If we follow what the so call NGOs, media and labour unions are saying you will believe that Morris Iwu single-handedly conducted election in Nigeria and he alone decide who got elected in the country. Election in Nigeria is massive due to the land mass and the population. It is very difficult and by activities of the politicians, it is almost impossible. There is also people's attitude; they are disillusion with political class and down right nonchalant attitude to the process of democracy. Most people, including the so called experts or journalist do not understand working process of INEC.
While is ok to blame its chairman for everything that went on an election day, the outcome of an election in each constituency is determined by the local INEC official or the state‘s commissioner. The central office deal with ordinance and planning during an election. Those who know, know who to bribe to swing election in their way. The chairman of INEC himself, do not run the organisation daily but it’s secretary does and he does not appoint him nor can he fired him.
Often, most Nigerians failed to grasp issue at stake in any political issue or event. Nepotism and ethnicity are always used as a barometer for their logical thinking or loyalty. The sickness of Yar'adua in power explained this much when the sick president apparently returned to the country in air ambulance and it was done in such a funny way that nobody was able to see him, yet some people in Katsina, his home State were jubilating. The question is why? What has he done to improve Katsina when he was a governor for 8yrs and when he was active president for 3yrs. What is the joy there for people of Katsina for the returned of sick and incapacitated president?
Another example was appointment of Oshimole by court through the electoral dispute. In arriving at this judgement, the tribunal based its decision on what it dimed lawful votes casted in mostly Oshimole strongholds. According to them, the unlawful votes, due to rigging, were from the elected governor strongholds. What was fundamental here was that in disregarding votes casted, they disregard 2/3 of the vote for governorship. You do not have to be a good mathematician to work out that is not safe to declare someone a governor. What should have happen was to call for re-election.
Despite that, people came out jubilating, not minding the fact that their right to elect their own governor have been stamped on. It does not matter if someone is popular or charismatic; he must still under goes democracy process and majority rule principle to be elected. This was repeated in two other governorship elections by the judiciary.
Our media too are corrupt. The worse part of our media is that they are mostly owned by corrupt politicians. Half of the print media are owned by ex-governors. The Sun is owned by Kalu with allegation of using his state allocated money to set it up. Tinubu owned one, so as Ibori, Atiku and Odilli. Newspaper like Punch and others are patronised by these corrupt politicians, hence, they are influenced by them. AIT is in romance with them as well; its chairman is well known to have personal or business relationship with corrupt politicians like Atiku, Tinubu and Babaginda.
If you watch AIT political program you find that their top topics always linked to Obasanjo. In AIT, every problem in Nigeria is rooted to Obasanjo. How can we have good attitude and information with a media house like that. During re-run election by INEC, AIT took its cameras everywhere and see election taking place then turn around with people claiming there was no election.
The key to conducting election in Nigeria does not lie with Uwais’ report but revenue allocation and taxation. Uwais report is inadequate and fall short ensuring good election in Nigeria. It is unfortunate that all the NGOs are demanding full implementation of report that can not provide us any solution.
The crucial point missed by the Uwais’ panel is the electoral tribunal. The appeal process is very important in election. This is more so in Nigeria where politicians are so determined to rig election. The panel, I think from the fact that the chairman is a former chief judge, failed to address issues pertaining to electoral tribunal and court.
Our court and tribunal conducts in the electoral process have been worse than any accusation you can level against INEC. They have appointed a governor that was not on ballot paper. They had cancelled 2/3 of vote casted and made governors out of minority votes. That happened in two states. They have illegally extended governor’s tenure, in the same instant, disregard people free election. They had allowed carpet crossing to favour a politician and so on.
Who can then say the court or tribunal had made a positive impact in our democracy. If we follow what Agagu (former governor of Ondo state) said, saying that the tribunal cancelled all votes in all his strongholds claiming they were rigged and held all the votes in the strongest opposition strongholds putting it to be lawful votes and then declared the main opponent the governor. He said that he went to Appeal court hoping that they will be reasonable but he was shocked.
Common sense we tell us that if for argument sake an election was rigged in certain area but of significant amount, the best the tribunal can do is to call for new election in these areas. In fact, we should enshrine this in constitution that the tribunal should only consider if an election is safe or not, if it is not safe, let have new election otherwise, let the verdict stay.
What is crucial in our election is getting people involved. We must make people care and the only way to do this is by through taxation. Currently, the revenue allocation is irrelevant to the people. If you follow British politics and economics, people are listening well to politicians because one party is saying it will increase tax and another is saying he will sack people to manage debt. The people know that getting the wrong people in the place means they will pay for it in many ways. Take London mayor as an example, the new mayor had increased bus pass by 20% in his first year, this is something his predecessor had maintained for five years at the same price with no increase.
In Nigeria, taxation is irrelevant as only salaried workers paid income tax. It is even worse as the big time government contractors do not pay tax. All they do is have tax declaration that they do not make profit year in year out. The worse part of it is that the states do not have to do anything about their revenue. No matter what happen in a state or local government, they always get money from federation account. That one reason why you have sharia laws in the north and southern states doubling their LGs.
To make it worse, the state governors and LG chairmen are not accountable. They all sit like demigod and sitting on a pile of money. They basically distribute money to all concerns. Thus, when you are in these positions, everybody do your bidding. This is the major reason why everybody wants to be governor and LG chairman. It worse at the presidency, Turai antics enforce this, hold on to presidency even if your husband is dead!
We need to make people care about election, this can done by making sure people support the government they voted for by taxation. It is only through this that people will care about making their vote count.
Right now, Iwu has left INEC and the media had spinned this to be sacking. His termed expired in June and in government practice in Nigeria, you go on terminal leave months before disengagement. It is not sacking and Iwu had not public said he is seeking second term. Traditionally, most electoral body chairmen in Nigeria never had a second term as they are often blamed for everything. Iwu remain Nigeria best electoral chairman by his commitment and changes he brought to the system. Nigerians never appreciate people that work tirelessly for them; it is the smart rogues and dodgy characters they like to praise.
Obasanjo is a good example, and they wonder why UN is willing to use him and all world political leaders like to talk to him. Iwu had done a lot; all bad things that happen in 2007 election were beyond his control. He had travel across the country enlighten people about election despite the hostile media. He had done a lot to improve the situation, voters’ education, voter’s registration, enlighten and stand up against foreign intrusion or influence.
It was never fair to blame Nigeria electoral problem on INEC or Iwu, our people are just gullible. In last Anambra election, some people went to burn down INEC office to destroy the voters’ registers; it was Iwu that got blamed when this affected the voting. People hired thugs to disturbed election in Adamawa state, they were arrested by the police shown by AIT, yet, the same AIT blamed Iwu for ballot boxes snatching. Some people like Atiku, through whose own action scrupled his precedential ambition, blamed Iwu personally for his loss. Atiku disregard the fact that he got 2 million votes out of total 24million.
Tinubu, who wanted to be Are of Yorubaland and he had perfected ways of bribing electoral tribunals, blamed Iwu for not achieving personal goals of having his protégé as governors of Yoruba states. The list goes on and on.
For us Nigeria, we must start getting our head out of the sand and face our responsibility. The reality of the matter is our politicians are corrupt and are determined to rig election to impose their will on us. To stop them, we must actively find people, vote for them and ensure they were not rigged out and the court does not invalidate their elections. Iwu and INEC are never our problem or Uwais’ report a bible to successful election.
The only person that tells us the truth is Obasanjo and that is why we do not like him as we refuse to look at ourselves in the mirror. We are a corrupt society and the politicians and police are good reflection of the society that we have.
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