As people are getting more agitated over the 2019 general election, Chief Agwu U. Agwu, the former speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would conduct a free and fair election if politicians and security agencies do the right thing.
His views were made known yesterday in a chat with journalists in Umuahia, saying desperation of political actors and over-zealousness of security agencies have always been “the problem with the conduction of elections in Nigeria.”
Judging from the activities of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), there are palpable fear that that party might not relinquish power in 2019 and that INEC could not be trusted to remain a neutral umpire given the way the ruling party has been using federal agencies to do its bidding.
The law maker stated that the bane of the electoral body in their bid to be above board and deliver a transparent poll is usually the people who want to win at all cost and security agents who aid and abet rigging.
“Our problem in Nigeria is not INEC but all of us. Security agencies aid and abet election rigging. The winner-takes-all mentality is what is affecting our election,” he said, adding that the INEC chairman and the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) won’t be in the field to enforce directives,” he said.
According to him, it would be very difficult to stop security agents, party agents, INEC ad hoc staff who would like to look the other way after receiving gratifications at the poling centres.
However, he called for active participation of the electorate in the electoral process, adding that people should begin to regard voting as both a civic duty and religious obligation in order to exercise the people’s power to determine who should have their mandate.
“I believe all the parties are going to listen to what the people are going to say,” the former Speaker said, noting that the permanent voter card (PVC) should be seen as a very important tool with which the people could make a strong statement”, he said.
He warned that it was dangerous for any ruling party to become complacence, arrogant to the extent of deluding itself that it could remain in power forever, noting that what happened to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general election should serve as a big lesson.
On his reasons for dumping the PDP for APC, the former Speaker who represented Arochukwu state constituency for 12 years in Abia State House of Assembly said the party leadership in the state “neglected” aggrieved stakeholders instead of reaching out to them for reconciliation.