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As We Prepare For A Rerun In Imo State!

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Why should the election in Imo state be stalemated? Why should there be a rerun in some local government areas in Imo state when about 79,386 voters were equally disenfranchised in Nasarawa state during the presidential pools,affecting about 32 polling units? Was it because in Nasarawa state, PDP was leading in the presidential polls hence having a rerun for the 79,386 affected voters in the 32 polling units might turn the tide against PDP presidential candidate knowing very well that Nasarawa state was the only state where Buhari's CPC won the gubernatorial seat in 2011.

In view of this, having seen that Nasarawa was a fertile ground for Buhari coupled with the fact that CPC was one of the major parties that formed APC ,it was not unexpected for Buhari to win in the state with a very wide margin as he did in many northern states. The organisers of the election in the state were aware that should they allow the 79,386 voters in the affected 32 polling units to cast their votes during a rerun ,Buhari would comfortably win the incumbent president hence there was an urgent need to apply that controversial section of the electoral law which ensured that the 79,386 voters were 'judiciously' disenfranchised .

Now, Let us critically analyse the difference between the winner(PDP) and the first runner-up (APC) of the presidential election in Nasarawa state. PDP scored 273,460 votes while APC garnered 236,838 votes,the difference being 36,622. Now,compare this 36,622 margin of win with that of the 79,386 voters who were disenfranchised ,was it not clear that the 79,386 affected voters would have determined the actual winner in that presidential election in the state had the electoral umpires in Nasarawa state applied the current Imo state formula? However, since PDP was already winning in the state ,they allowed the sleeping dog lie. The pathetic aspect of the Imo state story is that the much-taunted 144,715 affected voters necessitating this rerun, were not the number of accredited voters whose votes were cancelled for one reason or the other but the figure represents the number of registered voters in the affected area,which we know that some of them might have relocated,died or will still refuse to come out to vote on the day for the rerun.

Coming to Imo state, exactly what happened in Nasarawa state during the presidential election repeated itself in the gubernatorial election. However ,since APC was leading ,the electoral umpires now remembered that the number of votes in the cancelled polling units was greater than the difference between the two leading political parties,APC and PDP hence the election was stalemated and a rerun fixed. Believe you me,this senseless rerun was because PDP wants to take over the state by all means. Before declaring the governorship election inconclusive in Imo state ,APC was leading with a margin 79,529 ,APC got 385,671 while PDP got 306,142. It was at that point that the organisers of the election remembered that the number (144,715) of disenfranchised voters was more than the margin of win but they ignored the same fact in Nasarawa state.

Yes in the presidential election ,many people may consider one state like Nasarawa state out of the 36 states and FCT as being too infinitesimal in determining the winner of the presidential election but the truth remains that for a presidential candidate to fulfil the simple majority of Yes votes over No votes as it is enshrined in S.133(a) of our constitution ,every single vote is vitally important . This is because had the south eastern states given the large votes they gave to Jonathan in 2011 ,the 2 million margin of win between the president-elect and the outgoing president would have been rendered nugatory. Although Jonathan won in all the states in the south east,but the margins of win were not as large as what we had in 2011,mainly due to the reduction of the number of registered and accredited voters during the 2015 general elections. All I am saying is that every single vote was important in last keenly-contested presidential election .

The electoral umpires in Imo state are now telling us that what was good for the goose( in Nasarawa state presidential election ) is now not good for the gander( in Imo state governorship election). But wait a minute,who even told PDP that they would win Imo state this time? Rochas Okorocha has won the hearts of the Imo state youths along with that of their parents. How did he perform the magic ? He simply gave free education to all residents of the state from the cradle up to the tertiary school level,even residents that are not natives are covered in the free education programme . That is really incredible. My cousin reliably informed me that since she got admission in Imo state university,Owerri ,she has not paid a dime and this is her penultimate year. Do you think that the parents of these kids that have been relieved of their 'painful' financial parental roles by Rochas Okorocha-led administration, will ever allow Rochas Okorocha to leave just like that?

Our leaders have failed to understand that the secret of winning an election in any credible election is not by sharing billions or trillions of naira among party faithful for them to deliver their polling booths . The secret involves capturing the hearts of the youths who will then convince their parents. When parents see their children gainfully benefitting from a government,do you think the parents will let go the government? Now, Consider for an instance,after the tragic incident of last year's Immigration interview where some unemployed youths lost their lives and those that survived were not placated .The administration of our outgoing president never deemed it necessary to give unconditional employments to the remaining unemployed youths that applied for the job ,possibly across all federal government establishments,rather the outgoing president went ahead to give the minister of interior a national award,possibly for a job well done. Do you think these youths and their parents would re-elect the same government?

Well,I do not blame the outgoing president because his advisers reliably and confidently assured him of the presence of the game changers and the election fixers still in the ruling party hence these unemployed youths that applied for the immigration job last year were left to leak their wounds whereas their counterparts in NYSC serving and suffering for their fatherland were being paid paltry sum of N19,000 per month by the same government when billions of naira are being squandered daily by those in the corridors of power. However, Governor Rochas Okorocha as a political juggernaut made a right decision on time by bringing the Imo state youths to his own side. When a governor has won the hearts of the youths ,do you not think that their parents will follow suit?

I am still a pdp supporter but the truth must be told .I do not think there is any vacancy in Imo state government house for now. Is PDP trying to take over to do what? Reintroduce tuition and other fees in schools across the state? Unless they want to come and continue their usual way of announcing billions of naira that have been released to small and medium scale business enterprises,but when one goes there nothing will be found. Loans are given to farmers on the pages of newspapers and on our television stations when real farmers are borrowing money from individual money lenders at high interest rates. Do they want to tell us about Youwin which I have neither seen nor heard anybody I know that won it. Yes,Okorocha may not have performed well in all sectors of the economy,the same way no government in the world can be so perfect to have performed creditably well in all sectors of the economy ,but the truth remains that Okorocha ,for now,is the people's choice and the best choice for not only the people of Imo state but also all Igbos in the south east. At least the only two APC National Assembly members-elect of Igbo extraction are all from his state and from a party he is the leader at the state level .

Besides ,Igbos are still leaking their 'political' wounds for not have elected any National Assembly member under APC from the geopolitical region,save the two Federal House of Representatives members from Imo state. Igbos will definitely pay for that political mistake by not getting any of the offices of the senate president or speaker of the House Representatives in the incoming government . I encourage the incoming APC federal government to share the elective and appointive positions according to each zone's contribution in the just concluded presidential election because even the holy book says that you reap what you sow. Also, should all the manipulations going on in Imo state now see the light of the day and Okorocha is 'rigged' out, it means that all the states in the south east are now in opposition to the incoming central government and that political mistake will be the last struck that will break the Carmel's back.

As we prepare for the rerun election in Imo state,let us see whether the Igbos have learnt from their recent mistakes of sheepishly following the outgoing PDP federal government. A word,they say,is enough for the wise!

Dr Paul John
Port Harcourt,
Rivers state.
[email protected]

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Paul John and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Paul John