Opinion: An open letter to Professor Jega of INEC

by Chukwuemerie Uduchukwu

Jega

Sir, you actually restored some high level of trust in the election process during the 2011 general elections which caused the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP) to lose all the governorship and most of legislative positions in the south-west geopolitical zone.

Dear Prof. Attahiru Jega,

When you were appointed to head the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by the Federal Government, Nigerians were filled with hope that at last sanity would return to the nation’s electoral system. This was due to the high level of integrity you exhibited during your days as the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU and Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano.

Nigerians also believed more in your ability to deliver when they learnt that you are a professor of political science. This is because as an immensely experienced political scientist, you will ensure that a high level of sanity is restored in the nation’s electoral process.

Sir, you actually restored some high level of trust in the election process during the 2011 general elections which caused the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP) to lose all the governorship and most of legislative positions in the south-west geopolitical zone.  The transparent manner in which the 2011 presidential elections results were collated and announced was highly commendable and encouraging. Also the decision of the commission to employ Vice-Chancellors of federal universities as chief returning officers of various states during the elections was encouraging. This is because the acceptance of Vice-Chancellors to act as Chief Returning Officers in various states made it difficult for selfish politicians to manipulate the electoral process.

Sir, due to the high level of trust I have in your person and the strong faith I have in the commission, I want to bring to your attention the actions of some political parties in Anambra State which if not stopped, will cause more confusion in the state and paint the image of the commission, which you serve as the chief electoral officer, black.

Sir, it is worrisome that some political parties are fielding multiple candidates for the November 16, 2013 governorship election in the state.

Sir, it was reported that INEC has recognized the Ejike Oguegbo’s-led executive faction of the PDP in the state. The faction conducted its primaries and announced Senator Dr. Andy Uba as its candidate. Surprisingly, same day another faction led by Ken Emeakayi, reportedly recognized by the national leadership of the party, conducted a parallel primary and announced Mr. Tony Nwoye as its candidate.

After that, Senator Andy Uba went to a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt and was declared the authentic candidate of the party. It was also reported that Mr. Tony Nwoye went to another court and was declared the authentic candidate of the PDP by that court.

Dramatically, on Tuesday 17th September 2013, a federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt, declared another contestant on the platform of the PDP Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu as the authentic candidate of the party.

With these developments, three persons namely Senator Andy Uba, Mr. Tony Nwoye and Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu now claim to be the authentic candidates of the PDP thereby increasing tension and confusion in the state.

Sir, this ugly development is not limited to the PDP. The All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, also has multiple candidates produced by various factions of the party in the state.  One the factions of the party supported by the incumbent state governor Mr. Peter Obi conducted its primaries in August and announced Mr. Willie Maduacbuchi Obiano as its candidate. Surprisingly, another faction led by Mazi Okwu conducted another primary and announced Mr. Obidigbo as its candidate. Sir, this increased the rate of political confusion in the state and the electorates were left confused due to this multiple candidacies by the parties.

Sir, I want you to use your good offices as chief electoral officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to stop this confusion. I advise the commission to ban any political party fielding multiple candidates from contesting the election. Also, due to the fact that the law empowers each political party to field one candidate, the commission should, through the law enforcement agencies, arrest and prosecute any person who is not recognized by the commission as the candidate of a political party, which parades himself or herself as a candidate. These will discourage multiple candidacies by various political parties.

Thank you for your understanding and urgent attention, sir.

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Read this article in the Premium Times Newspapers

 

 Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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