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Intersociety Receives Death Threats Amid Investigation of Election Rigging in Nigeria

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ONITSHA, NIGERIA – The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has reported receiving death threats from agents of professors and others allegedly involved in election rigging during Nigeria’s 2023 general elections.

Despite the threats, according to the organisation’s statement, they remain committed to deepening democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria.

In a statement emailed to The Trent on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, Intersociety clarified its position on the involvement of university professors and other expert individuals in the alleged rigging of the 2023 elections.

The organisation invoked a doctrine of “collective responsibility” after investigating the roles of 88 expert-individuals, including 54 serving and retired university professors and 34 others.

Intersociety’s investigations revealed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) played a significant role in coordinating the widespread rigging of the 2023 polls, involving key substantive and ad hoc officials.

The organisation has demanded public accountability from those involved, including university professors who served as INEC result collation and declaration officers.

In response to the life-threatening calls, the organisation remains undeterred in its mission to protect democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in Nigeria.

The organisation has advised those who feel omitted from the exemption list to publicly account for their electoral stewardship and address the allegations of their involvement in the election rigging.

Intersociety has been monitoring INEC’s preparations for the 2023 general elections since 2021, unveiling a 27-page special investigative report on December 25, 2022, which exposed 50 rigging plots hatched by the commission ahead of the polls.

Despite the challenges faced, the organization continues to advocate for free, fair, and credible elections in Nigeria.

The full statement is published, unedited, below.

Life-Threatening Calls Coming To Us From Agents Of Professors, Ors Alleged To Be Involved In 2023 Polls’ Rigging

…Intersociety

…vows to be remain undistracted and continuously deepen democracy and rule of law in Nigeria 

…advises those that felt omitted from the exemption list to publicly give account of their electoral stewardship

Onitsha, Eastern NigeriaTuesday, 28th March 2023

The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (Intersociety) has been receiving cowardly, life threatening and distracting calls from agents of professors and others alleged to have been involved in the armada of electoral fraud that characterized the “2023 Presidential, Senatorial, House of Reps, Governorship and State House of Assembly elections”. There are also commendation calls to us within and outside Nigeria thanking us at Intersociety for being resilient and resolute in our advocacy activities geared towards deepening democracy, rule of law and human rights in Nigeria or any part thereof. Several calls have been coming to us in torrents from persons or agents suspected to be holding brief for the alleged poll manipulators by threatening the lives of our principal officers unless we ‘withdraw the statement against their principals capable of denying them western visas, international exchange programs and other international border engagements especially Europe and North America. The worst part is that 80% of the callers have no iota of remorse for what their principals have done (collectively partaking in rigging of the 2023 polls); to the extent of exonerating their principals and blaming their dark roles on ‘Nigerian bad leadership and corruption’.

Setting The Record Straight

Intersociety had in its special report of 26th March 2023, invoked a doctrine of ‘collective responsibility’ after it had thoroughly investigated and identified various collective negative roles played by the 88 expert-individuals including 54 serving and retired university professors and 34 others in the 25th Feb and 18th March polls. Their collective responsibility roles are in three categories of: direct, conspiratorial and vicarious liabilities. While 84 of the listed expert-individuals were found to have shared collective responsibility in the alleged rigging, only four expert-individuals were singled out for exemption and celebration as ‘heroes of Nigeria’s Democracy 2023’. It must be clearly pointed that nowhere in the statement did Intersociety apportion ‘individual responsibility’ to any of the listed 50 professors/vice chancellors or any of the 34 others or hold any of them individually responsible or liable. Their names were only listed as ‘collective partakers’.

That is to say the crux of our findings was that the INEC as an institution coordinated the widespread rigging of the 2023 polls and all its key substantive and ad hoc officials including the Commission’s National Chairman, 12 National Commissioners, 37 State Resident Commissioners, the Commission’s Director of ICT and its hired 37 (exception of three of them and the professorial Abia REC) expert-State Collation Officers should be collectively accountable or liable. This is what we meant by ‘invocation of doctrine of collective responsibility’. Also under ‘vicarious liability principle’, State Collation Officers are accountable for acts and infractions or misdeeds of their electoral ward and local government Collation Officers just as INEC Chairman, National Commissioners and State Resident Commissioners are vicariously responsible for acts and infractions of their subordinates on account of the former’s omissions and negligent conducts. Exceptions to the above are where steps are taken by INEC bosses to stop or forestall the infractions or misdeeds of their subordinates.

Overriding Public Interest And Doing Public Good For All Behind Our Position

Apart from remaining uncompromising or unyielding in strong defense of democracy, rule of law and human rights since 2008, Intersociety has also been one of the earliest monitors of INEC and its preparations towards the 2023 General Polls since 2021. Our monitoring advocacy paid off with unveiling on 25th Dec 2022 of a 27-Page Special Investigative Report, exposing 50 rigging plots hatched by the Commission ahead of the 2023 Presidential Poll and others. We had correctly observed in our Christmas Day (Dec 25, 2022) International Press Conference on INEC and 2023 Polls in Enugu that going by our forensic findings in the Special Investigative Report “Nigeria’s INEC is incurably incapable of organizing free, fair and credible presidential election and others in 2023 for Nigeria or any part thereof’’. Our advocacy position was strengthened by the fact that despite INEC Chairman’s over 60 times public promises of free, fair, credible and speedy election delivery to Nigerians and the INEC National Commissioner for Voter Education who made over 100 times of such promises, the 2023 polls failed woefully; gulping over N355b taxpayers funds and attracting over 1,200 pre-election court cases. Just barely one month after the 2023 shambolic polls, over 100 post 2023 polls’ court cases have been filed and another whopping N3b set aside for INEC’s  post 2023 polls’ court defense; with over N2b  earmarked for 2022/2023 pre-election litigations.   

