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UNDUE ATTACK ON INEC

By NBF News

Undue attack on INEC
By CHIAYO OGBUEWU
Friday, March 12, 2010


For those who may have forgotten, the parable of four fingers says that when you point a finger at another fellow, the rest four fingers point back at you. The lessons from this are myriad, but one of them is that we are often times guiltier than the people we accuse.

It is like a monologue -the more the personae talks about the object of his derision or hate, the more he exposes his/her character weaknesses. 'My Last Duchess' by Robert Browning is a typical example. In Nigeria, it is often said that one cannot peep without having his head exposed. He who bends to poke-eye another man's anus also exposes his anus. So it is with Senator Ken Nnamani.

What irritates one is that some one who benefited from political windfalls such as the one Obasanjo's ill-advised Third Term bid bestowed on Ken would hardly thank their luck gratuitously and humbly and then walk home. They keep gathering pompous airs until they implode. But that is not my business. Even if he expropriates the glories of people like Senator Ben Obi, Senator Dansadau, late Senators Machiddo and Yari Gandi, let's leave him to his conscience.

Recently at the One Year Anniversary of Governor Mimiko of Ondo State, Nnamani called for the sack of the INEC Chairman, for the umpteenth time. He also said 'Unless there is a substantial change in INEC, we have no reason to expect any change in the outcome of the 2011 elections'. Sometimes, Nnamani talks as though he dropped from the moon or even heaven. Let's even look at how saintly, free and fair the elections that brought him to the National Assembly as well as other elections were in 2003. As at then, Prof. Iwu was not the INEC Chairman.

First, the emergence of Nnamani as a party candidate was undemocratic. Governor Chimaroke Nnamani simply raised his hands and that was it. He was a product of imposition and lack of internal party democracy. Ken Nnamani cannot provide evidence of any party primaries for National Assembly aspirants (of which he was one) in Enugu in 2003. Yet when he talks about lack of internal democracy in the PDP, people would think all of Enugu queued to nominate him as PDP flag bearer. Secondly and maybe more importantly, was the actual election.

The EU Election Observation Mission's report on that election issued on the 22nd of April, 2003 tells it better. It reads in part: 'EU EOM observers witnessed and obtained evidence of widespread election fraud in certain States. Many instances of ballot box stuffing, changing of results and other serious irregularities were observed in Cross River, Delta, Enugu (Nnamani's State), Kaduna, Imo and Rivers. The elections in these States lack credibility'. Throughout the report, Enugu constantly featured as a case in point on electoral violence, thuggery, ballot snatching and stuffing, discrepancies in number of registered voters and returned result.

So, if activists code-named 2003 general poll a 4-1-9 election, we can understand why, and if people like Dr. Patrick Ukachukwu alleged as he did in Leadership of 19th January, 2009 that Ken Nnamani's Senatorial election result (as those of Obasanjo and other PDP National Assembly candidates in 2003) was manufactured in the house of a PDP stalwart in Nkanu West of Enugu State (See http://allafrica.com/stories/200901191084.html), we are compelled to put one and one together and reach reasonable conclusions! Yet it didn't stop Nnamani from savouring the sumptuous dinner and tunes at PDP 'victory' dinner party in Abuja after the 2003 elections.

I believe INEC needs to improve but not the type canvassed by Nnamani and his cohorts. And with Anambra election, it is obvious they are improving. Unnecessary and personalised emphasis on and castigation of  INEC or its leadership since 2007 is all too narrow-minded and suspicious. If OBJ did not keep his pact with Nnamani Go why should Iwu pay with his head? Besides, INEC is only but one stakeholder among so many others. Iwu too is just one man out of over 140 million Nigerians. And the recent success recorded in Anambra (which leaves one puzzled over the real interest of the renewed campaign against Iwu), clearly shows that even if we bring an INEC from Mars, it may never be able to deliver a fair and credible election if the politicians, security agencies, etc do not first allow elections to be free.

Elder Chiayo Ogbuewu contributed this piece from Abakaliki, Ebonyi State.