The Horrific Election Experience of a Youth Corps Member


The death of President Umaru Yar’adua presented a perfect opportunity for Nigerians to evaluate the competence of the man called Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who had never contested an elective post in his entire life. Right from his secondary school days, as an assistant headboy, ‘something’ we heard happened to his headboy and he was sworn-in, the story remain pretty the same till he became the acting president.
Having evaluated his about one year stay in power as acting president; I knew without doubt that nothing could come out of his continuous stay in office. With this conclusion at heart, I vowed not to support him. Being an inec ad-hoc officer thus requested me to be unbiased (whatever that means) as an electoral umpire, therefore, I decided to be fair and treat everybody right.

The nation Nigeria is endemically corrupt. The corruption just like a canker worm, had eaten deep into the fibre of our nationhood but what amazes me most is majority of the people don’t really desire positive change especially where I served.
It’s almost a year now since the horrific experience that almost took my life as an electoral official. The 14days voter’s registration was a trying period for more than 15days it went on; I was constantly pressured and tempted into registering clearly underaged pupils in the village where I was stucked. Ofcourse money was thrown around from top political echelon in the state but it was either the stipends that looked so big then or my little giving intergrity from God.
Have you ever wondered why some state governors spent Millions of Naira on a fully paid-for registration exercise? Well, it was simply for this purpose, to lure Registration Officers (RO’s) into registering under-aged, inflating number of total registered voters by any means, and basically doing anything possible in other to manipulate the outcome of future election. You will understand latter as you read the story.
For voter’s registration alone, my sources say N200M was disbursed from the coffers of the Abia State Government, N5M to the 17 Local Government Chairmen, N3M to commissioners, and N1m for Special Assistant. Ofcourse, N5,000 trickled down to my polling unit called ‘welfare package’ from the Local Government Chairman who after much probing claimed it was his own contribution to our welfare as Corps Members and not in a bid to commit us to do anything funny. Two days into the registration exercise however, a man claiming to be a party chairman for the ward came to the registration centre with little kids asking me to register them. Upon refusal, he threathened claiming they were told we had been settled. I immediately brought out the so-called ‘welfare package’, threw it at him and fumed I wasn’t going to play ball with criminality.
The registration exercise came and went, though I registered 280 voters, so disappointing for the politicians, but atleast I satisfied my conscience and also justified the training had received.
“COOPERATE WITH THEM”
Let me spare us the story of the Governorship and Senatorial election and share with you my Presidential election experience. I was the only Corps Member that showed up for electoral duty in the polling booth due to the notorierity of the polling unit.
Before the start of the day’s election, one dis-Honourable showed up introducing himself as the State House of Representative Member in the area and shared cripsy notes with the Police Officers, Officers of the Civil Defense, and other Political Party agents present. He was about giving me my own share as the Polling Officer when I respecfully asked him to keep his money.

He immediately called me aside; explaining the scenerio on ground, he stated that he was expected to deliver 90% of the vote in his polling unit. My advice to him was simple, ‘mobilize the entire villagers who registered and I would make sure they vote in the specified time and manner,’ ofcourse that wasn’t what he was expecting. With this said, I knew the battleline was drawn for the day.
The election commenced in his absence and when he came back, he was brewing in anger because none of the officials in the polling unit he went gave him any problem. My kind of person was totally strange to him, a fearless person from the southwest, in a ‘strange’ land hoping to do this and go scot free. He fumed and tried lots of intimidation technique he knew but I just would not bulge. And then the bizarre thing happened, he called my inec supervisor, who after harrasing me, I said I would not release booklets of ballot papers to be tumb-printed.
You think that was bizarre? A call was place to a highly placed official in the inec state headquarters who as a matter of fact instructed me to ‘fully cooperate’ with the dis-Honourable, but I was adamant still, I told him I had better abandon the duty, rather than sign doctored result sheet which is wicked and unjust.
A MORE BIZARRE THING HAPPENED
Then I saw the dis-Honourable bring out close to 200 voter’s card which he distributed to the youth of the village to come ‘cast votes,’ this I rejected and he was more furious. He screamed in an angry voice “you won’t go back to Umuahia with your two legs” he said further “before you destroy my political career, I will destroy you.” At this point, I had to start making calls, long and short of this story is that after counting and annoucing a meagre vote of over 200, I was smuggled out of the village in the cover of darkness by NYSC official in a covert vehicle.
This is the absurd reality we face in Nigeria when we decide to do the right things. Interestingly, when I got to the collation centre, I was told by the collation officer that there was no need to declare result, I shouldn’t have given the result at the polling centre stating that there are ‘mistakes’ in the results and he would not enter it into the result spread sheet in out present (whatever that means), your guess is as good as mine.
Kikiowo Ileowo
Twitter: @ileowo4ever

Click here to subscribe to The Paradigm Newsletter

Comments

comments

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Made my day once again, excellent post..two thumbs up!:)

  2. Ok

  3. take am easy o!

