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INEC And The Burden Of Tradition

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In  a situation   characterised by   frightening spectre of   fierce  competition  for political office   where each of the  two major political parties –APC and PDP-is  trying  hard to outdo the other  in building   full -blown  suspicion and mistrust  between themselves , with the election management body –INEC,  pitifully  turned into a whipping boy  of improper  collusion by either party the stage is set for a very difficult path for INEC.

Under this circumstance,   there is virtually no excuse that INEC  would tender –least of it the perpetual malady of logistical constraints which seems to have become part of us , that  would appear satisfactory to both parties –especially the PDP which has been the most noisy and vociferous. For this election, the   possibility of postponement had been hanging on the air; we only refused to take notice of it by the very nasty record that we flash in the history of crisis preparatory to any major election. If we factor the leading causes –most of which are deliberately contrived –the PDP will definitely not come out smelling of roses –she has a very terrible record of wiring contrived crises in the events leading to a major election. In the studied circumstance of our history – the likelihood of postponement or even eventual cancellation of this election –not with the nascent rumour  flying in the air of certain forces priming for interim government – should not be a complete rule out. The inchoate nature of our politics is in acute need of stirring and   building national awareness and public vigilance to brave up to any such eventuality.  The refusal to study the uncanny role  of the political class in contriving crises in election period would always affect the correct reading of the situation. We must be reminded that we are confronted with a situation where the emperor of modern Nigeria who supervised and directed the worst election in Nigeria history has locked horns with the incumbent president and wants to dethrone him. To this effect,  he has not only  reunited with his long term political foe  but arguably disposed to any means to actualise this. If history and antecedents are any guide, the recent plan by the PDP to set its own parallel tabulation of election results – a huge precast notion of faithlessness on the nation’s election management body, the alarm raised by the ruling party is justified.

“The PDP has been building up to this crescendo all along. The party has consistently attacked the two institutions that are pivotal to the elections: the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the police. The strategy is aimed at eroding the credibility of the two key institutions as a prelude to discrediting the elections. We warned about this, and we have now been vindicated. At this stage, we believe that INEC is the only body that has the statutory role of collating and announcing the results of national elections. Any attempt by any individual or organization to usurp this role is a recipe for chaos.’’

The accusation of deliberate attempt to sow the seeds of chaos and crisis in the upcoming election  is evenly distributed among the PDP and APC –no reason seems absurd  and disingenuous to  tender in trying to justify the guilt of the opponent –from the insane to the illogical, all seem fir and right. Neither is there  any attempt to gauge  public intelligence and capacity  to sieve  the chaff  of misinformation from the seed of information amid the  crude imagination being dished out to the public . The supercharged election period has thrown forth a tendency in the opposition party that crudely inputs dirty politics in any occurrence in the nation –disregarding the potential apocalyptical crisis such crude imagination can trigger.

For instance, Secondus –the PDP chairman, while reacting to the unfortunate killings in Kaduna, said, “The wicked killing of over 60 persons, mostly women and children in southern Kaduna on the eve of the election is a copious ploy by the APC to frighten the people away from voting, knowing too well that they were not going to record any vote from the area. APC, in connivance with INEC, has been trying all options including but not limited to burning down INEC offices in some states and destroying of electoral materials to create artificial problems upon which to stand for their dubious act”.

The   spokesman of the CUPP , Imo Ugochinyere  –who has been on the  active front  on scores of  controversial issues in the polity of late  seemed bent on pushing the CUPP  to settle  for the ignoble role of  an  adjutant  to the PDP in its scaremongering demagoguery. His reaction to the postponed election  purportedly issued on behalf of the coalition was a mischievous revision and egregious improvement to the brand created and upheld by the PDP. This   reckless   proclivity to  crisis -promotion by  invoking the president’s name in a clearly unproven grave allegation came in the guise of   responding  to Buhari’s  claim that  he  was pained  by the postponement

‘’You are pained because you didn’t get staggered election which was why your government security forces sabotaged election materials distribution, Your Central Bank locked strong rooms midway into distribution,  Your security forces aided bandits to steal supplied material’’. Your security forces looked the other way while your supporters burnt INEC offices and card readers”.

Amidst   these torrents of accusations, the PDP appears to have  richer credentials and history of manipulation and contriving crisis in election period which eventually end up impairing INEC’s preparations.

The crude concept of ’ Do or Die’ politics was  verbalized and promoted under the PDP  by Obasanjo. Following  the collapse of his tenure -elongation project and  in the desperate bid to forcefully  install his candidate , he proclaimed : ‘’This election is a do or die  affair for me and the PDP. This coming election is a matter of life and death for the PDP and Nigeria”.

Prior  to this state of affairs, Obasanjo, after the collapse of the  third term agenda , deployed state  apparatus in  vicious overdrive to make sure that Atiku  was indicted and disqualified from contesting the election. INEC virtually became a department under the Obasanjo-led PDP regime.

It took the intervention of the Supreme Court to get Atiku in the ballot paper and this was just five days to the election. So,  if the PDP is crying wolf now, it must at the same time ponder on whether the APC is not picking and applying  a few tricks from PDP’s bag of tricks of yore.

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