Igini demands 'modest sum' of N1bn from Imuse over defamatory statement

“Applauds INEC over innovations

By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

RETIRED Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom state, Barr. Mike Igini has said democracy or the institution of representative democracy will have no hopeful future if not anchored on the rule of Law and its strict adherence by all stakeholders.

Igini who spoke while addressing Akwa Ibom State stakeholders during the occasion of his end of tenure as Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) on Friday August, 12, 2022, said without the rule of Law, regulations and guidelines, elections would be nothing but a crude contest in the deployment of force.

He stressed: “Democracy will not survive in the soil of absolutism , where actors reject the norms and values on which democracy is practiced, democracy will die. Let us keep this democracy ever young to meet the aspirations of the Nigerian people.

“The respect for the will of the people is the beginning of responsible leadership leadership because it represents the liberal dimension of liberal democracy.

“As INEC innovates to improve the process of acquiring power through peaceful and credible elections, there are people who still crave for an unequal edge and asymmetric power over others in our society .

“That is why names of those who won valid party primaries elections are substituted for those who did not participate in primaries monitored by the election management body”

The retired REC, recalled all the challenges INEC under his watch in the state faced including threat to life by some politicians, adding that the distraction was massive and total with calls for his redployment from the state to pave way for the return to the old ways of arbitrary writing of election results.

He also recalled how those influential politicians had caused the redployment of seven heads of security agencies because they were unwilling to be part of the process of subverting the 2019 election.

He, however, assured that the introduction of innovations such as the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) has put an end the criminal conduct of ware-housing, buying and selling of PVCs, incident form, and thumb printing of ballots.

“Looking back at the last five years as I take bow today from INEC and say goodbye, we can say with every sense of modesty that the Independent National Electoral Commission under Professor Mahmood Yakubu has worked so hard to expand radius and frontiers of credible elections for the sustenance of our democracy.

“The promise of integrity driven electoral process to restore and rekindle the confidence of the Nigerian people in the ballot through various innovations, processes and procedures that are sustainable and replicable to guarantee periodic credible elections in our country are working and we must continue on that trajectory.

“As we prepare for the 2023 elections, the people of Akwa Ibom and Nigerians must stand up and not be overwhelmed by the forces that seek to decay democracy in our country.

“As career staff of INEC , do not depart from the trajectory of credible election as custodians and implementers of the vision and mission of the commission. The future direction of Nigeria is in our collective hands to determine as we prepare for the 2023 election.

“Today is my turn and opportunity to say thank you for the journey of progress we have travelled together, changing the narratives of the conduct of elections in this state that; in a democracy the effective and legitimate power to govern must lie on credible election.

“I want to sincerely thank president Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve and of being part of the collective effort to give meaning and purpose to the ballot as the best means o of the expression of the will of the people in a democracy.

“My immeasurable thanks goes to the Chairman of the commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, a scholar of remarkable prowess, for his leadership and protection at my greatest moment of danger and vulnerability for standing tall in defense of democracy and the rule of Law before 2019 general election and up till this moment.

“As I bid you all farewell, staff and the good people of Akwa Ibom State,be assured that wherever I am, whatever I do, I am with you. Whenever you do the right thing by adhering to the template of electoral integrity that we have developed and built together to make votes count and taken into account, I am head and hearty with you.

“In life anything that has a beginning has an end, no one stays at a job forever. So there comes a time when it is over and bid goodbye to all who made a challenging job an illuminating experience”

In his goodwill message, the governorship candidate of the New Nigeria People’s Party, (NNPP), Senator John James Akpanudoedehe thanked Igini for changing the narrative in the state, stressing that if Igini was in Akwa Ibom in 2021 he would have won the governorship poll.

“You are the first REC that has given opposition parties in Akwa Ibom State opportunity to step their foot into the office of INEC. Let it be on record. And you defeated that wicked theory from the pit of hell that what money cannot do, more money will do. Barr Mike Igini you are an honest man. We are here to send you forth because we love you. As you are leaving, we are praying God to send your kind to Akwa Ibom”, he prayed.

Similarly, members of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), assured him that they would not take for granted that sense of belonging he gave to them in the state.

On his part, the guber candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) Arc. Ezekiel Nya-Etok described Igini as a Leader who would never do anything unethical or compromise even for sake of friendship.

Nya-Etok added, “So as you leave today I pray that God takes you to where you never expected, and that this nation realises your worth. We need people like you in Nigeria. I want you to know that the whole of Akwa Ibom State is grateful to you”

The State Chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) Comrade Sunny James who recalled Igini’s achievements in other states like Cross River and Edo stressed, “And in the past 5years you have done same in Akwa Ibom State. As workers ours is to say goodbye to a man that has done well for the people of the state’

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