INEC’s secret agenda against the South will fail -Aniete Okon

‘How National Assembly should handle National Conference report’

By Henry Umoru

Aniete Okon, a second republic senator from Akwa Ibom State, is pioneer National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Okon was also a member of the just concluded National Conference. In this Interview, he takes a swipe at the controversial creation of more polling units by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which overwhelmingly favours the North.

He tongue lashes the Chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Attahiru Jega, accusing him of nursing an agenda. He also speaks on the 2015 polls and President Jonathan, the North, the 2014 National Conference, insurgency, campaign support groups among other national issues. Excerpts:

INEC recently created new polling units ahead of the 2015 general elections. About seventy percent of it was allocated to the North. How do you react to this?
As far as l am concerned, it is a clear script written by the leadership of INEC to be used as a trump card to subvert whatever the Nigerian electorate may decide at the polls in 2015. INEC, in doing that, created a bank of votes that it intends to use to pander to the desires of the leaders of the North especially in the presidential election. And that arrangement will not fly. It is so completely skewed against the South. There is clearly a flight from sanity somewhere in INEC.

How they intend to push that through eventually, will remain one of the wonders of our recent time. INEC’s action is clearly in breach of the democratic tendencies and occurrences any where in the world.

And you will notice that a lot of the new polling units are in places where we have unrefuted reports that the population there has emptied, either into the Cameroun or other parts of the country. So INEC has created those controversial polling units as a veritable tool to rig elections in keeping with whatever script that has been handed down. The question is: What was the basis to arrive at the skewed and vaunted 85 percent and not 60 or 50 percent proportional distribution?

If as INEC claims that some states were having excess polling units and therefore do not deserve more polling units, what was the justification in allocating additional 121 polling units on the basis of equality of states? Let INEC convince the public that these new polling units are not for the North. INEC has decided to use the Finger Identification System of Registered Voters which is a more unreliable data when it decided to create units.

What were they trying to disguise? What were they trying to cover up? The disproportionate allocation to a section of the country belies the reality of the current situation on ground in those areas.

The question remains, with this proposal, are the people in INEC preparing polling units for ghosts or for real humans? You have polling units in places where clearly people have ceased to live normally. These are areas of interrogation that must be put before INEC. It means that there must be some existing collusion. We noticed that when they conducted election in Yobe, there was no question of disturbance. So there are so many interrogatories.

INEC has really descended into the trenches for the battle in the 2015 elections. The same INEC that said recently that there is no possibility of holding elections in all parts of the country is now readily saying that the elections should hold every where.

And l posit that if the security situation allows for the elections to be held, then the entire leadership of INEC and the insurgents including certain leaders in the North, are complicit in the intrigues that informed this insurrection. We are waiting to see how all these will play out. INEC’s new position is an act of subversion of the security of the country.

You were a delegate to the just concluded National Conference which President Goodluck Jonathan recently received the report of its resolutions. The president has promised to send that report to both the National Assembly and the Council of State. But since there is no provision for a referendum in the Constitution as people have requested, how do we go about implementing those resolutions?
l don’t see any problem with the implementation of that conference report. And the National Assembly is not a lifeless body. It carries the vestments of the wishes, the expectations and hopes of the Nigerian people. And it is a institution capable of rising to the yearnings of the people of this country. And there are antecedents which are with us today.

The Doctrine of Necessity, which was an inspired construction of the National Assembly to lift the country out of the constitutional cul-sac which the unfortunate demise of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua forced the country into, is a clear and indisputable example. You can see from the swing of public opinion, the desires of the people across the length and breath of this country, that there are germane issues that must be resolved through a referendum.

The president, at the inauguration of the National Conference, made it clear that the National Assembly will be called upon to create the necessary legislation for the holding of a referendum in such areas that have become absolutely necessary for public-based decisions involving directly the populace. l don’t therefore see any impediment to a resort to that process. Referendum has always been an instrument, a tool for managing fundamental political decisions. l believe that in the recommendations and amendments of the conference, there are sufficient and incontrovertible grounds for amending the Constitution.

There are critical issues that will definitely fall within the purview of the National Assembly. And for such issues to achieve the national mandate, they must necessarily be subjected to established procedures. I think there is a healthy presumption that the National Assembly will rise to the challenge and call of duty to help ensure a more wholesome and healthier nation.

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