By Kalu O Kalu
The master story teller, Chinua Achebe in his last book entitled “there was a country” revealed how some British officials aided the rigging of the 1959 general election, the first in the country in favour of a section of the country. That unholy act by those who should have laid a solid foundation for the practice of constitutional democracy in the young nation opened the floodgate of electoral malpractices which have become perennial features of elections in the country. Though there may not be a perfect election, but most Nigerians were happy when late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua acknowledged that he was a beneficiary of flawed election and promised to embark on electoral reforms.
Unfortunately, he was not able to fulfill that promise owing to his demise. However, in line with its ideology of ensuring that challenges facing the country such as violent crimes, banditry, mass unemployment, inflation among others are taking to a new level, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has also taking electoral malpractices to a higher level. The APC rigging machine was lubricanted in 2015 when the former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega in active connivance with some University Professors came up with the idea of alloting votes to states to ensure that his preferred presidential candidate wins the election. The current Chairman, Prof. Yakabu Mohammed proved to be a good student by replicating the same method in the 2019 general election.
Investigations have revealed that the Abia State chapter of the party has concluded plans to adopt the same rigging strategy in the March 27 Aba federal Constituency bye-election. Also, there are plans by APC to compel the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) to announce the result of the bye-election when voting has not been concluded. Abia state former Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu who prides himself as the rigging master strategist, employed this method in the Abia North Senatorial district election between him and Senator MOA Ohuabunwa. Unknown to the APC, the party made known Its intention to rig the forthcoming election when it fraudulently claimed that 40,000 delegates elected Mascot Uzor Kalu as Its flag bearer at Enitona Hotels. Orji Uzor Kalu and his cohorts maintained their position even when some members of the party insisted that the said primary election never took place at Enitona Hotels.
The Abia State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) must do everything possible to render the rigging machine immobile by ensuring that only honest and trustworthy party agents are allowed to man the polling units on the day of the election. Perhaps, the antidote to the rigging machine is the visible achievement of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in Aba and other parts of the state. The Governor has proved that his administration and the ruling party is interested in their welfare.
The cheering news is that it is difficult, if not impossible to rig election in Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State. Like Bob Marley said “You can fool some people sometime, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. Orji Uzor Kalu and his family can no longer deceive the hard working people of Aba again. The rigging machine has gone full cycle and has come to a dead end.
Comrade Kalu O. Kalu is the
The Defenders of Democracy,
Abia State chapter.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.