INEC and naivety of agitators

By Igbonekwu Ogazimorah

Some times, it comes so obvious that politicians come as naïve as you can think. Can you imagine that politicians and political parties, that want us to consider them very serious, are agitating that a politician should not be appointed the boss of INEC.

To buttress their points, they argued that appointment of Dora Akunyili, though as competent as they can acknowledge, would amount to giving the job to whoever would do the bidding of Mr. President and the powers that be.

To that effect, they think that appointment of civil liberties man or woman would do the magic. In other words, a civil societies’ man or woman would just follow the law and would not do the bidding of the government.

Even the governor of Edo State , Adams Oshiomhole, was quoted as saying that it would only work with a civil societies’ man on the saddle.
Goodness! No view can be as perverted as these. Even Oshiomhole, a serving governor, who has exhibited the entire attributes of a governor in a Third World state, joined in the rooftop proclamation of this simplistic position.

No wonder, the demand for removal of Maurice Iwu appeared paramount to the opposition. It is now obvious that Iwu was truly seen to have caused all the troubles of the past election. That is devoid of the muscle of the powers that be who actually call the tunes.

Nothing can be further from the truth. Of course, it was true that Iwu was supposed to be in charge but had acquiesced. Yet, the question is: would anybody have acted differently? The answer is “no.”
Now, the question, in the possibility of Mr. President appointing a new man, nay a civil societies’ man, is, would the new man ever have the verve, foundation and legal standing to refuse an instruction of Mr. President, the decided boss of all? The answer again is “no.”

There is no doubt that some persons will furiously pound their hairy chests and thunder that they would not take orders from anybody if they are appointed. Well, that is easier said than done. Let the person first look at the statute books. Besides, how does the person resist an instruction dubbed “action based on strong security report for the wellbeing of the nation, Nigeria ?” Hm, do you see that?

Now, tell me, who is this man, made of stone, bred among vipers and carousing with lions, who would look the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic in the face and say, “ah, Mr. President, I will not do it that way.” Am aware that some people will growl and rumble that they can do it, but again, it is easier said than done.

Against this background, I think the civil society agitators have serious problem of focus.
When American President, Barack Obama, visited Ghana , instead of Nigeria , he went straight to the point. “What African states need is a not strong individual but strong law…” Did you hear that? I heard it and I strongly think that what should occupy the minds and time of the civil society agitators is repeal of existing electoral laws in favour of such new ones that would give teeth, base and legal foundation to whoever is appointed to be a bit independent. Mark my word: “a bit independent,” because I think that is what is possible now. Do not forget that even if you have a good law and good person, it now depends on his personal stamina – including that of the persons around him – to stay within his income. Otherwise, if he or she is forced, by friends and relations, to accede to pursuit of things beyond his means, he will bend to vast money-men who may be within or outside government.

And for a man or woman so exposed and threatened by the gory economic situation, where he/she or any member of the family can only get good health if they travel abroad; where they are sure of electricity if they have the vast sums to purchase high powered generating sets; where they can only guarantee attention in courts of justice if they have the right kind of sums to pay our highly priced SANs and where they can enjoy any good thing of live if they can afford them on their own, then you begin to understand what I mean. You begin to appreciate that in what has been dubbed by many as a failed State, the clean man we talk about is, indeed, a pipe dream.

So, you can begin to picture the vast war chest at the disposal of a serving president, governor and others, who want it, irrevocably done, their way; that is whether the head is still on the shoulder or has since been separated from the shoulder.
Are we not just helpless?

2 Comments

  1. It bothers me sometimes that many people in Nigeria have the tendency to equate fictions with facts and substitute hard evidence with speculations.

    I don’t know where it was established either through the avalanche of judicial proceedings arising from the election petititions, or through self-confession by either Iwu or any other INEC official, for that matter, that the results of the 2007 elections were dictated to Iwu and INEC by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that that was the case. Yet people assume that Iwu was told “what to do” by the government regarding the results of elections. Where did they get that notion from? Nowhere, but in their heads! People should comment on the basis of facts known to them and not on fiction or conjectures.