Share your thoughts


The death of President Umaru Yar’adua presented a perfect opportunity for Nigerians to evaluate the competence of the man called Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who had never contested an elective post in his entire life. Right from his secondary school days, as an assistant headboy, ‘something’ we heard happened to his headboy and he was sworn-in, the story remain pretty the same till he became the acting president.
Having evaluated his about one year stay in power as acting president; I knew without doubt that nothing could come out of his continuous stay in office. With this conclusion at heart, I vowed not to support him. Being an inec ad-hoc officer thus requested me to be unbiased (whatever that means) as an electoral umpire, therefore, I decided to be fair and treat everybody right.

The nation Nigeria is endemically corrupt. The corruption just like a canker worm, had eaten deep into the fibre of our nationhood but what amazes me most is majority of the people don’t really desire positive change especially where I served.
It’s almost a year now since the horrific experience that almost took my life as an electoral official. The 14days voter’s registration was a trying period for more than 15days it went on; I was constantly pressured and tempted into registering clearly underaged pupils in the village where I was stucked. Ofcourse money was thrown around from top political echelon in the state but it was either the stipends that looked so big then or my little giving intergrity from God.
Have you ever wondered why some state governors spent Millions of Naira on a fully paid-for registration exercise? Well, it was simply for this purpose, to lure Registration Officers (RO’s) into registering under-aged, inflating number of total registered voters by any means, and basically doing anything possible in other to manipulate the outcome of future election. You will understand latter as you read the story.
For voter’s registration alone, my sources say N200M was disbursed from the coffers of the Abia State Government, N5M to the 17 Local Government Chairmen, N3M to commissioners, and N1m for Special Assistant. Ofcourse, N5,000 trickled down to my polling unit called ‘welfare package’ from the Local Government Chairman who after much probing claimed it was his own contribution to our welfare as Corps Members and not in a bid to commit us to do anything funny. Two days into the registration exercise however, a man claiming to be a party chairman for the ward came to the registration centre with little kids asking me to register them. Upon refusal, he threathened claiming they were told we had been settled. I immediately brought out the so-called ‘welfare package’, threw it at him and fumed I wasn’t going to play ball with criminality.
The registration exercise came and went, though I registered 280 voters, so disappointing for the politicians, but atleast I satisfied my conscience and also justified the training had received.
“COOPERATE WITH THEM”
Let me spare us the story of the Governorship and Senatorial election and share with you my Presidential election experience. I was the only Corps Member that showed up for electoral duty in the polling booth due to the notorierity of the polling unit.
Before the start of the day’s election, one dis-Honourable showed up introducing himself as the State House of Representative Member in the area and shared cripsy notes with the Police Officers, Officers of the Civil Defense, and other Political Party agents present. He was about giving me my own share as the Polling Officer when I respecfully asked him to keep his money.

He immediately called me aside; explaining the scenerio on ground, he stated that he was expected to deliver 90% of the vote in his polling unit. My advice to him was simple, ‘mobilize the entire villagers who registered and I would make sure they vote in the specified time and manner,’ ofcourse that wasn’t what he was expecting. With this said, I knew the battleline was drawn for the day.
The election commenced in his absence and when he came back, he was brewing in anger because none of the officials in the polling unit he went gave him any problem. My kind of person was totally strange to him, a fearless person from the southwest, in a ‘strange’ land hoping to do this and go scot free. He fumed and tried lots of intimidation technique he knew but I just would not bulge. And then the bizarre thing happened, he called my inec supervisor, who after harrasing me, I said I would not release booklets of ballot papers to be tumb-printed.
You think that was bizarre? A call was place to a highly placed official in the inec state headquarters who as a matter of fact instructed me to ‘fully cooperate’ with the dis-Honourable, but I was adamant still, I told him I had better abandon the duty, rather than sign doctored result sheet which is wicked and unjust.
A MORE BIZARRE THING HAPPENED
Then I saw the dis-Honourable bring out close to 200 voter’s card which he distributed to the youth of the village to come ‘cast votes,’ this I rejected and he was more furious. He screamed in an angry voice “you won’t go back to Umuahia with your two legs” he said further “before you destroy my political career, I will destroy you.” At this point, I had to start making calls, long and short of this story is that after counting and annoucing a meagre vote of over 200, I was smuggled out of the village in the cover of darkness by NYSC official in a covert vehicle.
This is the absurd reality we face in Nigeria when we decide to do the right things. Interestingly, when I got to the collation centre, I was told by the collation officer that there was no need to declare result, I shouldn’t have given the result at the polling centre stating that there are ‘mistakes’ in the results and he would not enter it into the result spread sheet in out present (whatever that means), your guess is as good as mine.
Kikiowo Ileowo
Twitter: @ileowo4ever

Click here to subscribe to The Paradigm Newsletter

Comments

comments

4 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Made my day once again, excellent post..two thumbs up!:)

  2. Ok

  3. take am easy o!

Share your thoughts

%d bloggers like this: