By Ugobueze Ndukwe
SINCE the end of AnambraÂ governorship election held onÂ February 6 where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Governor Peter Obi the winner, I have taken my time to read every article or comments written on the outcome of the election.
While most of them appeared as the handiwork of hatchet writers working for the greatest beneficiary of theÂ abracadabra and the Commission, others failed woefully to address the fundamental issues concerning what transpired before and after the election.
While credit goes to the people of the state for remaining calm in the face of planned provocation by INEC through deliberate disenfranchisement of them in order to favour a particular candidate in the election, the commission planned and executed their agenda, but failed to realize that nemesis may catch them.
During the INEC registration update in the state last year September, there was clear evidence that the Commission had something up her sleeves, considering the way they carried out the exercise.
At that point, former governor of the state and Action Congress (AC) candidate Dr. Chris Ngige and his predecessor, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife raised alarm about some missing names in the votersâ€™ register and non-appearance of the commission officials at the centres. Nobody took them serious, but they continued to emphasise on it, knowing that it is the basis for any free and fair election.
While all these were happening, the incumbent, Peter Obi and others did not raise an eyebrow on the matter. Prof. Maurice Iwu on several occasions continued to assure that the anomalies discovered in the register would be corrected before the election.
In the face of all these realities, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Chief Rowland Uwa, an alleged in-law of Iwu who supervised the fraudulent registeration update has not been heard to explain what happened to the register. The outcome of the election showed that the Commissionâ€™s leadership is a deceit, because they failed on their promise of providing a credible register, despite assurances before the election.
It is high time Uwa came out to tell Nigerians what he knows about the compromised voters register in the state during the election. This is because he was the one that supervised the re-run election in Anambra South Senatorial zone and Nnewi North/ South Federal Constituency which was conducted not up to one year before the governorship election. How could one explain that some polling booths that were used in the re-run elections disappeared on the governorship election day. The rigging strategy perfected in the election was not scientific at all.
It is so obvious now to every right thinking person that the Commission is the brain behind every irregularity in any election in connivance with politicians. They capitalise on the lapses in the law to perpetrate their own selfish act. Because no law says that the voter register must be in order before election nor did the Electoral Act fix a time for rectification of all anomalies in the register and sending same to the constituencies before they took the adva
ntage to compromise the register in the election.
Past experiences had shown that there was no way the voters register could be compromised without the leadership of the Commission in the state and at the national level being part of the plot. For example, it happened in Edo and Ondo states where the Commission in the 2007 election allocated acclaimed votes of non-existent persons to particular candidates and declared them winners.
At the tribunal, the Commission was not only indicted, they were proved wrong beyond reasonable doubt and the rightful winners were declared. The Anambra governorship election was the last test given to the Commission under Iwuâ€™s leadership, but the outcome had shown that they obviously failed woefully for that matter!!.
If the electronic register from which they normally print from for the election were discovered to have been compromised,Â there is a manual register with the Commission from where they prepare the electronic register, before printing them out for election exercise.
So what happened to the manual register in Anambra, when the Commission’s leadership discovered that the electronic register had been compromised? Why didn’t they use the manual which was the original register to prepare new voter register? There was enough time to do that, but nothing was done. Where are the dismissed officials of the Commission? Whispers in the state indicate the dismissed staff claim they were dismissed, suspended and interdicted because they were stumbling blocks to the scientific and administrative â€œwiping offâ€ of names from the original database of the Commission.
Why did the Commission disenfranchise 1.5 million voters and had the audacity to claim that they conducted free and fair election? The election was only peaceful to some extent, but far from free and fair.
It beats my imagination seeing or reading people arguing that the election is free and fair. Since Anambra League of Democrats raised the question of the constitutionality of the outcome of the election, nobody has disputed the fact, including the greatest beneficiary of the charade, the incumbent.
On what basis could one say that the election is free and fair and that Anambra had spoken? Spoken what, with minority votes. If it is because AC or PDP did not win, it means we are not telling ourselves the truth and we are getting it wrong and will continue to get it wrong with 97,000 votes out of 1.845 million to elect a Governor- a paltry three per cent of the voting population.
Those calling for the re-appointment of Prof. Maurice Iwu are hypocrites and enemy of democracy.
As for the Anambra election, the ball is now in the court of the tribunal. The outcome will strengthen democracy and prove INEC wrong or right depending but we appeal to Obi, Umeh, Ojukwu and of course their new found â€œloveâ€ Iwu to stop playing with the sensibilities of Nigerians at this critical time of our nations journey to full democracy.
Mr.Â Ndukwe, a public affairs analyst,writesÂ from Awka, Anambra State.