Edo Guber Poll: INEC Breaking The Jinx Of Inconclusive Elections | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Edo Guber Poll: INEC Breaking The Jinx Of Inconclusive Elections

Posted: Oct 9, 2016 at 4:50 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
Mahmoud

Mahmoud

 

OUR CORRESPONDENTS – For the first time in the life of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the oversight of Prof Yakubu Mahmoud as the Chairman, conducted its first successful election in the recently held Edo governorship election. This feat was after the failures in Kogi State, Rivers and Bayelsa states.

But, the Edo feat did not come easy as the electoral agency had shifted the election by two weeks based on security alert of a possible breach of the peace.

 

A Daylight Robbery – Lawmaker

Engineer Otobong Ndem, member representing Mkpat Enin State constituency in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in his comment declared that the recently-concluded Edo gubernatorial election was daylight robbery of the wishes of the people.

Although he recongised the fact that this was the first ?conclusive outing of the Prof Mahmoud INEC, the lawmaker said the commission has, through the election, confirmed the perceived over-dependence on the federal government.

His words: “INEC is an independent body and should be independent in its conduct. For me, the ?concluded governorship election in Edo State was a daylight robbery of the wishes of the people and also an indication that INEC is not truly independent.”

He also blamed the securities agencies for allowing themselves to be used for purposes in conflict with the collective wishes of the people. He called on INEC to work towards ensuring that election results in future are devoid of any form of manipulations and are true basis for declaration of a winner, and that same should be published at the end of the election.

It Is A Non-Issue – Ajirin

Mr. Fregene Ajirin, Warri-based community leader and businessman stated that the fact that the the Prof. Mamoud-led INEC conducted its first conclusive gubernatorial election is nothing to be elated about or applauded because that is their statutory duty given all the logistic support at its disposal.

He said: “We should remember that the election is just for only one state and not the entire country. Think of the large number of various security and paramilitary personnel deployed for just one election to record this success.

“If it were conducted successfully across the country, then we would applaud the Prof. Mamoud–led INEC. But, it is not so. So, my clear assessment of INEC’s performance is that they have done their bit as expected by well-meaning Nigerians and nothing more.

“They should therefore build on the achievement in future elections with the hope that foreigners would not be invited to assist in the conduct, monitoring, collation and eventual announcement of results.”

Ajirin stated that both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tried to out-smart one another as in every political race. But, he stressed that the APC defeated the PDP in what he termed “the rigging business”.

He urged the opposition to let the sleeping dog lie, re-strategize and stage a vigorous come-back attempt in the next governorship election or go to the court to seek redress.

“But again, one must advise that it is high time our politicians imbibed the spirit of good sportsmanship by accepting defeat as was exhibited by former President Jonathan with all his human fallings.

“Of course, if it were the PDP that was declared winner, the APC would have cried foul also and perhaps heaven would have been let loose by now and the of Edo State set in turmoil with unwarranted killings and mayhem. So, on the average, INEC have tried its best and concluded one election in one fell swoop, he stated.”

The Feat Should be sustained – Shittu, Rights Activist

Comrade Amitolu Shittu, the National Coordinator, Committee for Democracy and Rights of the People (CDRP), commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over its first conclusive governorship election in Edo State, declaring that the feat should be sustained.

Shittu said that the feat was an indication that the current leadership of INEC has learnt some lessons from the innovations brought into the electoral processes by the former INEC boss, Professor Attahiru Jega.

The human right activist, who lamented the effects of having inconclusive elections by the nation’s electoral body, admonished that all innovations introduced by the former INEC boss must be sustained and not thrown into the dust bin, adding that the feat has moved the nation forward democratically.

He described the trend of inconclusive elections as expensive and a threat to the nation’s democracy, stressing that it is wastage and encourages corruption as well as loss of lives.

Shittu advocated that the popular Option A4 should be included the country’s electoral processes, saying that it’s a Nigeria’s local idea, design, innovation and a democratic process that is not foreign, even as he stressed that the innovation ought to be packaged as African Democracy that’s the best for the country.

According to him, “inconclusive election is expensive and threat to democracy, it is a waste of time, materials and resources. Even if we have the resources, it is not encouraging because it promotes corruption and loss of lives.

“This conclusive election that we had in Edo State is an indication that our electoral body has learnt from innovation introduced by Professor Attahiru Jega and all these innovations must be sustained and not thrown into the dust bin.”

 

INEC Has Not Arrived Yet – Politician

Chief Ohanyere Nndozie Johnson, former House of Representatives aspirant under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and a social commentator, maintained that the fact Edo governorship election was not declared inconclusive by INEC does not mean that the electoral body has got its act right.

