How Orji Kalu predicted Anambra guber election before being quashed
By Odimegwu Onwumere
By Odimegwu Onwumere
On Monday November 18 2013, Nigerians woke up full of hope to hear the result and possibly the winner of the controversial gubernatorial election in Anambra State, which took place on November 16 and a rerun in some of the LGAs on 17, but the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, dashed that hope, saying that the election it conducted was full-of-loopholes.
Those who have been zealous observers of Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu’s political calculations will attest to the fact that he had warned that the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was in for more challenges. Kalu was saying this following the criticisms that rendered the country’s air over the registration of three APCs as political parties. Kalu was warning against impending doom in the electoral process in the future, when there were accusing fingers on INEC of taking side in the whole business of registering the APC, now run by the likes of Alhaji Bola Tinubu.
Many Nigerians knew the ovation Jega had enjoyed before he was in 2010, appointed to head INEC. To Kalu, Jega’s reputation is dwindling after his appointment, because he had not wholeheartedly met with the expectation of the people, who had hoped that a messiah has come with a final solution, to settle the decades-long electoral problems in the country.
It’s surprising that the almighty Jega known for his uncompromising integrity for the less before his appointment as the INEC Czar (“He waged countless wars against oppressive military regimes that held sway in Nigeria’s political life in the period between 1985 and 1993” – Kalu), has been found to the numberless of dilemmas beleaguering the horizontal way of elections in Nigeria.
Before the Anambra election, Kalu had told the world that he was full of expectancy that Jega was going to perform in INEC like the Moses of this world, who led their people when the going was very tough; but like the biblical Moses, some human beings are very difficult to sacrifice everything, to ensuring that there is a fresh air in the ways elections are conducted in Nigeria. One of these human beings may be Jega!
Kalu was crying that he did not think that Jega’s performance had gone well with many hopefuls of his once leadership sagacity and dexterity in the past two years he mounted the saddle as INEC adjudicator, even though that he would not criticise him personally, but especially the opposition have accused his commission of prejudice, shakiness, and belatedness.
The Anambra gubernatorial election may have once repealed the relics of hope that some Nigerians had in Jega. Just one state, yet INEC could not show to Nigerians that it could get it right. This is unexampled of a sizzling university don, who did not allow domineering military regimes to be elastic in their sway in Nigeria’s political movement.
Why Jega cannot get elections right in this country is yet to meet the eyes, whereas Kalu had said that Jega played vital roles in protesting against the annulment of June 12 presidential election. Kalu also had said that Jega’s name made corrupt politicians fidget with fear, because of his no nonsense approach of bringing “treasury-looters and other social misfits shiver” to the cleaners.
The question today should be what has happened to Jega? It might not be out of place that he has drank with the same cup that those he was once fighting against their corrupt practices were drinking with. One could say this, because it seems that Jega has left his primary role on why he was appointed for frivolities. But according to Kalu, Jega was appointed to redirect INEC on the path of rectitude, efficiency and integrity.
Kalu may be regretting the impolite media reviews that Jega is now enjoying, because Kalu had always been in appraisal of the vibrantly the helpful and wide media reviews Jega’s appointment garnered then. Even though that Nigerians are very difficult to satisfy, according to Kalu, he also knew that moving INEC was similar to decontaminating of Augean stable.
And we can see this sanitisation of INEC to be difficult with the outcome of the election in Anambra State, which invariably does not give a bright light that the 2015 presidential election would be anything to go by.
It’s certain that it was not money that made Jega to fail in the Anambra election, which somebody may liken to what chipped in irregularities in the 2011 presidential election. Kalu had reminded us that he saw the first arrow of uneasy lies the head that wears the cap, when the money, which Jega had requested to run his commission prior conducting of the 2011 general elections, was scarcely withheld.
About N89 billion, was not easy for the National Assembly to release to Jega’s commission. From the look of things, Kalu has been of the opinion that it is shamefaced, the shoddy performances of the commission, are being experienced under Jega. Kalu has been of the opinion that Jega should brave up and have his way, which will be in tandem with what Nigerians expected of him and not, what any political parties may want him to do.
Kalu has been of the opinion that the political space in the country should not either be physical or literally thrown into chaos, in the name of unconvincing results, such that was announced in Anambra State. Kalu has not been happy that the country would continue to suffer what in the language of INEC is known as ‘logistics reasons’, when contestants and their supporters must have exhausted their resources and time, hence such language as ‘inconclusive election’ would crop-up.
Kalu had reminded us that this commission, in the same way as is being experienced in Anambra, announced the postponement of the 2011 Presidential and National Assembly elections, a few hours after they began, for what it called ‘logistics reasons’. The tension that this caused in the country, rescheduling of the elections, is the same as we are experiencing in the Anambra gubernatorial election, which has been characterised by INEC as ‘inconclusive’.
How Jega would build up his integrity with this perceived incompetence in elections is left for him. It is crystal clear that Nigerians no longer take him seriously as they did when he was a university don. He cannot in every election in the country be causing avoidable panics among citizens and still want to be taken seriously no matter his postulations of sounding honest and innocent to Nigerians aftermath of each of his electoral woes. As a master strategist, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu knew that INEC was not ready to deliver free and fair elections in 2011. This is the same way it went ahead to conduct the Anambra elections, notwithstanding perceptible blemishes, which Nigerians have seen and read were the occupation of many electoral sub-umpires assigned to man the gubernatorial election in Anambra State.