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Date Published: 05/10/11

INEC RECs: Like Sekina Okoh (Imo) Like Maria Owi (Akwa Ibom) by Chief Chikelu Ogbuagu

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Dear Editor,

Ever since exposing and sacking of one time Speaker of House of Representative, Hon Mrs. Mercy Ette, women who people thought could perform better against corruption and political misbehaviours in Nigeria, continue to be disappointments.

It will be recalled that Mrs. Mercy Ette was considered a failure when she was found wanting on accountability. There is general belief that women can perform better than their menfolk if given the opportunity but this is not turning out so as women, who were tried as heads at political settings and institutions, including publici enterprises like in the case of Mrs. Cecilia Ibru are ready references. Though men are no better but people continue with the belief that women could give a break for good. Now many are having rethought probably the reason women that contested for the governorship seats in the recent elections, among them Senator Gbemisola Saraki and Helen Tallen, lost woefully. Consider also that Sarah Jubril scored only one vote during the PDP presidential primary.

During the concluded 2011 elections, much was heard negatively of some women INEC (State) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), namely Mrs. Maria Owi who served in Akwa Ibom State and Mrs. Selina Okoh who served in Imo were notorious with corruption. Mrs. Owi was heavily compromised and in spite of pleadings with and alerts given to the INEC boss, Professor Attahiru Jega, for him to reassign those RECs like her, was ignored.

But for the stalemate in Imo governorship election which was caused by Mrs. Okoh who declared that the election was inconclusive thereby introducing a new catch-phrase “supplementary election”, the way she compromised in Imo State might have passed unnoticed unlike the alarm constantly raised about her Akwa Ibom counterpart. It is now that the Imo stalement happened irretrievably, did Professor Jega sack Mrs. Okoh, rendering her as one of those that must not partake in the supplementary election that her action did create. Jega dragged four RECs for only a partial election?

Agreed that Professor Jega was overwhelmed by the enormous task that confronted him during the elections, he had aides whose duties were to analysis media comments and complaints from the electorate towards helping correct anormalies as they occurred. What then were those telephone lines supplied by INEC for? What happens to the mistakes already committed by those compromised INEC officials whose duties produced false results? If these are not addressed, then it should be given that Professor Attahiru Jega, to some extent, also compromised in some cases; moreso when it was learnt that he ignored information volunteered by some well-meaning Nigerians at each point of the elections.

Chief Chikelu Ogbuagu, Nwaniba Road, UYO, Akwa Ibom State

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