Professors are trusted by society. They are regarded as the epitome and harbingers of a just society. They hold the thrust of the society and are roundly respected. For INEC and elections preparations and its outcomes, not only the Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, but Professors that had handled the elections past and present have disappointed the Nigerian people. The Profs are now seen as purveyors of election fraud.
Before the presidential election, many Nigerians were beaming with hope that there will be a change of government and All Progressives Congress (APC) under which there has been so much misery and poverty.
Life in the country is miserable and with the unconcerned attitude of the Buhari administration which churns out policies that further cause hardships. Many Nigerians were attracted to the realisation of the true democracy where their votes will count and will reflect the true will of the people.
The will of the people was subverted by the inefficiency of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu who was entrusted to organise an election that is free, fair and credible.
The just concluded presidential election opened up the professors as they helped the INEC to announce results that are obviously fraudulent and in contravention of the electoral law. Certifying what has been adjudged a highly controversial and mismanaged election, is a question on the integrity of the professors. They are being blamed for joining hands with the political elites to keep the country pauperised through the subversion of the verdict of the ballot box.
If the professors were truly interested in securing the right and will of the people to make their political choices, they will, starting from the chairman of the INEC, who is a professor, refrain from endorsing and participating in fraud but they seem to be induced and influenced by the plaguing neo-patrimonialism – ‘a system whereby rulers use state resources for personal benefit and to secure the loyalty of clients in the general population’
In 2019, president Goodluck Jonathan chided the professors rigging elections for the politicians. He said, “Over time, the place of the academia in our democratic process has become more pronounced, with more members taking the centre stage in election administration in the country.
“The involvement of the academia in our electoral process is premised on the assumption that academics are people of proven integrity who cannot be compromised. Many of them have actually been at the forefront of the campaign for transparency in elections and sustainability of democracy on the continent.
“The involvement of the academia in the management of elections is, therefore, a good idea. However, our scholars should know that they bear the responsibility of justifying the trust placed on them by other members of the society in the management of elections.
“Any member of the academia who compromises what he stands for, by getting involved in the manipulation of elections, betrays that trust. It is dangerous for members of the academia to get involved in election malpractices because of its wider implication for the future of our country. Once the youth corps members observe these lecturers and professors who they hold in high esteem attempt to change or falsify elections results, they might begin to see such criminality as the new norm in our country.”
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After the last presidential election, the trust placed on these professors has eroded and it is bad for the society which has gone down in morality and decency. Professors who mould the citizens in the schools should be patriotic and upright. They have become part of the problem.
Democracy involves merit through a process that is transparent, credible and fair to all. It does not hinge on “fight for it, grab it, snatch it, and run with it,” with the ballot box as Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the declared President-elect said in a viral video .
As the election continues to draw negative reviews, the professors involved and the entire academics should be ashamed of what their unpatriotic adventure has caused and is causing Nigerians.
In judging what leads the professors down the road of infamy, lack of funding of the universities and the professors has dragged these scholars into the marketplace. They not only compete for students through selling academic materials, they engage in nefarious election rigging to make even.
Academia is not different from what is obtained in the society, but they are expected to live above corruption and retain the status from which the people learn patriotism and forthrightness. They should not be academics whose involvement in rigging, cost Nigerians their right to choose their leaders through the ballot. Getting involved in election rigging by these scholars is a tragedy.