Iwu As The Judge In His Own Case

beneficiaries of Iwu’s farce, so much touted as elections, will not want him to go

Maurice IwuhBefore starting this piece fully, it may be necessary to quote here, the submission of the European Union Election Observation Mission on the 2007 general elections conducted by Professor Iwu’s INEC. ”

The 2007 state and federal elections fell far short of basic international and regional standards for democratic elections. They were marred by very poor organisation, lack of essential transparency,

 widespread procedural irregularities, substantial evidence of fraud, widespread voter disenfranchisement at different stages of the process, lack of equal conditions for political parties and candidates and numerous indents of violence. As a result, the process cannot be said to have been credible. There can be no confidence in the results of these elections…………’’.

Any one that is conversant with the pages of our national dailies these days would have observed that they are full of all manner of advertorials. As we see advertorials that reflect genuinely patriotic positions on fundamental national issues, so are we inundated with those ones we can refer to as ‘mere drivels’ coming from sundry groups and individuals who also claim that theirs are patriotism-driven. Examples of such are the ones in support of Professor Maurice Iwu, INEC chairman. But Nigerians are no fools; we know that the people behind these pro-Iwu adverts are not in any way patriotic. They are just out to clog the Nation’s progress because they are beneficiaries of Iwu’s farcical elections.

One fact we need to get clear is that beneficiaries of Iwu’s farce, so much touted as elections, will not want him to go. They won’t because they will easily become casualties of an independent INEC that may be headed by an honourable personality who can conduct credible polls in future. This is why their sponsored agents besiege newspaper houses to place frivolous advertorials under the banner of one pseudo organization or the other to attack popular struggles for the emergence of a truly democratic society. Some might want to argue that they are entitled to their own opinions because this is a democracy where all shades of opinion are to be accommodated. This is the beauty of democracy, they will say. Yes, agreed. But don’t we think unfettered freedom to do and undo might as well be the flaw of democracy?

The Nation Newspaper got it right recently when it referred to this period as ‘season of advertorials’. Isn’t it? Of course, it is because it is like people don’t have anything tangible doing these days than coming to newspaper houses to place all sort of embarrassing, anti-progress adverts in the name of national unity. This is uninteresting, boring and far from being palatable. This reminds me of the warning of a renowned Islamic scholar in this country, Alhaji Muheeden Ajani Bello by name. He once said in one of his ever didactic sermons that if we allow people to continue to do whatever they like, millions would have become mad in the streets before we take notice. The implication of this, according to him, is that all our psychiatric centers will not be able to contain mad people and this is extremely dangerous for our society. I do not agree less with this scholar.

As this lack of patriotism manifests itself in adverts placements, so does it show face in terms of street protests. It is again not uncommon in today’s Nigeria to see people engaging in sponsored protests aimed at countering patriotic protests and genuine struggles for nation building. The most recent of such sponsored protests is again the counter protest staged by some jobless youths in Abuja penultimate week against the ‘Iwu Must Go’ protest organized by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC). While the Iwu Must Go protest was necessary and legitimate because it spoke the minds of the generality of the people, the same cannot be said of the pro-Iwu own. How on earth would any reasonable person participate in a protest calling for the extension of Maurice Iwu as INEC chairman? A man who conducted the worst election in the annals of this country. Nothing could make any one to participate in such a useless protest other than ignorance, mischief and perhaps, hunger.

Beyond sentiments, nothing will do us good in this country today in our quest for free and fair elections than for Professor Iwu to go immediately his tenure expires in June. To have him stay a day beyond the expiration of his tenure is to set our democratic ship on the course of perdition. To allow Iwu to be the chief umpire in the 2011 elections is to institutionalize electoral fraud in this country and the inescapable consequence of it is going to be a total collapse of our nascent democracy. To pretend not to know the reasons for this simple prediction is to run away from the truth. Constitutionally and morally, Iwu’s time is up. Constitutionally, Professor Iwu has spent two terms both as a member and chairman of INEC. His tenure as a member of INEC was about to end when he was appointed the Chairman of the commission. His tenure as chairman will end by June this year. Meaning that he has spent the mandatory two tenures. What else is he still looking for? And morally, for having conducted the most fraudulent election in this country, he lacks the moral right to supervise any election again in our country.

One thing that I personally find nauseating is Professor Iwu’s attempt to be the judge in his own case. His unrepentant posture so far smacks of unruly egoism and this is unbecoming of a whole Professor. Rather than humble himself and apologize to Nigerians to forgive him for giving us the worst election ever in our country’s history, it has been grandstanding galore on his part. He continues insisting that his has been the best so far. He even said that the 2007 election was better than the American election that ushered in president Barrack Obama. Nothing could make a man to talk like this if not delusions of grandeur. Even the chief beneficiary of Iwu’s flawed election; President Yar’Adua did admit that the election that produced him was greatly flawed. The innumerable number of elections that have been nullified at the various elections petitions tribunals across the country are enough facts to buttress the fact that 2007 elections as conducted by Professor Iwu were a mere charade. More elections are still awaiting nullification.

Thank God that a lot of people – beneficiaries of Iwu’s highly flawed elections are coming out to tell us the truth about the 2007 elections; how they were rigged in into offices. One of such confessions came from Hon. Muhammed Ali Ndume, Minority leader of the House of Representatives when he said recently that – ‘’In 2003, there was no election. In 2007, it became worse; there was allocation (of votes). I am a beneficiary. I want to be elected. I want to be elected in 2011’’. This is a valid statement from Hon. Ali. It takes courage and humility to speak the truth. He deserves to be commended really. The National chairman of PDP, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor corroborated Ali’s statement when he also said that his party actually rigged the 2007 governorship election in Anambra state in favour of Uba. I don’t think we need further proofs to make our conclusion on Iwu.


Oyedeji Bolaji