    For God’s sake, let’s show some respect for facts in that country, separate them from fiction, and treat them as such.

    INEC declared results on the basis of the figures before it. If in particular instances mistakes were made by INEC or those figures reeived by it were cooked up somewhere along the line either at the polling stations where all party agents were supposed to be present and endorsed the results, or at he collation centers where they are similarly represented, it should not be represented as the Federal Government “dictating’ the results to Iwu and INEC. That is a stretch and utterly speculative.

    Mistakes will be made no doubt given the expansive and rough terrains in which INEC is operating. Nowhere in the world are elections into local, state, and federal offices including the presidency, held at the same time. It’s an overload that will overburden INEC and its officials resulting in delays in the arrival of electoral materials, mistakes in voters list and myriads of logistical and statistical problems.

    In a third world nation with limited resources and dilapidated infrastructures, it will be a miracle indeed that any election in Nigeria will be devoid of the kinds of problems we have come to associate with elections in Nigeria.

    And the militant attitudes of a militarized political class with their private armies armed to the teeth to cause mayhem and disorderliness make matters much worse and cannot be blamed on INEC.

    It’s Iwu and INEC all the time. What are we doing about militant politicians who want to win by all means necessary? What are we doing about the police that is unable to police elections and looks the other way when electoral crimes are being perpetrated under its nose?

    INEC and its chairman do not have their own law enforcement operatives to maintain order. They rely on the same police that has disappointed the nation at every turn.

    Until we get realistic and address the root causes of electoral problems, changing INEC chairmen and national commissioners is tantamount to acting like the Ostrictch which buries its head in the sand with its behind still exposed to the world. We are merely applying band aid to a festering sore in our body politic.

  2. It bothers me sometimes that many people in Nigeria have the tendency to equate fictions with facts and substitute hard evidence with speculations.

    I don’t know where it was established either through the avalanche of judicial proceedings arising from the election petititions, or through self-confession by either Iwu or any other INEC official, for that matter, that the results of the 2007 elections were dictated to Iwu and INEC by then President Olusegun Obasanjo. There is absolutely no evidence anywhere that that was the case. Yet people assume that Iwu was told “what to do” by the government regarding the results of elections. Where did they get that notion from? Nowhere, but in their heads! People should comment on the basis of facts known to them and not on fiction or conjectures.

    INEC declared results on the basis of the figures before it. If in particular instances mistakes were made by INEC or those figures reeived by it were cooked up somewhere along the line either at the polling stations where all party agents were supposed to be present and endorsed the results, or at he collation centers where they are similarly represented, it should not be represented as the Federal Government “dictating’ the results to Iwu and INEC. That is a stretch and utterly speculative.

    Mistakes will be made no doubt given the expansive and rough terrains in which INEC is operating. Nowhere in the world are elections into local, state, and federal offices including the presidency, held at the same time. It’s an overload that will overburden INEC and its officials resulting in delays in the arrival of electoral materials, mistakes in voters list and myriads of logistical and statistical problems.

    In a third world nation with limited resources and dilapidated infrastructures, it will be a miracle indeed that any election in Nigeria will be devoid of the kinds of problems we have come to associate with elections in Nigeria.

    And the militant attitudes of a militarized political class with their private armies armed to the teeth to cause mayhem and disorderliness make matters much worse and cannot be blamed on INEC.

    It’s Iwu and INEC all the time. What are we doing about militant politicians who want to win by all means necessary? What are we doing about the police that is unable to police elections and looks the other way when electoral crimes are being perpetrated under its nose?

    INEC and its chairman do not have their own law enforcement operatives to maintain order. They rely on the same police that has disappointed the nation at every turn.

    Until we get realistic and address the root causes of electoral problems, changing INEC chairmen and national commissioners is tantamount to acting like the Ostrictch which buries its head in the sand with its behind still exposed to the world. We are merely applying band aid to a festering sore in our body politic.

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