Invocation Of Doctrine Of Collective Responsibility

It is indisputable to say or observe that the 2023 General Elections were institutionally rigged and characterized by widespread voter suppression and collation center result fixing and polling units result mutilations. These are findings contained not only in Intersociety’s post 2023 polls’ advocacy reports but also in those of several local and international election observers, various credible media organizations and other critical stakeholders. Therefore, INEC being an institution constitutionally charged with the responsibility of organizing presidential, senatorial, house of reps, governorship and house of assembly polls in Nigeria or any part thereof, is not a robot but a public institution peopled by members of human family and sustained by public or taxpayers funds belonging to the Nigerian People. By convention and law, once engaged or recruited by INEC through outlined legal or lawful processes as substantive or ad hoc staffs or officials; the recruited or appointed must be publicly answerable and held to account for conducts officially performed. It follows that when ‘a university professor or vice chancellor accepts to be hired by a public institution like INEC which is maintained with taxpayers or public funds; to perform official functions such as ‘collation of results’ and ‘declaration of results’ in an election, he or she is inescapably publicly accountable. The statutory academic school functions of the hired professor or vice chancellor as professor or vice chancellor of his or her university must not be mixed with his or her voluntarily accepted interim contract as ‘INEC result collation and declaration officer’. In other words, if he or she collectively or individually partakes in any election manipulation and he or she is brought to public scrutiny or accountability, his or her defense of being maligned as his or her university professor or vice chancellor is dead on arrival, as he or she is on his or her own.

Therefore, in the conduct of elections, both substantive staffs or officials and ad hoc junior or senior staffs are collectively accountable for good or odd activities officially performed. This explains why both substantive and ad hoc senior staffs/officials are mandatorily made parties or witnesses before the electoral courts for purpose of defending their positive or negative roles in any poll they participated by way of collation and declaration of results.  It must be further pointed out that both substantive and ad hoc officials collectively take the glory if the poll outcome is popular and credible and collectively take the blame if brazenly rigged or widely manipulated. The only exception to the above collective negative responsibility is where any senior ad hoc or substantive official is concretely and factually found uninvolved or exonerated. This explains why what transpired in Imo, Abia and Enugu on 25th Feb and 18th March 2023 is a clear case in point.

Intersociety Is Not Moved By Life Threatening Calls And Distractions

The crux of this statement is not to be cowed and distracted from sacredly honoring our hallowed social contract with the Nigerian People. This is more so when our works are grounded in public interest and beyond what money can buy or intimidation and threats of life can influence or quench. Our issuance of this statement is frontally to set the record straight and seminally educate those behind threat and intimidating calls to us. Public offices and functions are not demigod institutions or anarchic entities, attributable to ‘medieval Russian anarchical theoretical society’ where anything goes without social controls and checks and balances. This statement is also geared toward reminding the university professors and vice chancellors to always watch their back and be extremely mindful of the hallowed citadel of higher learning they come from. It is unthinkable for them to be collectively used to mess up the country’s sacred democracy and its process and expect Nigerians and conscientious entities and persons not to call them out and demand public accountability. They must at all times be very conscious of the fact that majority of political leaders in Nigeria have sold their consciences to the devil and turned into pollutant viruses looking for whom to sink with or cleaners of their baggage and moral dirt.

Listed Vice-Chancellors And Professors Must Render Their 2023 Electoral Stewardship To Nigerians

Calling and threatening Intersociety and its principal officers with death and distraction are a wrong and immoral approach. The listed vice chancellors and professors calling and threatening us through their hired agents must stop or be publicly exposed including having calling phone numbers flagged or socially exposed. They publicly owe Nigerians 2023 electoral stewardship explanations and Intersociety is just a member of the lettered Nigerian public and not ‘Nigerians or Nigerian Public’. The referenced academicians are hereby strongly advised to turn to Nigerian Public and render the account of their 2023 electoral stewardship. The stewardship account may include the right of some of them to publicly exonerate themselves from the negative collective responsibility with concrete evidence exempting them from being a party to collated results and declarations that are not the true reflection of the sacred electoral wishes of the voters in areas placed under their electoral responsibilities or duties in the 25th Feb or 18th March 2023 polls or both.

Signed

For:  International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

                                                                            

Emeka Umeagbalasi (Criminologist)
Board Chair @ Intersociety

Ositadinma Agu
Head, Contacts and Mobilization Department @ Intersociety

Ndidiamaka Chinaza Bernard Esquire
Head, International Justice and Human Rights @ Intersociety

Contacts: 

Phone/WhatsApp: +2348174090052

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://intersociety-ng.org

Special Appeal:

An appeal is prayerfully made to public spirited bodies and persons to support our works for humanity. Those touched can reach us via Mobile/WhatsApp Number: +2348100098016 for details of our bank account. Donations to Intersociety in support of its works towards deepening democracy, rule of law and human rights in Nigeria or any part thereof will be duly appreciated and acknowledged and appropriately channeled or utilized for public good.

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