Should INEC allow CAN to monitor 2019 polls?

Posted by Nduka Uzuakpundu | 9 December 2018 | 1,375 times

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The leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) are being unnecessarily ambitious. There appears to be a drive in them, for what’s clearly a selfish – if destructive – motive, structured on inordinate expectations – with a touch of arrogance – to dictate the modalities and constitution of certain crucial political developments in Nigeria. The other day, CAN was reported to have approached the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it wanted to be recognised as one of the posse of observers of the 2019 general elections.

For one thing, by that step, CAN did, decidedly, breach its bounds. Without wishing to sound irreverent, the truth is that there’s nowhere in the Holy Bible where it was stated clearly that those who arrogate to themselves the monopoly of spiritual wisdom – sinless reverend fathers, pastors, bishops, prophets, evangelists, cardinals, general overseers, etc. – should dabble into politics. Is it stated anywhere in the laws guiding the activities of CAN that it should take active part in political activities – including monitoring of elections? When Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded his disciples, in consonance with the Great Commission: “Go ye and teach all nations”; was it implied that they should monitor political elections, so that no lousy or irresponsible character – the likes of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo (alias “CAN my foot”) – marred the transparent and credible exercise by either snatching ballot boxes or buying votes with gargantuan sum of money stolen from the Nigerian treasury. Amen, somebody!

Besides, was there any time in the history of this country, when leaders of political parties approached CAN or swamped its national headquarters, wherever it’s located, with applications that they wanted to monitor CAN elections? But if CAN insists on its ambition, its hereby advised, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to deregister itself as a religious organisation and go about a new status: a political party or pressure group – via INEC or the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Yes, it’s understandable when religious leaders speak out in protest against injustice and unrelieved evil, such as gargantuan corruption, that, since August 1985 up to 2014, has nearly sunk the Nigerian economy, and almost pushed the country too close to the precipice of a failed state. The 2019 general elections would be one funded by the money of Nigerian tax-payers. And, so, one is tempted to ask: does CAN pay tax? If it does, where’s the evidence – an undoctored, if persuasive evidence – expressly approved by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)?

For another, has CAN, indeed, as much as 300-385 observers that it wants INEC to nod at as a swarm that should swell the demography of both registered, seasoned local and foreign observers, who are expected to monitor the 2019 general election? If yes, when and where were they trained? For how long? Whom by? What was the political or electoral content of the training module of CAN’s would-be election-monitoring ambassadors? These questions – and many more, perhaps – should interest not only INEC, but also other discerning, law-abiding Nigerians, who see CAN’s inordinate political ambition as not only an unconscionable deviation from its primary duty of preaching the gospel of salvation and reconciliation of humankind to the Supreme Being, but clearly a condemnable distraction to which INEC should pay less heed.

Nigerian tax-payers are, indeed, disappointed by CAN’s ill-advised electoral ambition. It’s one shade of disappointment that is sharpened by the obvious fact that the leaders of CAN appeared to have been blinded by their selfish intents that they could not draw a bold line of demarcation between politics and religion. If CAN or any of its supposedly politically sagacious operatives want to take an active part in Nigerian politics, they should follow due processes like sloughing their cassocks, call a world press conference – in any of the state capitals of Nigeria, because, in all, CAN has lavishly-furnished offices and press conference halls – to announce such an ambitious and laudable move. To that, INEC would give its nod. To another – declaring the political party of their choice, especially the All Progressives Congress (APC) – INEC would, gladly append its signature!

But because of the peculiar nature of Nigeria, where it’s naturally extremely dangerous to blend politics with religion – with reckless abandon, as CAN, is almost about – INEC, it’s almost certain, would rather turn down or ignore that request. That’s assuming it hasn’t. Otherwise, the Muslims, too, would want their own chosen representatives – including those lavishly beautified with hijab or very thick beards – to monitor every INEC-conducted election. And, you never can tell, the Muslims would be followed very closely by fanatical worshippers of all manner of deities in this country – those of them popularly referred to as apostles of traditional African religion.

And why not. Does this country not belong to them! Lest they accused INEC of nepotism or criminal discrimination! Next? It could be such well-trained and seasoned monitors of political elections as Palm Wine Drinkers’ Association of Nigeria, Association of Looters of the Nigerian Treasury, Congress of Sponsors of Terrorism in Nigeria, Frank Ugboaja Goat Meat Pepper Soup Eaters Party of Nigeria, and, amongst too-numerous-to-be-counted others, Financiers of Murderous Herdsmen of Nigeria. Suppose INEC nods at CAN’s request, is it not likely that the religious body will insist that its election monitors be smartly dressed in cassock, hold the Holy Bible in one hand and a gargantuan bell in the other, as if they are out on evangelism?

But joking apart, the leaders of CAN should realize that the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN), as amended, has no provision for any religious group, association or congress to monitor any INEC-run election in this country. The laws setting-up INEC or the 2014 Electoral Act (as amended), too.  It’s, indeed, a clear case of idleness on the part of CAN’s leadership to meddle with the political process of this country. Why now, if one may ask? Is it that CAN has lost confidence in INEC’s ability to conduct a free, fair, transparent, peaceful and credible election? And by what reasoning? Where are the facts to that effect? It would have been a lot tidier, than is presently the case, were it that it was INEC that approached CAN to lend it, even if for a gargantuan fee, its swarm of seasoned, lynx-eyed election monitors.

Still, was it not the same INEC that conducted 2014 general elections that was widely ruled as free and fair, credible and peaceful? INEC’s ambition to maintain that rare – and burgeoning – feat is, perhaps, quite in tune with the deeply-seated expectations of a vast majority of Nigerian tax-payers and dispassionate voters to be intolerant of CAN’s intent at an unprogressive – if destructive – intrusion into the waters of Nigerian politics. INEC, it’s advised, should tell the leaders of CAN that they should, like the famed prayer warriors of the Pentecostal mould, pray fervently – perhaps for an agreed gargantuan fee – for the success of the 2019 general elections. Prayers can surely move mountain.

CAN’s politically-ambitious leaders may disagree, but there’s a widely held deep suspicion that they want to cause some religious crisis for the Buhari administration and the rest of the APC. CAN, it’s true, has never been at ease with the Buhari administration’s unswerving campaign against the gargantuan corruption that was committed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), especially under the Jonathan administration; the gargantuan corruption from which its members have profited immensely.

Two former governors – who are now behind bars – were very close allies of CAN. That probably explains why CAN wants to find any crevice in the Nigerian political process into which to shove itself, so as to muddy the spring of peace, security and orderly process of human development for the Buhari administration. That’s the same CAN – unhappy, as it clearly is, for the can of gargantuan worms being unearthed by the Buhari administration – whose members were dirty errand boys of the Jonathan administration: if they were not ‘fetchers’ of arms in the international black market for the PDP administration, they were the ones who winged themselves in private jets, shipping stolen money from the Nigerian treasury to foreign climes – including South Africa. Was all that part the teaching of the Christian religion or the Holy Bible? Was all that, in any way, tidy for the peace and security of this country?

CAN’s desire to monitor the 2019 political elections – is it, truly, ‘in a general, honest thought’ to ensure that it’s free, fair and credible, let’s assume? And, so, boost national cohesion about which the Buhari administration is. Today’s CAN – by its electoral ambition – it could safely be argued, has committed ‘an unpardonable mortal sin’ and, therefore, come short of INEC’s glorious approval to monitor the 2019 general election. And to avoid the fire and punishment that is sure to come, its leaders should kneel down somewhere and confess their egregious sins. Alleluia, somebody!


Source: News Express

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