president. That’s what Section 137 (c) of our constitution requires.

He should go and rest, not rule, because he is actually ruining, not ruling, Nigeria. People who matter in Nigeria should rise superior to partisanship and save the country. The late President Umar Musa Yar’adua’s example is too recent for us not to learn any lesson from it.  

American journalist Alvin Toffler once said,   “If we do not learn from history, we shall be compelled to relive it. True. But if we do not change the future, we shall be compelled to endure it. And that could be worse." I hope the right thing is done before it’s too late.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Miyetti Allah, Presidential Endorsement and Politics of Fulani Identity

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.

Many people have asked me to weigh in on why the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association of Nigeria not only endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari for this year’s presidential election but also chose to openly antagonize and demonize PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar when, in fact, both Buhari and Abubakar are Fulani like members of the Miyetti Allah group.

Well, although on the surface Buhari and Atiku have a shared Fulani ethnic identity, they are in reality different kinds of Fulani. Being “Fulani” isn’t a homogenous, unproblematized collective identity; it is a complex, multi-layered one.

In several past articles, I have pointed out that there are at least four distinct categories of Fulani people in Nigeria. You have the (urban), settled, non-cattle-herding Fulani (whom Hausa people call "Fulanin gida," which literally means, "house Fulani") who have lost their language and culture, particularly in Nigeria's northwest and parts of its northeast and northcentral, and who have intermarried with other ethnic groups. They are Fulani only because they can trace patrilineal descent to a Fulani ancestor— and sometimes because of their embodiment of stereotypical physical features associated with the Fulani. Buhari belongs in this group.

But not every acculturated urban Fulanin gida self-identifies as Fulani. For instance, a former editor of mine at the Weekly Trust in Kaduna by the name of Isyaku Dikko who looks phenotypically Fulani always insisted he was Hausa because, he said, Hausa is his native language and Hausa culture is the only culture he grew up in. He always pointed out that he would be out of place in a traditional Fulani society because he knows nothing about, or at least hasn’t internalized, the norms, performances, and boundaries of the group’s identity.

That makes a lot of sense. Identity mostly inheres in language, culture, memory, and emotions, not just in genetics and physical features. The term “Hausa-Fulani” emerged in the course of history to capture the hybridity of “genetically” Fulani people who are nonetheless linguistically, culturally and even part genetically Hausa. In a 1999 interview, Buhari said he loved the term “Hausa-Fulani” because it gives expression to the hybridity of his identity. His father was Fulani while his mother was half Hausa and half Kanuri, but he is culturally and linguistically Hausa.

Another category of the Fulani are the (urban), settled, non-cattle-herding Fulani who are still wedded to their primordial language and culture, particularly in such northeastern states as Adamawa and Taraba— and parts of Gombe and Bauchi. They usually have relatives who still live in the "bushes,” and resent being labeled as anything other than Fulani. Atiku Abubakar belongs in this group.

The Fulani of Adamawa and Taraba also take exception to being called “Hausa-Fulani” because Hausa is only a second or a third language to them. There are even Fulani people in this part of the north who don’t speak Hausa at all, although that number is declining.  Former super permanent secretary Alhaji Ahmed Joda, who was chairman of the Presidential Research and Communications Unit where I worked for two years, once told us during a staff meeting that when he left the former Gongola Province in the 1940s (after his elementary and middle school education) to attend Barewa College, he couldn’t speak a lick of Hausa.

It’s difficult to make definitive statements about the emotional affinities people feel toward other people, but my interactions with the Fulani people of Adamawa and Taraba tell me that they regard the “Hausa-Fulani” of the northwest as basically Hausa, not Fulani, people.

Because their societies are ethnically and religiously plural, the Fulani of Adamawa and Taraba tend to be cosmopolitan almost by default. As people who pay attention to the politics of Nigerian identities know, Adamawa and Taraba have some of Nigeria’s most diverse ethnic groups. The states are also almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians. That’s why it’s impossible to grow up in these two states and live entirely in your ethnic and religious filter bubble. Atiku’s cosmopolitanism owes debts to this background.

 Then you have bucolic, semi-nomadic, cattle-herding Fulani (whom Hausa people call "Fulanin daji," which literally means, "bush Fulani") who live on the outskirts of several Nigerian communities. There is no part of Nigeria where they don’t exist. They tend to learn the languages of their host communities, and are often well-integrated into the fabric of such communities. Although they share vast linguistic and cultural similarities with the Fulani of the northeast, they are, for the most part, disaffiliated from the politics and intrigues of the Nigerian state. They are usually neither Muslims nor Christians.

 The fourth kind of Fulani are the transhumant, rootless, perpetually migratory Bororo Fulani pastoralists (their endonym is Wodaabe) who have no physical or emotional attachment to any specific community, although they are mostly found in the Republic of Niger. They are citizens without borders. Most bloody clashes between farmers and cattle herders traditionally occur between these restlessly itinerant cattle-herding Bororo Fulani pastoralists and farmers. Even the bucolic, seminomadic cattle-herding Fulani fear the nomadic Bororo Fulani.

Note that there are, of course, a few Fulani who speak their language in the northwest as there are who don't speak it in the northeast, especially in states like Gombe and Bauchi; I was just painting with a geographic broad brush here for taxonomic purposes.

So where do Miyetti Allah members fall in these classifications? It’s hard to say with any iron-clad certainty, but the organization’s founder, Muhammadu Sa'adu, was born in Jos and lived in Kaduna, which means he was culturally Hausa. I doubt that he spoke Fulfulde. In essence, he shared the same hybrid identity as Buhari. This is also true of several outspoken members of the group.

People who are on the edge of an identity tend to be more exaggeratedly aggressive in their assertion of the identity than those who are—or see themselves as being—in the mainstream of the identity.
For instance, when there was a butcherly communal turmoil that pitted Bororo Fulani cattle herders against Yoruba farmers in the Oke-Ogun area of northern Oyo State in October 2000, Buhari led a group of “Fulani” northerners to Ibadan to meet with the late Governor Lam Adesina where he told Adesina, among other things, "your people are killing my people." A Fulani person from the northeast is unlikely to say that. However, that is the kind of simplistic but unhelpful rhetoric that folks at Miyetti Allah cherish.

 But Buhari was wrong. The Oke-Ogun farmers carefully spared their "own Fulani"; their Fulani spoke Yoruba because they had always lived in the "bushes" of that community for decades and interacted with their hosts. Buhari found that out. He found out that it was neither an ethnic war (since the "bush" Fulani in the community were spared) nor a religious one (since most people in northern Oyo are Muslims and most of the Bororo pastoralists are, in fact, not).

The Bororo would not regard Buhari as one of them since he doesn’t speak any dialect of Fulfulde and most of them don’t speak Hausa. Nor would they regard the loudmouths at Miyetti Allah, who claim to represent them, as their kin.

As it should be obvious by now, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders’ Association endorsed Buhari because most of its members are more like Buhari than they are like Atiku.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

INEC’s Troubling Missteps Amid Aso Rock’s Desperation

By Farooq A. Kperogi, Ph.D.
Twitter: @farooqkperogi

There is a noticeable whirl of feverish desperation in the Presidential Villa. No perceptive person can miss that.  From indiscriminately arresting and detaining political opponents and critics, to squelching dissent in the traditional news media through blackmail and threats, to undisguisedly deploying security forces in the service of overt partisan agendas, it’s now starkly transparent that the Buhari regime is not interested in or prepared for a fair electoral contest.

 The starker the reality of impending electoral defeat stares the regime in the face, the more extreme the intensity of its desperation becomes. All the institutions that are crucial to a free and transparent election are now compromised. For instance, service chiefs, who are required by law to be apolitical, attended the president’s reelection campaign event in mid-November 2018, and by late November 2018, Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai said the army would “replicate”the “success” (read: massive rigging) that took place in Ekiti and Osun elections) in this year’s presidential election.

EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu also attended an “IStandWithBuhari”rally in February 2016 and proudly wore Buhari’s reelection campaign lapel pin in May 2018 during a TV appearance. He was also caught on camera seated close to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on December 5, 2018 in Lagos “at a gathering to strategise on the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari.” After widespread backlash, he got Channels TV (which was once called out by BBC Journalist Anna Cunningham on November 27, 2018 for editing out embarrassing quotes from presidential spokesman Femi Adesina’s interview with it after a live broadcast) to say that he was superimposed into the video in error, even though he admitted to being at the hotel where the event took place to see his “sick relative”!

