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NIGERIA’S 2023 ELECTIONS VOTERS’ CARDS IN TRADITIONAL RACKETEERING

December 16, 2022

INEC VOTERS’ CARDS, TRAVEL PASSPORTS, NATIONAL IDENTITY CARDS, DRIVER’S LICENSE, ALL RACKETEERED BY NIGERIAN CIVIL SERVANTS

Greetings!

I’m Harry Agina, and this is “No Bullshitting,” the no-fear-no-favor socio-political-critic blog. Today, once again, I want to talk about the fact that Nigeria’s civil servants have traditionalized and almost legalized racketeering in her entire civil and public service sector. My focus today is the current racketeering by staffers of the agency that umpires Nigeria’s elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). I have a short video, which was recorded yesterday (December 15, 2022), for illustration. I was on the phone with the ‘camerawoman’ when she was at an INEC office in “Abuja Municipal Area Council” (AMAC) complex, in Area 10, Abuja. She was there to pick up her “Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC), in vain, I must add!

She informed me of the racket that was going on. So, I requested her to capture the scene for me with her telephone camera. It was a covert operation, of course, because the crooks involved in the crime could be dangerous if they knew that they were being recorded. This explains the not-well-revealing content of the video. There’s certainly a racket currently going on among the staffers of INEC. You can take my word for it, meeeeeeeeen!!!

Racketeering is defined as: (1) The act of acquiring a business through illegal activity; (2) Operating a business with illegally acquired income; or (3) Using a business to commit illegal act. The word was coined in June 1927 by Employers’ Association of Chicago in the USA. It was in response to the influence of organized crime in the “Teamsters Union” of Chicago. The crime of Nigeria’s civil servants is best-covered in the third definition—using a business (office) to commit illegal act. Too many, if not all Nigerian civil servants in the nation’s ministries and agencies regularly engage in racketeering against Nigerians with their offices. They must always create ways to extort bribe before they do their jobs. This has grown into a near-legalized tradition over the years, especially at the federal government level.

I say and emphasize ‘near-legalized’ because every fucking top civil and public service officer, all the way to the president of the country, knows what is going on. Yet, the successive Nigerian federal governments since 1999 lacked, and currently lacks the integrity to curb the menace. In fact, in many cases, the highest bosses in the ministries and agencies institute the rackets themselves. Their subordinates execute the rackets and send their own shares of the proceeds to them. This criminal tradition has virtually grown wings, flying high in the current government of the “clueless” President Mohammadu Buhari! An example that I have often cited in past commentaries about systemic racketeering, is the Nigeria Police Force. The officers in the streets extort Nigerians and send part of the proceeds to the higher officers in their offices. They call it “making returns to the bosses.” My informants did allege that the “returns” go (or went) all the way up to the highest police officer in the land, the Inspector General of Police (IGP). In fairness, however, I must mention that the current IGP was not in office when I obtained this information. Maybe he is not guilty of the allegation. But according to my informants (more than two police officers), some past IGPs were guilty of the crime. Anyway, my point is that the rackets in the ministries and agencies of Nigeria are often systemic, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

I already said that INEC is my subject today. The following video by my ‘camerawoman’ shows where some voters are paying bribe to INEC staffers to obtain their own PVCs. It was recorded at the INEC AMAC office in Area 10, in Abuja. Meanwhile, there are scores of voters on that same premises who have repeatedly visited the same INEC office for their cards every fucking day, for several weeks, to no avail. The video was shot in mid-afternoon, Nigerian time, yesterday (December 15, 2022). And many of the voters seeking their cards had been on the queues several hours before the office opened at 9am. Here you go:

The content of the above video is a common sight at most INEC offices across Nigeria every workday in recent time. Nigerians are desperate to obtain their “Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC),” to ensure that they vote in 2023 general elections. It’s no longer news that Nigerians are now in an electoral revolution. They want to ensure, during the impending 2023 elections, that “the usual-suspects” crooks will not continue to govern Nigeria. The revolutionary 2022 electoral reform has drastically curtailed election-rigging. But sadly, evil anti-democracy agents are determined to kill or stifle the revolution in various ways. For instance, some crooks are paying pittance to hungry ignorant voters to buy their PVCs. INEC does insist that nobody can vote with someone else’s PVC in the present reformed system. If so, then dispossessing hungry ignorant voters of their PVCs is only aimed at one thing.  Suppressing votes in areas where some crooks know that the voters do not favor their candidates, that’s what! But my focus today is INEC staffers’ racket, which will frustrate millions of Nigerians from voting. The staffers are sabotaging the distribution of PVCs to the voters, in evil plot to make money, meeeeeeeeen!!!

There are sensible ways to ensure that the simple matter of issuing voter’s cards to citizens is truly simple! But Nigerian satanically corrupt systems always ensure that simple operations are made stupidly difficult! For instance, private banks in Nigeria produce and deliver Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) cards to their customers within 20 minutes after application. And the production of voters’ cards is not in any way more complicated than producing ATM cards. But Nigerian civil servants always choose to make life unbearable for Nigerians by doing everything the stupid and hard ways. They make everything to seem like rocket science! So, I say, if simple voters’ cards overwhelm the INEC for whatever excuses that they have; why the fuck don’t they go into partnership with the banks, meeeeeeeen?!!!

