INEC: Avoidable disaster ahead June 9, 2021

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INEC: Avoidable disaster ahead

June 9, 2021

By Emmanuel Okogba

By Tonnie Iredia

The level of violence in Nigeria today is no doubt mind boggling. How they happen intermittently but seamlessly have become puzzling. While some analysts have used the insurgency in the North-East to explain the level of violence in that region, the continuing destruction of public facilities especially in the South-East has not been that easy to rationalize.

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What makes it more difficult to comprehend is that the same public buildings and other facilities are in every part of the country. So, who is fighting this war against federal facilities in mainly the South-East and a few other places? What is at stake and what are the objectives of those behind the development?

At a forum where these questions were asked recently, one resource person proffered what looked like a proverb wrapped in theory; that when a thief is among those helping a person to search for a lost ornament, the owner can never find it. The rest of us at the gathering were left to relate the proverb to the situation in some states where crime patterns and modalities appear common, yet perpetrators are able to commit more havoc by the day unhindered.

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The case of destruction to police formations in the South-East looks bizarre bearing in mind that the victims are police operatives supposedly equipped by society to combat crime and bring order to humanity. The inevitable question is how then can the same police protect others while they are virtually overwhelmed in their home front? The development obviously calls for public condemnation because the trend helps no one.

Some days back, cerebral former Enugu state governor, Chimaroke Nnamani called on those involved to come forward with their grievances to the dialogue table. Perhaps Nnamani knows something the rest of us are unaware of. But if the police were caught unawares when some stations were burnt initially, why is the senseless mayhem continuing unabated?

We can’t rule out insider abuses, because without prejudice to several well-meaning operatives, such abuses in the police and other organizations are getting rampant. Two days ago, the police claimed that persons arrested for vandalizing Railway facilities included two Police officers, a staff of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, a special adviser to the Nasarawa state governor, a supervisory councilor for education in Nasarawa-Eggon local government area and one operative of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.

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Although many people have shown more interest in the police case, the attacks on installations and facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC are no less worrisome. The attacks which the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu described as ‘unjustifiable aggression’ appears to be spreading across the country.

According to Yakubu, there have been no casualties so far, but the damage to the physical infrastructure and electoral materials was total. Nothing was salvaged – from ballot boxes and voting cubicles to generating sets and office furniture and equipment. While it is easy to agree with the chairman that the attacks took the form of aggression not everyone would be persuaded that it is also unjustifiable.

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It is true that destruction by aggrieved persons is illegal because that is not what the due process of law prescribes. But let no one forget that what those who won elections by vicious and fake means which others may react to violently also offended the law. Two wrongs, they say do not make a right. Is any of the wrongs justifiable? This is the type of lie, his Majesty, the Oni of Ife, a few days ago, admirably admonished us all to stop telling to ourselves.

In an election, where people rigged to win and sometimes after inflicting injuries on others, will the aggrieved listen to our sermon to follow the rule of law? While no well-meaning person can