As PDP whips INEC, Iwu – by Sam Egburonu [National Daily]

No Comments » January 27th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Electoral Reform Project



 

NATIONAL DAILY

 

As PDP whips INEC, Iwu

 

 Voices with Sam Egburonu

  THESE are instructive days for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and its core operatives, especially the National Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu.

I say so because the Iwu-led electoral body appears to have been abandoned by all, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which many of us thought should be grateful to it.

If you remember very well, many of us accused INEC of rigging the April 2007 General Election in favour of the ruling party. President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua helped to factualise our allegations when he publicly admitted, at the dawn of his administration, that the election that brought him to power was faulty.

Since INEC concluded the April general elections and announced the controversial results, I have watched with pity and concern, the way both INEC and Prof. Iwu’s estimation, in the eyes of the people, appears to have been lowered. I said so because I have taken time to compare the degree of respect Nigerians accorded the INEC chairman before the elections and the careless and even disrespectful way most of them address him and his commission today.

As a Nigerian, who holds Iwu in very high esteem, at least because of his erudition, I feel especially pained because I can say that if he was truly used, as some critics claim, he is certainly not the first rare gem from this part of the world that has been so unfeelingly rubbished by unprincipled politicians.

Even casual observers of the polity can count on their finger tips the numbers of internationally acknowledged scholars that have been taken for a ride by politicians in Nigeria.
Since it is not new in this clime, I would not have bothered to lament over the development in prints, if not that the same PDP, for who we have been crucifying Iwu and INEC, has come out to deny them.

Reiterating the controversial claim that it won the April 2007 general elections and attributing its electoral triumphs to hard work, extensive nation-wide campaigns and the track records of its governors, PDP, last week, defended itself again, against allegations of electoral manipulation in the April elections.

If the “great” party had stopped there, I would not have bothered you today. But it went ahead to accuse INEC of incompetence and therefore blamed the commission for the entire mess in the political scene, pointing out that the commission failed the nation in the 2007 elections.

PDP, which clinched 27 out of the 36 states of the federation, leaving its closest rival, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) with a distant five, said INEC was to be blamed for all the disputed polls.
Lady Ime Udom, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, who was quoted as the voice through which the verbal ‘bombshell’ was released, denied speculations that Iwu was subjected to undue pressure during the elections, and insisted that even if such a move was made, “Iwu had a choice of resigning his appointment on principle.”

She was quoted as saying, “You talk of lapses of the April polls, but I think that is a question that INEC and Iwu should be answering and not PDP. The PDP, like any other party, went to the field to contest and to win.

“As you know, nobody contests to lose. If INEC had done its job properly, then we will definitely not have had the problem that we are having today.

“If you go to the tribunals, most of what you will be hearing is that INEC did this and INEC did that; not the PDP.

“Whether they like to hear that or not, it is INEC that has a case to answer. If the parties misbehaved, INEC should have stepped in, after all that was what they were set up to do.
“They were supposed to be the policemen, so to say, the arbiters, they were supposed to be the ones telling parties: do not do it this way or do it that way.

“If they did not do it, then they have really, really messed up. Therefore, nobody should turn round to quarrel with or blame any political party. What was INEC doing? They are being paid, and the nation sunk in so much money into INEC.”

Coming from PDP to INEC and to Iwu, I just feel the professor, her lieutenants in INEC and the rest of us, especially fellow egg heads, should learn big lessons from this development.

If you understand me, we should no longer allow ourselves to be used because we are sure to be dumped by unfeeling and unprincipled political leaders. To me, they are not worth the trouble.

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