Barely one week after his death, a video has re-emerged on social media showing former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, confessing how he rigged elections in Nigeria.
Mantu, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party before his death, was a member of the Senate from 1999 to 2007, representing Plateau Central Constituency in the upper chamber and before emerging Deputy Senate President in 2003.
Recall, the PDP chieftain died on August 16, 2021, at the age of 74.
Mantu who had been actively involved in politics all his life before the annulled presidential election in 1993 was the National Chairman, defunct Peoples Democratic Alliance; and National Publicity Secretary defunct United Nigeria Congress Party, amongst others.
In a video that has since been making the rounds on social media, Mantu had said that he was a born-again politician after he graphically painted how he rigged elections for himself and his party.
The politician had made the revelation in March 2018 during a Channels Television’s ‘Hard Core’ programme.
Responding to a question on whether he rigged elections in the past, the senator had said, “Yes, I did because I am now confessing the truth.
“I don’t have to go and change results but when you provide money, you give money to INEC boys to help if they see any chance that they should favour you. You provide money to the security (agents).
“All our elections in the past, I have been in this game for about 40 years and I tell you each time, it is not necessarily when I am contesting election but when my party sponsors a candidate, I will like the candidate to win an election.
“What we used to do before, we make provisions for INEC, we make provisions for security (agents), we make provisions for even agents of other parties so that they would not raise any objection to whatever we are able to get.
“So, whether I rig myself or not, by providing those resources, financial inducement to the officials, I am rigging.”
When asked whether there was any hope for a change in the political arena, Mantu had said it all depended on the players.
“If people who are born-again like me refuse to do it. If we, the players, unless we give before somebody will take. So, don’t give and you won’t get takers.
“You don’t even ask me why am I thinking this way? I am tired of being seen as a criminal in the streets of the world because I am a Nigerian. You assume that everybody is an innocent human being until his proven otherwise. But once you are outside this country with a green passport and they say you are a Nigerian, even if you are a Pastor or Imam, they assume that you are a criminal or you have criminal tendencies. That must change.
“I am tired of living in poverty in the midst of plenty. I am tired. No matter how much you have, you see people coming every day, relations, friends, (saying) ‘my wife has given birth’, ‘my mother is in the hospital’, this and that, every day.
“But if everybody has enough to take care of his or herself they won’t come bothering you saying give me this, give me that. And I believe that we have the resources, that people can live decent lives without being beggars to those in government.
“We need good governance and good governance can be provided by good people who are truly repentant, who are there to serve the people, who are concerned about the primary wellbeing of the people,” says Mantu.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, elections in Nigeria have never been devoid of malpractices and violence. Rigging is one of the electoral offences provided for in sections 23, 24,117-132 of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended. Several penalties for the offences are provided in the Act as well. The United States had in the past hit election riggers in Nigeria with travel restrictions.
INEC, the electoral umpire, had introduced a number of technological innovations including Smart Card Readers but underage and multiple voting, amongst others, have marred previous elections, resulting in legal tussles between contesting political parties and candidates.
With the 2023 general elections fast approaching, INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, had earlier in 2021, said, “By the principle established by the Commission, the 2023 General Election will hold on Saturday, 18th February 2023 which is exactly one year, nine months, two weeks and six days or 660 days from today.”
Yakubu had also described as challenging, the prosecution of electoral offenders.
“For instance, since the 2015 general election, 125 cases of electoral offences were filed in various courts out of which 60 convictions have been secured so far, including the most recent one in Akwa Ibom State.
“The commission would like to see more successful prosecution of offenders, not just of ballot box snatchers and falsifiers of election results but most importantly their sponsors.
“We look forward to the day when highly placed sponsors of thuggery, including party chieftains and candidates that seek to benefit from violations of the law, are apprehended. We believe that the work of the proposed Commission will help in this regard,” the INEC boss had said. (Courtesy: The PUNCH)