INEC: Let’s talk about integrity – not just transmission mode for results, By Nnamdi Nwigwe

Posted by News Express | 29 July 2021 | 717 times

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We are back to our old habits of over flogging issues. For more than a fortnight now, our newspaper pages and electronic media airwaves have been on nothing else but “electronic transmission of election results” – to be or not to be.

Indeed since the members of the National Assembly entertained us by simultaneously speaking with the two sides of their mouths on the approved mode of getting election results sent to the collation centres, there has been no let-up in popular and media discussions on the subject.

Meanwhile, the gladiators in what someone has aptly referred to as “Echo Chambers” are off on holidays, with the burning matter hanging unresolved.

But I worry that we seem to expend our energy on peripheral issues while the kernel is left untouched.

What should bother us when talking about national elections is the INTEGRITY of the umpires.

To borrow images from the field of Sports: Which is more important, the quality and competence of the referee or the polish and brilliance of his whistle?

I would seem to believe that a Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the mould of Professor Humphrey Nwosu (of the Babangida/Abiola era), can give this country an election that will make everyone happy.

But that Chairman doesn't have to be a “Professor” since we have all experienced many hues and colours of modern Professors, with some serving their term in Prison while others are cooling their heels as they await their turn before the Magistrates for election malpractices.

Let us for once swallow our Pride and go for those known to be INCORRUPTIBLE and COMPETENT to handle this very sensitive job of giving us a credible poll.

We know their breed and where to find them.

For such men and women, it would make no difference as to HOW and by WHAT MEANS the total votes at an election are delivered. Even if results from polling stations to collation centres are ferried by mules, donkeys, or horses.

The personal integrity of the referee is the ultimate answer.

It is about time we stopped inventing excuses to justify injustice, corruption and governmental incompetence.

Nigeria has men and women who can conduct credible, transparent, and true elections in the next 180 days if challenged!

We have them. Yes, we do.

But can we call up the guts and humility to look in the right direction in our search for them? Do those responsible for such appointments really want an honest umpire? Or are they seeking those willing to do their bidding?

I posit that the method of transmitting ballot tallies – analogue or digital – does not, by itself alone, a credible election make. A self-respecting and honest Umpire with the requisite intellectual exertion will make all the difference.

•Nnamdi Nwigwe, a veteran journalist, writes from Owerri, Imo State.


Source: News Express

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