Thursday, March 25, 2010
INEC'S MAURICE IWU IS NOT THE PROBLEM, A SCREWED UP POLITY IS?
Icheoku wish to align itself with the position of the Alliance for Defence of Democracy that the chairman of Nigeria's Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, should not be sacked, but should be given a second term! The INEC chairman is not the problem to past Nigerian elections malfeasance; glorified elections which appropriately should be referred as selections and impositions; elections which were messed-up and marred by gross irregularities; elections which were hijacked by Olusegun Obasanjo who literally and single handily, cherry-picked only his chosen ones for various offices in the land? From the presidency, through the National Assembly to governors as well as local government chairman and membership, Obasanjo made sure that only his approved and certified candidate got in? But regrettably, the widely known very short-memory of Nigerians, have made them to transfer their anger at the chairman of INEC instead of the real culprit, the then President Olusegun Obasanjo who should be held responsible and harpooned for the tragedy that he caused within the Nigerian polity? A chairman who smartly played possum, tagged along with a scripted instruction of a mad Otta farmer called Obasanjo, who did not want to leave the comfort of Aso Rock any more and was looking for any reason or excuse to scuttle the transition to another president? Now these professional protesters and hired guns/underlings seem to have forgotten too soon, hence their misplaced agitation on the chairman? First, Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to elongate his term of office to a third term; when he was stopped, he prevented any real elections from taking place and single-handily selected and imposed his 'people' on every office in the land, leading to a detestable party like the PDP winning a re-election with over 67% of the total votes cast? And you ask yourself who cast these ballots and where were they cast? The purport of this comment is not to strong-arm the Acting President on giving Maurice Iwu a second term in office; no, rather it is to re-echo what many unbiased minds have broached over the period that he, Maurice Iwu is not the problem nor did he cause the political anomie in the country? In 2007, he had only one objective, - lay prostrate if need be in order to wrestle power out of Olusegun Obasanjo's death-grip; and he succeeded. It was one of the rare occasion where the end justified the means; as Obasanjo became a once was president of Nigeria while the duo of Yar'Adua-Goodluck were sworn in; the rest is now history. Experience is the key and is valued highly in other well-behaved societies and Iwu's experience of the last ten years at INEC should not just be thrown away or sacrificed on the alter of a 'plebianistic' agitation to sack Iwu. Nigeria should take a time out and do some introspection on their priorities and the means of getting there. It is equally important to point out that this agitation to remove Iwu is loudest and coming from just one particular section of the country, a section which went into a sleep-mode while their kinsman Olusegun Obasanjo ravaged and pillaged Nigeria? Suddenly now they have awoken to pretend being the soul and conscience as well as the vanguard of the nation, protesting all manners of things from the mundane to the absurd? According to their oath of kindred, whoever and whatever is occupying any office in Nigeria who does not have their like-sounding last name must be brought down; hence their people can do no wrong, the reason they have not protested a former governor in their region who is so envious of the achievement/performance of his successor that he is now trying to effect his impeachment? Our position is that Nigerians would be better off, if they can exploit Professor Iwu's garnered experiences of the past ten years; and task him with redeeming himself during the next 2011 elections. And if the outcome of the last elections in Ekiti, Edo and Anambra States is anything to go by, then Icheoku welcomes an extension of the term of office of the INEC chairman Maurice Iwu, as he has tasted the water and knows what to do with those desperate thuggish politicians in Nigeria - the Anambra State experiment being very instructive here? From the message sent by these three mentioned elections, that money or notoriety is no longer enough to steal elections; Icheoku agrees that it is possible that these 'Iwu must go' agitators are merely doing so, based on ulterior motive and not love of country in order to get out of the way, a man who has made up his mind to redeem his image by standing firmly in the way of election terrorist-hijackers? Who would it be told that a Tony Anenih backed Chukwuma Soludo with all his billions could lose an election in Anambra State; or that a Tony Anenih's own candidate in one of the local governments elections in Edo State could lose an election? It all shows that Iwu has found his backbone, have firmed up and possibly made some resolution to do better for and by Nigerians; and should be allowed to proved that. Moreover there is practically too little a time now left for a fresh captain to mount the ship of INEC with all the curve-balls, logistics involved with an election in less than 10 months? But at last, no one is indispensable; but the authorities in Nigeria should seriously consider the quick turnovers of such offices in a bid to allow experienced personnel who have learned on the job to be allowed to draw from such experiences in their future assignments. Therefore, Icheoku reiterates that INEC's chairman Professor Maurice Iwu should be given a second term when his current term expires in June 2010; with a mandate to give Nigerians an election to be proud of in 2011 elections; and hopefully redeem his image in the process. The time is rather too short now for a change of guards; while Nigeria should also consider the issue of decentralisation of the election body so that States bodies can conduct elections instead! But Acting President Jonathan Goodluck knows best what he wants to have happen with the leadership of the INEC; but Icheoku asks that he factors in these issues raised here, when weighing his final options and making up his mind on whether or not Professor Maurice Iwu should be replaced; the short time interval to the next 2011 elections given adequate consideration.