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Edo 2020: Why election riggers launch attack on Igini



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By Osaro lgbinovia,

(Benin City)

In Nigeria, Mike Igini is a household name that is synonymous with transparency, integrity, truth, boldness, honesty, courage of conviction, equity and commitment to credible election. We cannot talk about free and fair election in Nigeria without the name Igini echoing at the background of such discussion. And today, the name does not only create fear in the hearts of election riggers and perpetrators of electoral malpractice, but has the potency to distabilize whoever and any group of politicians that have evil intentions and plans to rig before and during any election.

The recent accusation of Igini’s purported and patently untrue visit to the incumbent Governor of Edo state and candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming governorship election in Edo state is one of the many pre-emptive moves to stop INEC from deploying him to supervise and support the conduct of a transparent, credible, and fair election in Edo, a virtue that he is known for by Nigerians and associated with his service to this country.

However, it is laughable that a man who doesn’t have any interest in Edo election is accused of meeting Gov. Obaseki, perhaps to plan on how to rig the election in favour of the PDP. How and in what capacity when he is not the REC in charge ? Do they really know who Igini is and what he stands for? I am ashamed as a supporter of the APC that this same man who stood firm and alone as a shining star REC in the entire South South and South East in the 2015 election in our state when PDP controlled the Federal Government and boasted of the use of “federal might”. This same lgini boldly declared in his famous statement that “there will be no federal or state might that will determine the outcome of election under his watch in Edo, but the might of the people that will be expressed through the ballot”. Is he the same man that APC leaders in our state are doing this to ? What a forgetful people with short memory?

Not quite long, I listened to the Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, a very respected founding member of APC who is not known to be flippant made a very profound validation and affirmation of the virtues of Igini. The minister unequivocally declared that the only man he can vouch for when it comes to transparent, free and fair election is Igini, and that integrity is his signature tune, no matter who is involved. He narrated his own experience that the election he said they won was canceled because lgini said over 100 out of 141 polling units were marred by violence and so no legitimate outcome could emanate from such election. If such declaration could be made by Amaechi, who also said in that interview that Igini is his friend, it is only a re-confirmation of the real truth Nigerians know about this exceptional electoral commissioner of INEC called mike lgini.

The Akwa Ibom INEC commissioner has conducted elections in many states of the Federation, and there is only one narrative that trails those election- Credibility.
If you go down history lane, after the 2015 election, both APC and PDP chairmen did what is unusual but clear and eloquent testimony of the unbiased disposition of lgini as an umpire when both of them attended a sendforth ceremony for him at INEC’s office in Benin and was shown on lTV, Channels and AIT. Both chairmen testified to the integrity of Igini over the conduct of credible election in the state in 2015. Whereas in the presidential election, that president Buhari was denied the constitutional requirement of 25% minimum in the entire South South and South East where the RECs connived and collected part of the N23 billion naira Dieziani money for election including other RECs in other geopolitical zones, commissioner lgini was exceptional and was never part of the compromise but provided a level playing ground.

That was why President Buhari scored 46% over and above the constitutional requirement in EDO state only, out of 11 states.

Similarly, Edo state was the only state in 2015 out of the 11 states of South South(6) and South East(5) where APC won a senatorial seat, 4 federal seats and majority of State House of Assembly seats. This majority saved Comrade Adams Oshiomole from impeachment. It’s a shame that this same man who stood his ground at the risk of his life given the threat from PDP in 2015 for electoral fairness that APC enjoyed, is the same man today our leaders in APC are encouraging John Mayaki to tell lies about and slander him in the manner they have done to lgini on social media in the last few days.

His reappointment by President Buhari as the only person from the entire 11 states was applauded by Nigerians as a recognition of his integrity and courage to stand firm for what is right and just and the president commended him for that. This is the man our people want to bring down at all cost unjustifiably. Shameful !

Remember, APC was in the opposition then and the man called leader the late chief Tony Anenih was still powerful and alive when the REC declared that no ” federal might” in Edo and APC members and those of us who only supported APC sang the song of Igini to high heavens as a man of honour and integrity.Why are we now afraid of the shadow of that same man today just merely passing through Benin to Asaba area in Delta for a burial ceremony ?

Except some people are planning to rig the forthcoming election in the state, there should be no reason whatsoever to be afraid seeing Igini’s shadow because he is a man of integrity and has been consistent on the path of honour and doesn’t tolerate electoral malpractices. Why afraid of someone who has not even be penciled down to supervise election in Edo state?
The Igini that we all know can never and will never desecrate the sanctity of the electoral system, no matter who is involved. If Igini had met Obaseki as they accused him of, Nigerians can still vouch for him that it was unconnected to the forthcoming governorship election in Edo. In any case, Commissioner igini has said he had never met Obaseki one -on-one anywhere as a Governor up till today.  How much more in a Government House at such an odd time of 3 am. They are falsely claiming to have seen lgini when in fact he was actually in Lagos. Is it possible for him to be in Edo by 3am as alleged and at the same time in Lagos as narrated by John Mayaki who is the chairman of Ize lyamu media campaign organisation and is trying to create a scene where there is none ?

Commissioner lgini is a man of proven integrity and he is honest to a fault.
Again, should Igini not travel through Edo state again even to his home town in Delta because of the planned election in Edo ? We are in trouble in this country if this is the way upright and honest people should be treated to discourage them. How did we really get here?
The fact that there are some RECs who compromise the electoral process for money , does not mean we don’t have honest and transparent officials, and Igini is one of them. We should not deliberately, maliciously and unjustifiably try to damage the reputation and character of some of the few men and women of character and proven integrity doing their best to serve the country.

Those who stand for justice, truth and credibility should have nothing to worry about because these are the virtues that define Igini’s public service. No one should press unnecessary panic button if all we need is credible election in Edo.

Igini is not even the INEC commissioner there, therefore, why the fear? Why the sudden attack on his person ? Why the name calling? Is this not the same man that Nigerians celebrated when it comes to matters of election ? How much do we have in Edo to compromise lgini that those who control billions in Akwa lbom did not offer that he rejected with the famous response from him that is now words on marble that he “didn’t come to Akwa lbom state to count money but to count votes” ? These are the questions begging for answers from John Mayaki and the leaders of APC in our state if they truly have conscience and indeed a book of remembrance of the good work this Mr. Igini and his lNEC team did in EDO in 2015.