The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) does not have the full results of the controversial 2007 presidential election.
The presidential election held on April 21 that year is the first and only in Nigeria’s history in which there is no state-by-state breakdown of the candidates’ scores.
A professor and INEC chairman at the time, Maurice Iwu, declared Umaru Musa Yar’Adau of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with a figure of 24,638,063 votes without giving the detail.
It remains the highest vote ever amassed by an individual in a single election in Nigeria.
By comparison, Olusegun Obasanjo scored 18,738,154 to win in 1999 and 24,109,157 to be re-elected in 2003.
In 2011, Goodluck Jonathan scored 22,495,187 while Muhammadu Buhari had 15,424,921 in 2015 to unseat him.
Poll analysts and journalists have, for years, searched for a breakdown of the results in order to map voting trends in the fourth republic but have never been lucky.
Ahead of the 2019 general election, a freedom of information request was sent to the electoral umpire for a state-by-state breakdown of the 2007 presidential results.
In the INEC response signed by Okechukwu Ndeche, acting secretary of the commission, said it is not in custody of the information requested for.
“You can however obtain the information from INEC state offices in all the 36 states and FCT,” he wrote in response.
Before the election, INEC’s conduct had come under intense criticism, with Iwu accused of being too partisan in favour of the ruling PDP.
There were attempts by the electoral body to exempt Atiku Abubakar, who was vice-president to Obasanjo but had fallen out with him and defected to the Action Congress (part of today’s All Progressives Congress).
INEC said it had printed 60 million ballot papers in South Africa and insisted that Atiku would not be on the ballot, having been indicted by a panel set up by Obasanjo to probe him over corruption allegations.
The Supreme Court eventually ruled that an indictment can only be valid if it has been accepted by a court of law. It directed INEC to include Atiku on the ballot.
Coming so close the election, the last-minute alteration and printing of ballot threw the election into commotion.
Iwu had said, before the court ruling, that INEC had a Plan B if Atiku won his case, but there was a crisis in the end.