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Friday, 22 November 2013

The Anambra half and half election

The Anambra half and half election
The elections conducted aimed at choosing a successor to Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State further deteriorated the performance of Independent National Electoral Commission under the chairmanship of Attahiru Jega. Instead of normal results, the elections produced shocks, drama and now uncertainly not only about Anambra governorship but also national elections slated for 2015.
There are several ominous implications for this sad development. First is the attempted escape of INEC that only laws courts can nullify elections tainted with controversial ingredients. That was the facesaving  response of INEC to the demands of some of the candidates and the political parties that the purportedly inconclusive Anambra governorship elections be cancelled and a fresh one held. The main reason for the demand was that INEC conceded that elections were not held in strategic constituencies known to favour particular candidates.
It does not seem tenable as claimed by INEC that only law courts can nullify flawed elections, or that must be Attahiru Jega’s INEC. On the other hand, Maurice Iwu’s INEC in 2007, cancelled the Imo gubernatorial elections once it emerged that violence threatened in some areas. At least, so he claimed and organized fresh elections.
Whatever reasons compelled Maurice Iwu to hold fresh elections in Imo in 2007 after canceling the previous elections, the fact of Nigerian political history is that no law court’s order was obtained by Maurice Iwu’s INEC or any of the candidates before Imo 2007 gubernatorial elections were cancelled. The fresh elections produced PPA’s candidate Ikedi Ohakim despite hot dispute by PDP’s opponent Senator Ifeanyi Ararume, known to be opposed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
On this question of INEC power(s) to cancel potentially disputable or even disputed elections, the APC, Labour and PDP candidates should put INEC chairman Attahiru Jega in the dock to explain the difference between the cancelled Imo gubernatorial elections in 2007 and the half and half Anambra gubernatorial elections of 2013.
In fact, both former governor Ohakim and the man he defeated Senator Ararume must speak out on whether the Imo 2007 gubernatorial election was held along with others or cancelled and re-conducted later. We seem to forget so soon in this country, and that was why Jega’s INEC could spit on our faces that only law courts could annul elections.
APC’s candidate in the Anambra gubernatorial elections, Chris Ngige now weeps for the future of Nigeria. This must be a consolation rather than a rebuff that another Nigerian eventually weeps for the country. What was the general attitude last time when former Head of State General Muhammadu Buhari openly wept for the poor and wretched in Nigeria amidst the inestimable and unlimited wealth of the country?
Preparations for the Anambra elections were generally regarded as some forerunner for the much-dreaded 2015 for obvious reasons. At least four political parties have merged and have been so recognized as All Progressives Congress by INEC, the electoral regulating body which, itself, had claimed to have made up for its past lapses. Anambra was, therefore, a test for the presumed electoral strength of the APC. Hence the concern or indeed the suspicions of reasons for the withholding of elections in those areas known to be the stronghold of Chris Ngige.
The instant effect is the drop in Ngige’s votes in the first series to put his major APGA rival Willie Obiano in a bandwagon strong challenge in the supplementary elections in Ngige’s stronghold.
A very ominous among the ominous in the results of the Anambra gubernatorial elections is the implied fate of President Goodluck Jonathan. For purposes of political dignity, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should ideally, not be involved in campaigns to elect a state governor. A sitting governor can afford to be voted out always with the self-consolation of possibly returning some day. But the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
Goodluck Jonathan, especially in the present political circumstances, is like a defending national champion and whatever points he concedes may lead to eventual loss of title. In other federations all over the world, state governors seeking office or re-election are on their own because any poor showing of such guys reflects appropriately for good or bad for the highest public office holder’s electoral ratings. From the Anambra governorship elections, Jonathan’s penchant for getting involved in his party’s governorship campaigns carries great foreboding.
He was in Edo State last time to campaign for his PDP candidate. In effect, Jonathan stahed his high office to campaign against (the then) ACN candidate and incumbent governor Adams Oshiomhole. Protocol demanded a courtesy call on a traditional ruler but he (Jonathan) was kept waiting. In the elections proper, Edo voters re-elected Oshiomhole, thereby rejecting PDP’s candidate and Goodluck Jonathan.
From there, Jonathan was also in Ondo State where again, he deployed his high office to campaign for PDP candidate Oke, against Labour Party incumbent governor Segun Mimiko. As it turned out in the second state, Jonathan risked his popularity to campaign as Nigerian President but was rejected, as the electorate retained Segun Mimiko in office.
Yet, in a third state, Anambra, President Jonathan did everything including the invocation of Nnamdi Azikiwe’s name/birthday, the date of the election. However, as one voter put it, “we know the difference between Nnamdi Azikiwe and Goodluck Jonathan. One, surely, is not the other. We also remember that for the 2011 presidential elections, Jonathan claimed Azikiwe among his forenames. After the elections, he dropped the name Azikiwe.”
With such a critical outlook, little wonder in the outcome of the Anambra election. APGA candidate took the lead with PDP in the second place. From whatever angle, President Jonathan -led PDP has been rejected in the third consecutive state. If unknown to Jonathan, his lot is like that of a champion defending his title in the game of boxing and so early in the tournament, suffers three consecutive knockdowns. He is not yet necessarily counted out but certainly has a big task to make up for the lost points.
All Progressives Congress (APC) fell into the third place especially in an apparent gerrymandering to lose candidate Chris Ngige votes from his stronghold. That was more of a psychological war to portray the APC as a non-starter in South-East.
INEC’s deliberate barring of elections in Chris Ngige’s stronghold goes beyond the politics of trying to belittle the man. But, among others, in Obosi of all places? The birthplace of the Emeka Anyaokus? How does the man now assess Nigeria’s political/electoral progress to his famed international community who, he (Anyaoku) said would be unhappy about zoning in Nigerian politics?
For the Anambra elections, there was a minimum of 20,000 security personnel. In 2015, as elections are expected to hold in at least 30 states on the same day, Nigeria will have to provide six hundred thousand security personnel. What is the entire strength of the police, the armed forces and the secret police?
And then alleged mercenaries arrested on the eve of the Anambra elections? Police reputation is on trial until these chaps are successfully prosecuted in law courts.
So much for Nigeria’s democracy!
Postscript: The late dramatist, Hubert Ogunde, is acknowledged for the copyright of the above headline, a title of one of his famous plays in the fifties, HALF AND HALF.

