Eben Enasco Reporting.

Every election year since the advent of democracy in Nigeria, the game is the same and citizens are left to strut in disbelief amidst dashed hopes.

The concept of ‘free and fair’ elections in Nigeria is way far from being credible as innocent electorate votes but has become frustrated when professors who are expected to do what is right are compromised with money inducement.

The frustration is mostly occasioned by the actions of the electoral umpires, desperate politicians that are well aided by University Academics assigned for such duties.

Most actors or perpetrators are caught up in their deeds after collecting their future and the future of the generations to come in just one bargain.

Arguably, some electoral officials connive with some politicians to manipulate an election given varied statistics carried out through our investigation’s random sampling alongside reports from notable organizations.

Once the politicians have overdosed them with millions of Naira, they tend to overlook whatever is happening to the ballot boxes and the ballot papers.

They could also allow the politicians and their thugs to engage in multiple voting or tinker with election figures to favor a particular party.

These have become a recurring decimal amongst the University cycle who are choosing to manage elections.

The 2023 general elections may have been conducted but the dust it kicked up is yet to settle with many Nigerians, local and international

Most observers described it as a “shambolic election” due to the poor conduct of the exercise by the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC.

While the widespread violence that beclouded the elections is yet to settle, some of the academics who officiated in the elections now carry credibility baggage as they are accused of aiding rigging.

In a recent position taken by the International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law In­tersociety disclosed to the world last week that it found out that no fewer than 50 top Nigerian university professors who played various conspiratorial roles in rigging and voter suppression in the 25th February Presidential/National Assembly and the 18th March 2023 Governorship/State Houses of As­sembly elections have been identified.

Fifty university professors con­spiratorially or vicariously involved are 34 Vice Chancellors and a Deputy Vice-Chancellor drew from Federal, State, and Private Universities across the country.

The record revealed that, apart from the 50 culpably or conspiratorially involved, Nigerian University Professors are culpable.

There are also others involved; including Doc­torate Degree holders and other former top military, police, and spy police officers, and former ministers and Government Commissioners in­cluding Professor Joel Egwaile of the Department of Engineering, University of Benin.

Professor Joel Egwaile was the ELECTORAL OFFICER, EO, who Conducted and supervised the election that was declared inconclusive before the supplementary Election of the Uhunmwonde/ Orhionmwon Federal Constituency, in Edo State.

While growing up somewhere at a lane in Nosayaba Street, off Tv Road, Joel Egwaile who is now a professor intelligently had eight A’s in all science subjects including Maths, Chemistry, Physics, and other relevant subjects.

He became the talk of the town in the mid-1990s among youths who were aspiring to obtain a degree at the prestigious University of Benin.

His parents, Father and Mother, were Jehovah’s Witnesses, JW.

Professor Joel Egwaile, joy was, however, almost cut short when he lost his both parents to a ghastly motor accident along Benin Lagos express road while they were reportedly returning from a convention.

The death of his parents almost ruin his career afterward, but thankfully, fortune smiled at him when he later got admission to the University of Benin.

Professor Egwaile and members of his household were integrity personified while growing up.

Today, he is being accused of deliberately omitting 2,414 votes cast allegedly belonging to the Labour Party, LP, before the supplementary election of April 18, 2023, for the House of Representatives candidate for Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency even though he agreed to have mistakenly done so.

In a letter written, signed, and dated by the collation officer, Dr. V.N Okorie on April 20, 2023, Titled: “Report On Supplementary Election, Uhunmwonde/Orhionmwon Federal Constituency, held on April 15, 2023, and addressed to the Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, INEC, Edo State, OBOH EFFANGE, copying the Electoral Officer, Professor Egwaile of the LGA, clearly validated our Concerns.

The letter made available to us reads in parts: “That day, I reported for the collation exercise which started at about 3:30 pm at the old secretariat of the LGA collation center having been briefed by the Electoral Officer of the LGA, on what was expected to do as collation officer”.

“The EO told me of the Resident Electoral Commissioner’s Directive to affect the Form EC8 B (RA06) on error observed during the collation, I briefed the party agents that were present regarding errors earlier started”.

“The political party agents present told me not to change it”.

“This resulted in a serious argument among political party agents who resorted to beating me up and squeezing the results sheet (Firm EC8b & EC8C)”.