The Inspector General of Police (whom I have renamed the Inspector General of the President) makes no pretenses to being anything other than a barefaced, unblushing partisan hack working for the president’s reelection.

That is why there is heightened anxiety about the neutrality of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the forthcoming election. The appointment of INEC commissioner Mrs. Amina Zakari as head of the committee that will be in charge of the “secretariat for collation of results and venue for briefing of international observers and the media” has pushed this anxiety to the forefront of national consciousness.

Mrs. Zakari’s father was once married to Buhari’s biological sister. Her own mother is also from Daura. Although no one has been able to definitively establish any blood kinship between Mrs. Zakari’s biological mother and Buhari, it isn’t far-fetched that they could be distant cousins since Daura is a small town, and in small towns almost everyone is related.

But that’s not really the issue. To be fair to Mrs. Zakari, she was first appointed as an INEC national commissioner by Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, and her relationship with the president in and of itself isn’t enough reason to question her neutrality. Nevertheless, given the frenetic, devil-may-care recklessness and desperation of the honchos of the Buhari presidency, it is entirely reasonable to suspect that her appointment to the headship of that committee was designed to rig the vote in favor of Buhari.

This suspicion isn’t wild, groundless, or impulsive. On October 26, 2018, for instance, Chief of Staff to the president Abba Kyari invited the INEC chairman to his office at the Presidential Villa for a closed-door meeting. That’s unprecedented in the political history of Nigeria. The Chief of Staff to the President is not a constitutionally recognized position. He has no legal powers to summon the INEC boss for a meeting. The meeting was particularly suspicious because it came on the heels of Mrs. Zakari’s redeployment from being head of INEC’s electoral operations and logistics to being head of its health and welfare department, which is consistent with her disciplinary training as a pharmacist.

INEC chairman redeployed her apparently in response to concerns by opposition parties that she couldn’t be trusted to be fair to all parties in her role as director of logistics in view of her well-known relationship to the president. The INEC chairman seemingly bowed to pressure from the presidency and put Mrs. Zakari back at the core of the electoral process.

So opposition parties are justified in being outraged by what seems like the willful arm-twisting of INEC by the presidency in the service of the president’s reelection bid. Josef Stalin once said in 1923, “I consider it completely unimportant who… will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this — who will count the votes, and how.” Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza was coarser and blunter in his taunts at a political opponent he “defeated”: “Indeed, you won the elections, but I won the count.” And this was how the New York Times of May 26, 1880 summed up the thoughts of French general Napoleon Bonaparte (who became emperor of France) about elections: "I care not who casts the votes of a nation, provided I can count them."

As the reader can see, historically, dictators like Buhari have always cared more about the count than they’ve done about the vote. That’s why Buhari hasn’t been campaigning for the forthcoming election. His energies are being expended on how to successfully manipulate the count to his advantage. That’s why the appointment of his relative (by marriage and possibly by distant blood ties) as head of the count, particularly in the aftermath of the INEC chairman’s meeting with Abba Kyari, one of the three-man cabal for whom Buhari is a lifeless surrogate, is justifiably perturbing.

I must point out, though, that in spite of the indefensibly disgraceful elections he conducted in Ekiti and Osun states, the INEC chairman has demonstrated praiseworthy independence in the last few months. For example, he stuck to his guns and bucked pressures to allow Zamfara APC to field candidates for the forthcoming election after failing to meet the deadline to submit the names of their candidates.

He has also insisted, at least up to the time of writing this column, that only card readers will be used in the 2019 election. Where card readers don’t work, he said, incidence reports won’t be accepted as stand-ins. That’s commendably bold and reassuring, considering that INEC data from the 2015 election showed that Buhari was a disproportionate beneficiary of possibly fraudulent votes that were masked with and legitimized by “incidence forms.” “Of the 31,746,490 accredited voters in the election, 13,536,311 — representing 42.6 percent of voters — voted without biometric accreditation. Out of this number, 10,184,720 votes are from states won by Buhari," according to DeepDive Intelligence, which got the data from INEC’s website.

Nevertheless, INEC would reassure voters even more if it rescinds its decision to make Mrs. Zakari the head of collation. Ultimately, who counts the vote matters more than the vote itself, especially when a desperate, drowning dictator is a contestant.