The INEC racket is going on in most, if not all of INEC offices in Nigeria. I truly love some recent pro-democracy acts of the INEC chairman, Mamood Yakubu. Otherwise, I would have suggested that this is a systemic racket, with his blessing. But I doubt that possibility; I don’t think that the dude is that bad at all. He has fought Nigerian political crooks, including and especially Bola Tinubu, who have fought tooth-and-nail to nullify Nigeria’s 2022 electoral reform.  I believe that Yakubu’s staffers are giving him a bad name that he does not deserve. Like Tinubu and his likes, INEC staffers’ racket amounts to an evil sabotage of Nigeria’s long-awaited electoral reform. It is a sabotage against the nation’s progress for the first time, which will soon come with the electoral reform. Yes, a sabotage indeed! The racketeers are evil enemies of democracy and its “power to the people” philosophy, which will institute a better Nigeria. Stated in simple form, the motherfucking racketeers are preventing Nigerians from voting to choose their leaders, for a better Nigeria, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

I have discussed the general matter of various forms of racketeering in Nigerian ministries and agencies more than once before. But it becomes necessary to bring it up again whenever something new happens. INEC staffers’ racketeering with the “Permanent Voters’ Cards” (PVCs) of Nigerians is very grievous. And it is very annoying to me, because Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election is very important. It is a “make-or-mar” for the fucked-up evil British contraption that is known as Nigeria. Any unacceptable outcome of the 2023 elections, particularly the presidential election, could break Nigeria into two or three countries. For the first time since 1999, Nigeria’s 2022 Electoral Act has given Nigerians hope for a better country. The electoral reform, which curtails rigging, has given Nigerians the chance to choose their president and the other leaders. But INEC staffers are bent on truncating this chance with their evil racket of frustrating voters. The racketeers are putting the voters through virtual hell to obtain their PVCs. They are selling the voters’ cards, which is supposed to be free, meeeeeeeen!!!

It is common knowledge that scarcity of, or difficulty in obtaining a product or service is the mother of racketeering in Nigeria. For the PVC racket, INEC staffers create artificial problems that hinder voters from obtaining their cards. So, even as INEC tells Nigerians every fucking day that their PVCs are ready for pick-up, millions are crying that INEC staffers refuse to release the PVCs. They come up with gazillion reasons why the PVCs are not ready. Many of those so-called reasons are excuses to create the environment of scarcity/difficulty, to activate their racket! They know that many Nigerians will pay after several hours and days of frustration at INEC offices for their PVCs, in vain!

I did say already that there are such rackets going on in almost all, if not totally all the federal ministries and agencies in Nigeria. Another example is Nigeria’s recently launched National Identification Number (NIN), which is like America’s Social Security Number (system). It’s supposed to be free, but millions of Nigerians were extorted before they could obtain the NIN. Yet another example, if you want to renew or obtain a new driver’s license in Nigeria, you’d better be ready to pay bribe, or be prepared to wait six months for it. They always have reasons why you must wait, all of which point to corruption. And you cannot easily obtain or renew a traveler’s passport in Nigeria without going through a hassle, for several months most times, too! If you refuse to pay bribe, then you must go through agony, meeeeeeeeen!!!

Once upon a time, I lost my Nigerian passport in the US. I visited Nigeria afterwards and applied for a replacement, and I refused to pay bribe. I was in Nigeria for over three weeks, and of course, the passport was not issued. I left Nigeria without it, much thanks to my American passport. And guess what? The common excuse for the Immigrations dudes, always, is that “there are no passport booklets.” If you’re not Nigerian, you must wonder how come the government of Nigeria cannot print enough booklets for passports; right? It cannot possibly be a problem of funds because the people pay more than enough fees to cover the printing of the booklets for their passports. So, the problem is the “Nigerian Factor,” where shit happens all the time, and lots of flies flock around the shit!

On my second trip back to Nigeria a little over a year later, my passport was still not yet issued because nobody pursued it with some bribe money. But this time around, I was prepared for a ‘fight’ with the Immigrations boys. When I entered their office in Lagos, I identified myself along the line of my journalism profession. And I insisted to see and interview their highest boss on the premises, “for my TV program in Texas.” That one got their attention, and I was ushered into the office of their Comptroller. I practically blackmailed the dude with one simple comment-cum-question—”Sir, it takes me only a couple of days to renew my American passport. How come it has been over a year since I applied for my Nigerian replacement passport, and I still haven’t got it yet? My TV audiences in Texas would like to know how come Nigeria is so bad.”

And, of course, I always hit hard with direct accusations in such situations. I had to tell the Comptroller, pointblank, that I refused to pay the bribe that his boys demanded. Naturally, the dude nicely disassociated himself and management from the racket. And then, he asked me to come back the next day to pick up my passport. Suddenly, the hitherto unavailable passport booklets became available, and without a dime from me. I did as he asked, and my passport was waiting for me when I returned the next day. I ain’t bullshitting ya, meeeeeeeeeen!!!

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