Your sons or you behave
By all means, if the offspring of any state governor breaches financial regulations, they must be treated equally as any Nigerian before the law. Only to that extent can the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission be justified in picking up, for interrogation, two sons of Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido.
However, in the process, the EFCC once again lived up to its reputation as the devil’s advocate. So far, Sule Lamido is a member of the People’s Democratic Party but he is known lately to be among top figures challenging the authoritarian tactics of the party’s leadership, especially national chairman Bamanga Tukur and President Goodluck Jonathan.
When did the EFCC become aware of the alleged financial crime of Sule Lamido’s two sons? Why did the EFCC fail to arraign them for prosecution all along? Could the delay be part of PDP’s reserve tactics to tame Sule Lamido back in line?
In a way, Nigerians should even be satisfied that the PDP members are at each other’s throats. Otherwise, we would not know anything about possible goings-on with our nation’s resources. Yet, innocent Nigerians are continuously subjected to series of hardship through wide-ranging taxes on any item and increased prices of essential others like fuel. If therefore the younger Sule Lamidos can be proved to have laundered the huge sum of ten billion naira, the law should take its course.
Their father’s political disagreement with President Goodluck Jonathan should be no excuse not to be prosecuted. Where the EFCC tarnished its reputation was that the crime fighting agency picked up the fight on behalf of President Jonathan only (repeat only) a few hours after Governor Sule Lamido was widely reported on electronic media that he had reported a minister to President Jonathan for allegedly collecting a bribe of two hundred and fifty million American dollars from an oil company.
According to Sule Lamido’s claim, President Jonathan so far, did nothing on the allegation and still retains the minister, a male, in office. Sule Lamido, in naming an oil company as the accomplice was fair enough to even specify the gender, lest false and malicious people rush to other speculations. Sule Lamido did not disclose when he made the allegation to President Jonathan. It was therefore only fair to expect Jonathan to investigate properly before taking or not taking punitive action against the minister concerned.
Yet, the fact of making the allegation public was not a tenable ground for EFCC only a few hours later, to wade in on Jonathan’s side against Sule Lamido.
There is this problem of state institutions like EFCC, the Secret Police and conventional Nigeria Police or even INEC, NTA and FRCN in discharging their duties as if they are the personal outfits of an incumbent political leader.
That is why these outfits are, on the change of government, generally purged, mostly with their career abruptly ending. For the umpteenth time, state institutions exist to serve the nation rather than individuals.
In this matter of Sule Lamido’s offspring, the EFCC further destroyed its reputation. Time will tell. EFCC should have accused the Lamido suspects long before their father exposed the bribery allegation against a minister.


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