It’s expected that whenever and wherever someone or an agency of government is saddles with a sole responsibility, they oath to be most responsive in a responsive manner without any fear, favor or being biased. The Nigerian electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an independent entity of government is saddled and responsible to oversee the peaceful, free, fair conducts of elections in the nation while subsequently declaring results without fear, favor or prejudice. It was in that line and canons that, the declaration of the APC’s Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the 2015 general elections by the same INEC and through its National Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega was a glaring example on how the electoral body is expected to act as a neutral body and the political parties and their candidates are expected to learn from President Jonathan’s example.
It’s therefore astonishing and alarming that, the same electoral body that was established to be independent and fair to all Nigerians without any inclination has since inception of this administration portraying itself as an agents of perpetuating an act of violations of its laid down rules of operations. Certainly, the prevalence of inclusive elections has been an order of the day and INEC has been suspected in many instances to be acting a script to favor individual candidate or a particular political party and that has contradict the expected conducts as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act and that has since begins to cast doubt on the credibility of the electoral body under the APC’s administration who were the products of unbiased and complete independency of the INEC.
In Rivers State, there was a re-run election on the 19th March 2016 where INEC through its State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Aniedi Ikoiwak officially announced the cancellation of the results in eight local governments that encompasses; Tai, Khana, Bonny, Gokana, Andoni, Eleme, Etche and Asaritoru respectively while sitting violence and electoral malpractices as the causes of their actions. But in a dramatic and surprising announcement via a Radio Program in Port Harcourt, the same body that cancelled the elections has recently said it’s going to accept and announce the results of Tai local government by the same electoral commissioner Mr. Aniedi Ikoiwak while this time around in self-contradicting manner sitting that, the law did not allow INEC to cancel election results that has been done at the polling unit. Therefore, the recent position of INEC has casted a doubt in the minds of not only the Rivers people but the entire Nigerians because the series of elections inclusiveness, postponements and cancellations has already battered the image of INEC and has portrayed them as an agents of conspiracy ,maneuvering and compromise.
There has been so many questions begging for answers from the INEC surrounding the their unholy statement on the declaration and acceptance of Tai local government election results after it has been cancelled; the same INEC said there was violence and malpractices which warrant the cancellation of the results but is INEC now deciding to use the result of malpractices against the wishes and aspiration of the Rivers people? Though INEC has sited law as their reason of using the hitherto cancelled Tai results but the question is that, there has been a court order restraining the same INEC from declaring the same results and now that they’ve decided to declare the results, which law are they obeying? Is INEC an Individual property or Independent government agency?
On June 29th, there has been an interlocutory injunction in suit: FHC/PH/CS/523/2016 restraining the defendant(INEC) from announcing any results or figures generated or compiled and purporting to be the result of the re-run election for any or all of Khana, Bonny, Gokana, Andoni, Eleme and Tai local government areas of Rivers State or any part of rerun elections that took place on the 19th March, 2016 which was subsequently postponed by the 1st and 2nd defendants (INEC and the state RECO, pending the determination of the motion on notice and if INEC is a law abiding institution and not acting a script of Abuja politicians that want to hijacked the mandate of the law abiding Rivers people, they have to follow a legitimate means to vacate the existing court order before desperately acting otherwise which could be detrimental to the peaceful coexistence and sustainable democracy not only in River but the entire country.
In Rivers State, since the emergence of Governor Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), there has been a glaring and explicit overbearing interest and power play from the All Progressive Party (APC) and their cohorts in Abuja domiciled in the Villa. In an unfortunate display of conspiracy and compromise, the elections tribunal hearing the case between Wike and Peterside was transferred from Rivers to Abuja, though the mandate of River peoples was further justified by the decision of the court, Rivers State Government House and the stadium was blocked by a heavily armed policemen and military official in a bid to truncate the proposed PDP national convention in the state. While, the security operatives that was in Rivers to frustrates the PDP, could have been deployed to Edo State where the same INEC has denied people their right to votes on a claim of lack of security.
Rivers State under the purposeful administration of Governor Nyesom Wike has become a hub of infrastructural development cum a safest state where people feel secured and many organizations and professional bodies has been choosing the state as the desirous and most peaceful venue for one events or the other. The Nigerian Guild of Editors, nonpartisan and strong advocates of good governance and sustainable democracy were recently hosted in Rivers State for the 12th edition of the All Nigerian Editors Conference where the President Mrs. Funke Egbemode praised governor Wike for working to revive the state through execution of quality projects. Equally, the Nigerian Bar Association NBA was also in Rivers state during their 56th Annual General Conference where they commended governor Wike for his massive developmental projects within a short period of time. Therefore, with all these and many others in the pipeline of his developmental plan, there’s no room for APC’s political gimmicks and deceits and if ballot boxes would be brought to the people of Rivers State for million times, they will continue votes for reality and shame the political defrauders while the Judiciary and INEC must remained independent in their dealings. The acceptance of Tai results could amount to election fraud which the PDP will fight through all the legitimate windows to a logical end.
– Kera wrote in from Abuja