According to the ex-Orsu council chairman and businessman, “remember that the election result is still enmeshed in controversy with the main opposition, the PDP, rejecting the result.

“INEC may have chosen to drop the nagging cancer of declaring election inconclusive because of scathing criticisms and outcry that have trailed such action in the past. Let us see how they will handle subsequent elections. To me, it is not yet Uhuru.”

 

‘The Entire Process For Edo Poll Was A Sham’

Emmanuel Ejiro, Minna-based businessman cum politician, said what transpired in Edo State was a sham.

“Even though I am from the state, if what I heard that both international and local observers were not allowed access to results collation and final computing point was true, then we have a problem on our hands, especially ahead of 2019 general elections, if they will be conducted by the current Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Prof. Mahmoud, because the entire process is a sham.

Ejiro said: “People initially believed that the man (Professor Mahmoud) is new to the job and needed time to settle down. But all that he does, particularly the recent Edo State governorship election, has confirmed fears by most Nigerians that we still have to look for a more credible hand to umpire the 2019 general elections.

“The governor of Niger State, Sani Bello, according to what I read in one of the national dailies, once said that those who chant the ‘Change’ slogan the loudest are not living up to the mantra and that, to my understanding, means that the ‘Change’ is by mere pronouncements, but not rooted in the lives of those chanting the slogan.

“That is exactly what I am saying about the man, Adams Oshiomhole now, but one good thing is that those who stood for him then to fight are the ones standing against him now to say, ‘Change the Change’.

“There is a great difference between election being successful and being credible. To me, the election was successful because there was an exercise believed to be that election took place, but very much lacked credibility and that is why the exercise is attracting more condemnation than commendations.

“So, I can conveniently say that this first conclusive governorship election in Edo State has further exposed the follies in the ruling party to win at all cost by indirectly making a mockery of themselves in this their slogan ‘Change Begins With Me’, because, they cannot justify what they are claiming or clamouring for and that, as far as I am concerned, is a very poor outing for the INEC chairman.”

 

Edo Election, The Best So Far – Iriase, Reps Deputy Whip

 

Hon. Pally Iriase (APC, Edo) the Deputy Whip of the House of Representatives, maintained that the just-concluded governorship election in Edo State, was the best so far conducted by INEC.

Iriase, who scored the electoral umpire high, said: “INEC was at its best. The election in Edo State on September 28, 2016 was perhaps the most peaceful since 1999. It was the most well conducted; it was free, fair and very credible. It is not because my party won that I am talking this way.

“What is more was that INEC was at its best. The card reader worked perfectly and they took no nonsense even when one vote could not be reconciled with the result and the accredited voters, they nullified irrespective of who was to benefit.

“You must agree with me that Edo state is one of the highest in terms of educational awareness when you scale Nigerian States. It was not hard for them to know that even when they give it to another party, that party cannot by itself turn anything around.

“For the first time since this administration came on board, we avoided the controversy of inconclusive election, an election in which margin of victory was 95 percent higher than the number of voided votes. So could anyone now come to say his party would have won if not for the voided votes?

“When INEC said it wanted to accredit civil society organisations to become observers during election, you know these days, you can lie a lot with the CSOs and NGOs. They put all kinds of groups before INEC and they found that a number of the groups were peopled by PDP members.”

 

INEC Deserves Commendation – Cleric

Rev Josephath Iwejuru, founder and General Overseer, Christ Is Our Lord Ministries Church, Owerri, on his own was happy that INEC did not declare the governorship election in Edo State inconclusive. This, he said, should be a credit to INEC “and I believe that the commission must have done its home work very well before conducting the polls.”

The cleric believed that Professor Mahmoud must have been worried by the people’s reactions to previous elections which were declared inconclusive. He commended the INEC boss for this feat, even though there were reported instances of electoral irregularities associated with the poll.

Rev Iwejuru stressed that human beings are not infallible and that both Prof Mahmoud and the INEC chairman cannot be an exception. But he urged Nigerians to continue to pray for the survival of the country.

Nze Mkemakolam Iwuji, an octogenarian and Second Republic legislator in the Old Imo State, also maintained that INEC deserves commendation in respect of the Edo State governorship election.

He said: “I commend Professor Mahmoud and his team for making a radical departure from the ugly past by not declaring the result of the poll inconclusive. This means that the commission has become much more sensitive to the reactions of the people who have vehemently castigated it for poor performance in the conduct of previous polls.”