Time to sanitize INEC, Cross River State office | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Time to sanitize INEC, Cross River State office

Posted: Apr 6, 2015 at 12:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Albert Estein said “evil men will rule the world if the few good ones continue to remain silent”. This statement of fact without equivocation is apt in the description of the bizarre and sham election conducted last Saturday, March 28, 2015 in Cross River State and supervised by Dr. Okey Ezeani, the Resident Electoral commissioner who has since he resumed, assured Cross Riverians of the neutrality of INEC.

Whilst many Cross Riverians, as expected, are rejoicing with other Nigerians for the clear victory of the resilience and dogged crusader of corruption free Nigeria, president-elect, Mohammadu Buhari, others are down-casted due to the glaring mismanagement of the electoral process during the last March 28 elections.

It is on record and indeed in the minds of well meaning Cross Riverians, that before the forthright Barr. Mike Igini was posted to head INEC; Cross River State, INEC in the state was suffering from lack of public confidence. The people did not believe, trust and had no confidence in INEC. The situation was so bad that even genuine results were never believed, in so far as such result was coming from INEC. Elections in the field were usually marked with fake, scanned or photocopy result sheets given to INEC ad hoc staff whilst the originals were exclusively left with the PDP as collaborators. Similarly, INEC then degenerated to the point that election results were filled and recorded in Government House before falsely announced at the collation centre, the situation was as bad as that.

However, Cross Riverians had respite and relieve when the forthright Barr. Mile Igini came on board the INEC leadership as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), he brought back integrity and restored confidence in electoral process. NEC was no longer seen as PDP agent in election rigging. Though he related with the State Government; he still maintained dignified independence, hence Imoke’s PDP antics to transfer Igini out of Calabar. Despite the blackmail, the proud and dignified Igini stoutly refused to surrender the electoral process to Imoke.

As if the above was not enough, Igini one hand checkmated some of the known political agents and the commercial staff some of whom are heads of departments in INEC. No wonder the news about his transfer to Edo State was received with mixed feelings by Cross Riverians who thought the era of transparency in the electoral body was over in the State. But the habitual known INEC commercialists jubilated with glowing faces and broad smiles to do business as usual.

It is now an admitted fact that the first electoral assignment, supervised by the new Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Sylvester Ezeani as to the 28 March election was a monumental disaster already predicted by many whom, before now, doubted his capacity to conduct a free and fair election in Cross River State.

With this monumental mismanagement and apparent compromise by INEC, the question is, should Cross Riverians still have hope and confidence on INEC that the April 11 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections will not be compromised again by INEC under Ezeani? Assuming for purposes of argument that, Dr. Okey Ezeani is innocent of the existence of well known compromised INEC staff working with him, then he should spend time studying the staff working under him like his predecessor Advocate Mike Igini did to gain back INEC lost glory.

Before Prof. Jega concludes his assignment for the nation, it is desirous that he promptly caution INEC leadership to be more transparent with a further commitment extracted from Dr. Ezeani, otherwise he should promptly re-assign him, one Mr. Okereke and other staff. This he needs do with dispatch or bring back Mike Igini to show the required example.

Chief Barr. Utum Eteng, public affairs analyst, Calabar