MY APOLOGIES TO IWU, GUOBADIA
After the 2003 elections hugely manipulated by INEC with of course, endorsement from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I came hard on Guobadia, who until his INEC appointment had not been associated with failure in any way. But the Edo-born knight failed not only himself, but also his friends and confidants across the nation.
Then came Iwu, a renowned scientist and activist right from his days at the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, and lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka . Iwu's pedigree was intimidating especially his exploits in the field of Tropical Medical Science research. I had thought that his appointment would end our monstrous history of electoral failure, but what did we get? Same old story of contentious results, electoral violence and institutional failure at INEC.
Shortly after the 2007 polls, a rash of litigations broke out from every corner including candidates who obviously would never have won the freest and fairest election in their family. Many election verdicts were upturned by the courts and tribunals. Though by benefit of hindsight, it is obvious today that some of those judgements from the judiciary were influenced by the power of raw cash. The judiciary is yet to pull out from the dirty waters it allowed itself to be plunged by politicians.
As always, we called for Iwu's head. I was in the front row of Iwu's most vicious critics and was hugely relieved when President Goodluck Jonathan refused to return him for a second tenure in office. His exit paved the way for Prof Attahiru Jega, another activist from the academia and a member of the Uwais Committee which recommended that the next INEC chairman shall be appointed by the National Judicial Commission, NJC.
It was a surprise to most Nigerians when Jega accepted to serve in the same office he was a part of the committee that recommended that its occupant would not be appointed by the president but by the NJC. It was a minus to his much-touted virtue of being a principled man to accept the INEC job. But we needed a man to help bring sanity to our electoral madness and Jega was thought to be that man.
But the event of last weekend, a national disgrace by every standard, has got me puking. Neither Guobadia nor Iwu got the kind of support that Jega got from the President and from Nigerians yet, the same showed gross incompetence when it mattered most.
Jega got over N89 billion, shut down schools for weeks, got the National Assembly to amend both the Constitution and Electoral Act for as many times but at the end he buckled at the most crucial moment. But I will not join those asking him to resign. We should stand by him to complete this process even if it has turned out to be the most expensive election in the nation's history. But Jega should tell Nigerians why he deceived them to file out on Saturday.
The previous day to that fateful Saturday Jega was on television sounding off that INEC was ready. It is a shame that the chief executive of an organisation had to rely on the information and promise of a vendor (contractor) to deceive the nation. But wait a minute, is there something within INEC that makes otherwise competent people look incompetent once they get there? This should be food for thought for Nigerians, but meantime my apologies to Iwu and Guobadia for even trying against the spell of the evil electoral forces that have kept the nation bungling every election year. As for Jega, it is obvious that the ordinary Nigerian has lost confidence in him and this will obviously vitiate the outcome of the elections.