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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Nigeria in the era of electoral fraud - focus on Imo North rerun


The Imo North Senatorial rerun election is anther national embarrassment on the part of the independent national electoral Commission INEC, the declaration of inconclusiveness spells doom for the 2019 presidential election, because it’s in the small that the ability to handle the big is determined. The new anthem which is inconclusiveness speaks volume about the inability of the INEC to conduct an election that is free from irregularities, inconsistency, and incompetence, the commission has lost its trust in the eye of many Nigerians.

The Independent National electoral commission was set up in the year 1998, to oversee all electoral related issues in Nigeria, the organization was developed to act independently, take full responsibility, make logical and reasonable decisions based on the situation on ground.
The INEC is suppose to be an organization that is free from any act that will undermine its integrity and the public confidence it has somehow gained in the 2015 general election. INEC is an organization that has a greater opportunity to act without listening to the wicked ideas of politicians or political parties. Favoritism, ethno-religious sentiment should be far from them.
Since the inception of this administration things have really fallen apart, INEC so far has been characterized with inconsistencies, intimidation and irresponsibility. The hope of the common man about our electoral system has been dashed because the credibility of elections conducted so far can not be trusted.
The present administration is nothing to write home about in terms of protecting the INEC and providing it with the necessary things it needs to conduct free and fair election in nigeria, series of fraud are being committed even in the polling unit.
The commission has totally lost its pride to politicians because of selfish interest, their sense of judgment has totally been compromised by our politicians, illegality is now the order of the day as far as INEC is concerned.
In every democratic society the vote of the people represent their choice, belief and candidate, this can only be achieved if everything is done within the context of the law unlike what we are experiencing today. The present administration is doing everything within its capacity to change the trend in the electoral system, by that I mean subjecting the INEC to dancing to the tune of the ruling party , because it's commonly said that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune” Many workers in the commission are doing everything within their capacity to remain in office, so they must strictly adhere to any order given to them whether good or bad.
The ruling party is supposed to be concerned about institutionalising democracy, integrity, public trust and credibility in the electoral process but rather they are truncating the democratic will of the people.
The former administration of president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan developed a framework upon which all election will be carried out, modalities were equally put in place which led to one of the most respected election in African till date but today the story is totally different. The electoral system has been polluted with corruption and irregularities.
In the words of (OKOLI 2016) “Nothing should come as a surprise to the people of Imo State, the caliphate have met and discovered that the people of imo state are gearing toward establishing a credible mandate that will challenge the existing authority in the state, the only way to truncate the process is to declare the Imo North Senatorial election inconclusive. But its equally imperative to let them know least they forget that the will of the people must definitely prevail, even if it does not happen now, it will definitely come to pass because destiny divinely established can not be changed, manipulated or disrupted, it can only be delayed but in the end must come through”.
The above quote by okoli clearly depicts what transpired in Imo state, the election was a total fraud aimed at making the opposition party lose. The people suffered series of electoral heart break because their mandate was stolen from them in broad daylight and their expectations were equally cut short by people with devilish intention in the state.
However, life has a way of paying us for every single action we indulge in whether good or bad; karma must definitely come to pass. It wouldn’t be right to pretend nothing happened in this rerun election.
Take for instance in the history of Imo state election there has never been a time when Obowo pulled more vote than Isiala Mbano but it was experienced in this election.
There were series of over voting in Okigwe which means INEC weren't in control of the situation which gave room for over voting, because in a normal setting before the commencement of election the total number of registered voters are counted, how come over voting was observed?
In okigwu zone there was massive protest against the rigging that was observed.; the protesters claimed that the whole process was manipulated to aid the APC candidate in winning the election.
At ugiri oka ward in isiala mbano (Araraume’s domain) people were being allowed to vote without PVC.
Some APC thugs were used to harass voters in isiala mbano while people were not allowed to record happenings by the security agents.
In umuduru Agwu APC thugs hijacked ballot boxes.
Desperate APC agent were paying N5000 to voters at the polling unit.
A house speaker went as far as hijacking ballot box and electoral materials around Okigwe.
It is a fact well known to every sound mind that the struggle for all this may not be unconnected with plan and statement by governor of imo state, Rochas Okorocha.
He said, “The position of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President is at the moment under heavy threat because in no distant time the APC senator in-waiting from Imo State, Benjamine Uwajumogu, will take over the seat on the grounds that it is an aberration that a PDP senator from the South-East is deputy to an APC Senate President because, before now, APC could not produce a senator from the South-East zone.
“Senator Ekweremadu had known that such a development was not only feasible but inevitable and that was why he fully funded the candidate of the PDP in the re-run senatorial poll in Okigwe zone and also relocated to the state three days to the election date.”
The worse thing that can ever happen to any organization, country or small group of people is to adopt a leadership that is built on lies, fraud, and deceit. For the Moment it might look very interesting but the long term implication is disastrous to generation unborn. The APC has never meant anything good for this country. INEC should step up and know that this is an era of democracy, put its house in order and do away with anything that is capable of making the public further resent them.
If things continue in this manner then I wonder what 2019 would look like but with the help of GOD justices shall prevail because it is written that justices delayed is not justice denied.

Piece written by Okoli Chinedu

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