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AMAC ELECTION PETITION: BETWEEN ISSUES, FRIVOLITIES AND TILTED MEDIA REPORTAGE

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As a matter of historical fact on elections in the Federal Capital Territory, the primary election of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party in November 2009, was adjudged the best ever in terms of thoroughness in screening of candidates vying for the Chairmanship position. About 15 aspirants in PDP went through the rigor of that exercise. Honourable Micah Jiba, on the other hand, went into the screening, flaunting a record of three [3] previous involvement. The question here is, how can a person who has been in government of AMAC for a record six [6] years, suddenly forge another certificate to contest an election into the same AMAC?

For the record, Micah was elected as a councilor in Abuja Municipal Area Council- AMAC in 1999. He submitted his credentials then as required by law. His certificate then was not an object of controversy. On account of good representation of his people in Garki-Village, he was rewarded with another endorsement to go back and continue in that capacity- councilor representing his ward. In a nutshell, Honourable Micah continued in office till 2006, when their tenure expired.

The point being made here is that no one can contest primary election of his party without going through the rigors of screening in its entirety- his certificate was examined just as his other claims as submitted were critically viewed and certified okay. With respect to the primary election of PDP, many of the contestants that took part in the exercise were natives of the Federal Capital Territory [FCT]. Being indigenes, they know the history of Honourable Micah too well that they could have exposed his academic insincerity if he had submitted fake certificate to the authorities responsible for the screening in the first place. Political mudslinging takes place before any primary election, the current press war between Presidential candidates in 2011 election, is a case in point here.

It will be recalled that the April 10, 2010 Area Council Election that brought Honourable Micah Jiba to office was generally seen as the best in FCT by observers. In-fact, many believed that INEC conduct of Anambra State governorship election on February 6, 2010 and that of April 10 2010, in FCT was generally excellent, little wonder that Nigerians started recommending the retention of Prof. Iwu against the widespread irregularities that characterized past elections. They believed Iwu redeemed his name that was badly shattered arising from 2007 general elections.

Watchers of political event were not surprised at the length which desperate lawyers could go in persuading a defeated politician to head to court in an attempt at claiming his mandate hence, the turn of events in the election petition tribunal in Jabi, Abuja. It is amusing to recount that immediately after elections; the embattled ANPP Chairmanship candidate congratulated Honourable Micah Jiba on his well deserved victory at the polls, adjudged to be the best in FCT Area Council Elections. It is even more amusing to state that Hon. Yamawo rubbished the spirit of sportsmanship he initially displayed and threw it to the dogs by heeding to the whims of desperate lawyers and Pull Him Down choristers. It is unfortunate that Yamawo resorted to blackmailous tendencies at the tribunal orchestrated by some smart lawyers, by insisting on the cancellation of the election based on self-perceived irregularities in Gwarinpa and Nyanya areas.

Sensing that his case in the tribunal was heading for the rock as there was no substance in it, the legal team probably went to the drawing board to fashion out how best they can remain afloat in the game of being significant in the scheme of things. The result is the latest insistence by the petitioner that the Chairman, Honourable Micah Jiba has certificate problem. They are on it now. The high point of the current legal tussle is the apparent recruitment of some particular local Newspapers in Abuja as their mouth-piece. For three weeks running, the papers have been reporting the tribunal proceedings in a manner that suggests bias. It is unbelievable that a reputable newspaper could carry a report in its cover without navigating the reader to the focal report inside the paper.

With these unpalatable reportage of event at the tribunal by a section of the press in FCT, it appears that well meaning Nigerians may not be willing to push for the passage of Freedom of Information [FoI] bill before the National Assembly. Now that the bill has not seen the light of the day, some commissioned Newspapers have made it a duty to embark on malicious stories to cast doubt on the integrity of people. The end result of these press shenanigans is permanent dent to the reputation of the press generally. The organ responsible for discipline in the industry should act fast.

Emeka Oraetoka an Information Management Consultant & Researcher wrote in from Garki. e-mail:[email protected]

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