The Independent National Election Commission has till the 15th of March 2016 to conduct the Senatorial election in Imo North Senatorial district and some days before that to conduct other house of assembly elections in three local government areas where the Legislative Appeal Tribunals ordered them to conduct rerun elections, to determine the most legitimate occupiers of these legislative positions. I am not very sure of the dates when the other elections would have become late and illegal, but I am sure that if by March 16th, 2016, INEC does not announce the authentic Senator to represent Imo North Senatorial district in the Red Chamber, then it would have fallen foul of the law and is liable to contempt of court. Will INEC wait till it embarrasses itself to this extent? I pray, no.
By now, all the noise and boasts about which Parties or candidates are better or more acceptable to the people would have mellowed down, if the electoral umpire did not allow itself to be used to place Imo in this pretty kettle of fish. There is nothing that divides a people more than elections, hence, the need for those charged with the responsibility of conducting elections to get on with that as fast as they can and save the community of political players the stresses that come with electioneering.
In situations where going ahead with an election is confirmed beyond doubt to pose risks to the lives and properties of a people, every law and process may be bent to forestall such crisis and if that means postponing the elections just like the INEC did on the eve of 20th February, then, why not. However, when pent up crisis and is the only excuse for postponing an election which have squeezed out huge resources from people and threatening to put daggers between friends and siblings, then, we must talk about it.
For many Imolites and political watchers from across Nigeria who have primed their searchlight on Imo, the Independent National Electoral Commission through its Administrative Secretary , one Evurulobi Chinedu simply disposed itself as a narrator in a drama script written by the APC in Imo State, directed by Owelle Rochas Okorocha and produced by Mr. Kenneth Emelu, who has put himself at the forefront of any protests and riots deemed beneficial to the interest of the State Government that one wonders if there is any office like Special Adviser to the Governor on riots and demonstrations. To be more direct; INEC simply announced the decision of the All Progressives’ Congress in Imo State.
I stated it in a live radio program recently and I restate it here that the explanation given by INEC as its excuse for indefinitely postponing these legislative elections is nothing but an insult to all Nigerians and Imolites in particular. That the Nigerian Police Force could be said not to be ready to guarantee security for elections that were scheduled to hold in just nine local government areas is embarrassing to the image of the Nigerian Police and passes the wrong message about Nigeria’s security infrastructure. That a whole State Command of a Police Force could shamelessly chicken out of the conduct of a very small election like this one is more than just embarrassing, it is traitorous.
On the 19th of February, just a day before that election was supposed to hold I got a call from someone who wanted to confirm if I am aware that some hoodlums had gone to the INEC Headquarters in Owerri to protest, this caller did not have all the information as regards the real reasons behind the protests, hence I had to drive to Port-Harcourt road where the electoral commission has its office, and I was more than terrified by the scenes that confronted me. Before the full glare of well kitted officers of the Nigerian Police Force, some placard carrying hooligans were burning out wraps and wraps of hard drugs, while high ranking officials of the State Government commandeered. Before the full glare of officers of the Nigerian Police these hooligans drove a chippings laden truck to the entrance of the INEC headquarters on a day that precedes a very important election and nothing happened, nobody was arrested, nobody was told to leave, nobody was stopped from breaching public peace.
My mind flashed back to an incident that took place few days to the 2007 general elections, when a truck laden with explosives tried to blow up the structure housing the national office of the electoral umpire. It was not due to the brilliance of the security men deployed to that office that stopped this tragedy, but to due solely to the Divine who did not want Nigeria to be thrown into crisis. It was years later during the letter writing altercations between ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and his godfather and equally ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo that it was insinuated that that attempt had the imprimatur of the then Federal Government, as part of its many attempts to stall the elections and possibly transmute the then President to a life or at most second term President. If a bloody civilian like myself could quickly remember that incident, I wonder why men trained for the sole aim of providing security for us could not have stopped those people and the truck that carried what they could not have known. I wondered if it is not possible that that truck could have hidden some explosives inside the chippings, especially in these days of violent insurgency, not just in the Northeast, but credible threats of such are also percolating into this part of the country. Could it be that the Imo State Police Command worked in cahoots with the ruling APC to stall this election?
Someone told me that it is likely the case that the Police showed sympathy to the Governor and his Party. And if that is the case, without agreeing that it is, how can the people of Imo State and especially the electorates within the constituencies where these elections are to hold ever have confidence in the conduct of these elections again?
I had to steal out time in order to write this piece, and I just found out it will be impossible for me to conclude it today. Running around for the world premiere of my movie; THE GREENPATH, which holds today at Rockview Hotels, Owerri. So, I will have to leave this till after the premiere. So, next week, we shall still be talking about this delayed deal especially for the people of Okigwe Senatorial district who are anxious to have their own man as their representative at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly. Keep a date