“In the light of the Above tracks, at the collation center 1, I was unable to effect the correction as directed by the REC”.

This seems to me like an acted script and can’t hold water. If there would have been any suggested changes they should have been carried out by Professor Egwaile who earlier had the opportunity to do so but refused.

This serious borders on his alleged involvement in a certain gratification suspected to have rewarded him, like other professors as bargains to manipulate the electoral process.

A close reflection on the result before the complementary elections show that Labour Party, polled 13,129 and the All Progressive Congress polled 12,357.

If the 2,414 was added but not omitted for any reason given by a professor who was expected to set a standard, then the margins would have been completely different.

Recall that the position was keenly contested by Hon Murphy Imasuen of the Labour Party, LP, and Chief Dr. Billy Osawaru of the All Progressive Congress, APC, who was later declared the winner.

Professor Egwaile who claimed in a phone conversation with a supporter of the Labor Party, Blessing Agho to have made a mistake collating their results is presently undergoing investigation over his role in alleged manipulations of the results that declared APC’s candidate the winner.

According to Blessing Agho, “A person with such disposition is not fit to lecture students in a prestigious university such as the great University of Benin.

“Only God knows what his students have gone through with him. This type might not give you a pass mark without paying in cash or kind”. “Prof wan buy BENZ”.

Continuing, Agho said, “We have a very clear case, INEC Nigeria acknowledged the fact that they made a mistake by omitting 2414 for the Labour Party Nigeria House of Representatives candidate for Orhionmwon/Uhunmwonde Federal Constituency.

Hon Murphy Imasuen won the election with almost 2000 votes.

Agho, who is calling on the management of UNIBEN to dismiss him with immediate effect, said “The students are not safe under his tutelage”.

Some students who corroborated Blessing Agho’s claims and don’t want her name in prints, when our correspondents carried out a background check on the lecturer in the Engineering Department, at the University of Benin, lamented how the professor has been maltreating most students.

The student said, “We have suffered in his hands. We never knew he will take it to this level. Nobody writes his course and passes it on merit. If you do pass without blocking, thank your God. I am one of the students and a victim. So God has vindicated me because I boldly said in class that all these lecturers will one day meet their Waterloo”.

But when reached for a comment on the allegations, Professor Joel Egwaile did not deny nor accept to have committed the alleged offenses.

He bluntly and repeatedly noted that” the matter is being investigated. “I don’t have anything to say for now. It is under investigation and until then no comments”.

Similarly, during the collation of results for the presidential elections at the INEC office in Benin, a certain Professor who is also from the University of Benin could not sum up the results collated as the returning officer from Etsako East Federal Constituency until he was given more days to do so.

The figures he paraded had discrepancies just as he crashed the whole process. He was also suspected to have collected brown envelopes. His actions raised so much dust from observers including some INEC officials who believed he was acting a script.

Generally speaking, a total of 88 university professors and other experts were found to be conspir­atorially or vicariously involved out of the number, only four are exempted and worthy to be celebrated as heroes of Democracy in Nigeria or any part thereof,” in a statement issued in Onit­sha, Eastern Nigeria.

The group alerted that “there are also 17 university professors among the 37 INEC’s Resident Electoral Com­missioners and 12 National Commis­sioners widely or publicly accused of coordinating the 2023 armada of electoral fraud.

Desperation and the determination of individuals and political parties to win and lead at all costs make members get involved in all forms of malpractice.

There are two primary causes for voter apathy: alienation and voter fatigue. Alienation is defined as “this refers to the sense that voters feel like the political system does not work for them and any attempt to influence it will be a fruitless exercise.” This could be due to many factors.

Electoral malpractice paints the country badly internationally. The nation is seen as a corrupt nation.

The leaders cannot earn the respect of nations where democracy is successfully thriving.

Our leaders would be seen as crooks who are not fit to rule the country.

illegal interference with the electoral process. It is also known as electoral fraud or voters ‘fraud. It includes illegal registration, intimidation at a polling station, and improper counting of votes.

People must try and emulate VC Nnenna Otti of the Feder­al University of Technology FUTO, Owerri, who was outstanding in her han­dling of the Abia State Governorship Election of March 18, 2023, where she served as ‘Collation Officer’.

Even at the risk of her life and liberty, she remained adamant about truth and in the end, her resilience and resistance triumphed.

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