Okiwge Senate Re-Run: The Noise, The Facts

By Ikenna Onuoha

The postponement of the Okigwe Senate re-run election has become a hot button issue. If we borrow the words of the internet savvy the issue has become a trending one within and outside the zone. There is heated debate in town and confusion has enveloped the air.

The major contenders to the throne the APC and PDP have been at each other’s throat. Also both parties have been breathing down the neck of the electoral umpire, INEC. The PDP says the postponement was masterminded by APC. APC on its part say it uncovered a grand conspiracy and plot by INEC to unduly manipulate the poll in favour of PDP and promptly reacted by petitioning INEC which reacted by postponing the poll.

Although both parties have been embroiled in accusations and counter accusations in the aftermath of INEC action, all have however agreed on one thing . And that is that INEC has the legitimate right as the umpire to tinker with election schedule including dates of elections.

Both the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended and Electoral Act 2010 as amended confer on INEC the power it relied on to shift the election to avert looming crisis. Without doubt, the INEC must have duly consulted the statue books before embarking on the action, conscious of the fact it would trigger an avalanche of controversy.

However, controversy or not the body certainly understood the danger going ahead with an election which had failed integrity test days before it was billed to hold, poses to the senatorial zone, state and itself, thus, the speedy action to nip it in the bud. This, perhaps, was why the body cited the problem of security as part of the reasons for the shift.

For taking this bold step INEC deserve commendation because if they had done otherwise Okigwe zone would have erupted in crisis of immense proportion and scale that would leave blood, entrails and devastation in its wake. Going by the litany of allegations leveled by APC which are backed by verifiable evidence, such as the persons mentioned, there is practically no way teeming members, leaders and even the teeming thousands of voters rooting for it would have folded their arms and allowed a barefaced manipulation of the election in favour of PDP and its candidate.

We had expected that both the APC and PDP would take the decision of INEC in good faith and go back to the drawing board ahead of a new date. But, this has not been the case especially on the part of the PDP. Yes, it is natural to feel bad when faced with a situation such as the one in perspective but to grow nosier and belligerent like a bull in a Chinese shop is highly unsportsmanlike and raises many questions. For many curious observers the warlike posture of the PDP rather than support its cause has become a big albatross undermining it, because many now think the allegations against it may after all be true.

The fact is, when one is talking too much the chances of lying increases geometrically. Of course the more you lie and discover that your lies are not sticking the more you are compelled to continue. The task of lying requires a great deal of talking, explanation and wasting of energy. Whereas saying the truth is as simple as ABC. There is a growing belief in many quarters that the PDP is talking too much in the aftermath of this postponement simply because it has a skeleton in its cupboard. They seem to think that by hijacking the airwave it could successfully shift attention away from how it knowingly and unknowingly aborted the February 20 re-run election in Imo.

Clearly, the party is on a talking spree obviously in an attempt to cover its smelling underbelly. They have colonized all the electronic media outlets in the state, grabbed the print media and gone haywire on the social media. Having taken firm control of these channels of mass communication they resorted to manufacturing and dishing out mendacious and outright falsehood which unfortunately, the good people of Okigwe have bluntly refused to touch with mile long pole. Of course, this stoic position of Okigwe is not unexpected or surprising because they wear the shoe and know exactly where they feel the pain.

Okigwe people know that they have felt the pain of poor representation in the red chamber of the NASS these past seven months. And now that they have been presented a once in a lifetime opportunity to retake their mandate, some people are up in arms against them. Surely, this kind of civilian coup cannot see the light of the day.

What everybody had thought the PDP and their man would have done at this point in time is to utilize the golden opportunity the re-run provides them to convince the people on their imaginary and fictitious achievements. But, instead of doing that, they have switched over to the terrain of sympathy in trying to cover the mess made of the peoples’ mandate.

What you hear everywhere is that Chief Athan Achonu would work miracle for Okigwe zone because he is an amputee or because he is a landlord to over 10 snators. What a ludicrous and laughable argument. This kind of sentimental gambit would have worked for them if they have been up against a less formidable candidate but against Rt. Hon. Ben Uwujumogu whose antecedents are an open book in okigwe zone they are swimming against the tide.

Somehow, am tempted to believe the raucous bleating of the members of the part stems from fear of looming defeat. Otherwise, why instead of going home to work PDP leaders have decide to stay in Owerri to brag none stop that if the election is conducted ten times they will win. Unless they have already written the result this unfounded confidence is only a mere façade to deceive the issue non-indigenes of Okigwe into believing they are on the ground when they are not.

If this election is to be contested and won with the vote of okigwe people I don’t see Rt Hon Ben Uwajumogu losing. He has everything going for him. Virtually all the segments of the zone, men, women, youths, the disabled, Ndi Eze, Ndi Nze and political leaders across board have endorsed him. The APC candidate has the formidable grass-root structure that help garner over 37,000 votes in the March 2015 elections. When the issue is about capacity, party advantage and experience he towers above his adversary. And in terms of character and integrity he is an embodiment of them all. So, tell me what other qualities that commend a man to his people.

In the vexed issue of Okigwe senate re run election when the noise of the PDP is exposed for what it is, what remains is the facts of the matter which is that Hon Uwajumogu is well on the way to cruising home to victory.

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