Joe Effiong, Uyo
The resident electoral commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State, Mr Mike Igini, has carpeted the 36 governors of the federation for emasculating state independent electoral commissions leading them to perform coronation instead of local government elections.
Speaking with Daily Sun in Uyo, Igini said: ‘The governors have all put their knees on the neck of state independent electoral commissions (SIECs) as such that they cannot breathe.”
‘Look at SIECs all over the nation. Governors have hijacked the local government system in Nigeria and do all sort of nonsense in the name election. In all the 36 states of the federation, what they do is coronation event of the people they had pre-selected as local government officials.
‘But local government election used to be the most important election in those days because a majority of Nigerian people are domiciled in the local government areas. It is not the state or federal or even presidential election that matters most. But today, SIECs in Nigeria are firmly controlled by the governors.
‘The irony is that the battleground states in the USA are controlled by the Republican, from the governors to the senators in the past 28 years till now. But when it comes to elections; presidential or any election, the votes of the American people expressed through the ballot must be counted, recorded and announced to the American people regardless of which party is in charge of that state.’
Igini wondered whether such could happen in Nigeria and whether asking SIECs to conduct all elections in Nigeria without INEC would not amount to Armageddon and invitation to anarchy.
He insisted that the definition of what constitutes free, fair and credible election should not be different when it comes to INEC conducted elections from that conducted by SIECs, which are controlled by the governors, who have put their ‘knees on SIECs and SIECs cannot breathe’.
According to Igini, though the current presidential election in the US seems to have run into trouble waters due to Donald Trump’s tantrums, American democracy still remains a model for the world to emulate.
He, however, warned that America should be careful in handling Trump’s tantrums because they can push that nation to its elastic limit which might lead to a revolt by the majority who voted for the Joe Biden.
‘Just one, two or three more Donald Trump’s, then America will be like Africa. Just three Trumps, then America will be gone because American democratic virtues are not about written laws; it’s about norms, values and traditions.’
Igini challenged the Nigerian press to stand up and defend democracy as seen in America, even as he frowned on the laws gagging the press with regards to election activities in Nigeria.