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Oshiomhole, Buhari: Iwu’s INEC Must Repent

By Erasmus Ikhide
 Published March 24th, 2009

THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC as constituted under the highly partisan personage, Prof. Maurice Iwu, and the mafia outfit tutored on electoral violence with bellicose triteness, must repent. Even if Iwu were to be yanked off his exalted seat as INEC Chair – he boasted no one million Yar’ Adua can sack him – it will still remain as pervasively corrupt as doing the billing of its benefactors whose behest elections in 2007 were lost or won. The real reason why INEC exists as an unbiased umpire in the first place is to guarantee equity and fairness in the cause of electioneering, equitable distribution of electoral materials, and transparency in the voting process and declaration of results, reflective of the will of the people. Anything short of this is an aberration to the given democratic ethos we all elected to govern ourselves. This has to been resisted in every way possible.
What we witnessed in 2007 election, to say the least suggests in the main, that we may be in a democracy, yet so far away. INEC whose duty it was to defend the laws in the books and prosecute the violators took to defending the law breakers, even at the tribunals. Several pronouncements from both Election and Appeal Tribunals since the missconducted 2007 election all over the country revealled how INEC had abandoned its constitutional responsibilities as an unbiased umpire and took militantly the role of opposition. If the people do not have a say in the process of governance; the ultimate purpose for which an organised system, such as democracy is established will be forfeited and those in position of authority will been indulged further never to be accountable to those that ought to have elected them. 
It is no news locally and internationally that 2007 election was unarguably the worst election in the Nigerian history. A great deal of the elections it conducted incompetently and gave past mark to are being upturned wholesale or piecemeal by the courts, while it is still belatedly seeking politicians to share the blames with. Prof. Maurice Iwu never believes he is wrong, let alone INEC. That is the trouble with Nigeria . The results of 2007 election are well documented and it is there for all to see. The most baffling aspect of it all is that INEC has stubbornly refused to accept that the elections were shabbily conducted and still sees any critic of that reprehensible outing of shame as an anti-establishment who is desirous of heating up the polity for an ulterior motive.     
The commission’s public affairs department on March 13, 2009; page 13 of The Nation newspaper came away with that detestably diversionary tactics which had consistently shied and shield INEC away from taken responsibilities for its self-induced electoral fraud. This nonchalant act of non-admittance of failure will make the conduct of fair and free elections impossible in the nearest future. A nation that medaled itself the ‘Giant of Africa’, must abstain completely from undemocratic practice or tendencies that imposed crudity on its part in an otherwise civic system of governance; one of the yardstick for measuring dwarfs or giants nations. A nation is brought to stability through political inclusion and the will of its citizens through civic franchise.  Many opportunities offered itself to rub out the face of Iwu from our electoral space since we are not contented with the trappings of electoral fraud.     
In the said piece, INEC asserted meanmindedly that ‘‘These prominent Nigerians, General Muhammadu Buhari; Adams Oshiomhole, and Prof. Tam David-West, who should have know better have chosen the path of eccentricity and crass partisanship in their public comments. Rather than delight unduly in vilifying INEC as a pastime, they should have, as senior citizens of this country, canvassed vigorously for the extirpation of unhealthy mindsets of most Nigerians. It is therefore our hope that our pursuits of democratic ideals should not be constrained or marred by actions or utterances capable of inflaming passions and heating up the polity unnecessarily. ‘‘It is against this backdrop’’, it reads, ‘‘that we enjoin the personalities involved in this saga to realise that their exalted positions demand exemplary conduct as the present and future generations of Nigerians look up to them for inspirational leadership’’.
It is expected that INEC is back; this time with a crate of grudges that assumes a grand art of reprehensible grossness to mark her scripts and gave itself 80 percent credit as usual and bloodyfull everybody. Now it has summoned it strength and antics into battle. It would rather ensure that its critics are put in a crate, instead. Sadly, INEC has affected nonchalance rudeness that offends civic and contractual responsibility and guidance of an umpire desirous of operating a more transparent system in an acceptable way that will restores the peoples’ confidence in it. There is more to meet the eye than INEC going to town with its tedious contrivance that Oshiomhole, Buhari, David-West are heating up the polity for an ‘ulterior motive’.           
Let’s face it; Buhari and Oshiomhole were amongst many Nigerians who in 2007 were given false assurances by Iwu’s INEC that they should take free and fair election for granted; in spite of the obvious reality that INEC had programmed the election to fail. In the cause of 2007 election, INEC concocted several sloganeering from data capturing machine – many of the machines were captured by the late strong man of Ibadan politics – to electronic voting, and colluded with PDP thugs and bigwigs in Edo State to register to vote as many times as possible.    
Come to think of it; if Oshiomhole didn’t speak disapprovingly of INEC’s grandstanding in the face of malicious rigging perpetuated against the people of Edo State by INEC, which took the judiciary 18-month to undo, it means he has traded off his shared conviction of ‘‘let the people lead’’. If Oshiomhole at the risk of being labelled ‘unpatriotic’ by INEC fought and snatched his mandate from the jaw of the forces of darkness did not take a bow, it is unlikely that he will conceal the obvious truth of INEC partisanship just to look patriotic by playing the good man in the face of INEC.
It is as good as asking Prof. Iwu to commit factor suicide, given the particularities of the Nigeria political environment, the zero-sum-nature of our politics, and the ‘Nigerian factor’ of not taking responsibility for failure and throwing in the towel. It is even worst now that Federal Executive Council, FEC has tacitly endorsed the impunity of Iwu’s INEC by conceding the power to appoint the commission’s chairman to a seating president, who is also an interested party, as it were. That is far from the attitude of a nation on the electoral brick, determined to right itself from self-imposed electoral woes. If the presidency new all our electoral problems, new also they would tinkered with the outcome of the Electoral Reform Panel, ERP, why did it cause itself the embarrassment of altering the reports after several billion of naira have been sunk into the project?
But there is a snag from the Federal High Court, Abuja to Iwu on partisan matters: ‘‘Take note that unless you obey the directions and declaration contained in the order, you will be guilty of contempt of court and will be liable to be committed to prison’’. Depending on Iwu’s INEC to provide a partway to democratic stability is a pie in the flaming sky. A word is enough for the wise.  
Erasmus Ikhide is a Special
Assistant to Comrade Adams
Oshiomhole on Media.

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