✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Carrington’s unwarranted outburst

Carrington who is married to a Nigerian lady,  has  not  relented  in his  war  against  the  Nigerian  state  even  now  that  the country  has embraced …

Carrington who is married to a Nigerian lady,  has  not  relented  in his  war  against  the  Nigerian  state  even  now  that  the country  has embraced  democracy. Politically inept, but emboldened by the arrogance of an   archetypical imperialist   agent,  the former  American  envoy recently descended  heavily on  INEC  and  its  leadership  while sermonizing on a number of weighty issues the  nature of  which he  least understood. His attitude largely confirmed what the late Bob Marley once said philosophically about the psychology of the imperialists. According to this reggae legend, the imperialists believe that the third world does not have the capacity for   anything.  “What  we know is   what   they  teach us” hence  the crude political  strategy which  Carrington  tried   to force  down  our  throats  when he presented a paper recently at Akure, Ondo State, to mark the first anniversary of Governor Olusegun Mimiko in office.

Entitled “Electoral Reform, Good Governance and Democracy”, the paper focused on  the  conduct of  the 2007 general elections,  re-organization of  INEC  to  make it less powerful, and  also  the  expressed fear  that  the  2011  general  elections  might plunge  Nigeria into  chaos  judging  from its   antecedents.

Carrington was corroborated all the way by no less a person than Chief Ken Nnamani who is well known for his anti-INEC stance. It is  not  the intention of  this  writer to take issues   with  these  critics but to expose  the  vacuity  of  their  recipes,  as  well as  spotlight their  arrogance,  nay  profound   want  of  understanding of the  issues  that  attended  the  2007 General Elections  which Carrington  has  characterized   as  the  worst  ever  in our   annals.

As had been explained at various   fora by well-meaning Nigerians, the 2007 general elections constituted   a watershed in our political history. The elections were organized to save the Nigerian nation notwithstanding the tempestuous environment in which they took place.  Were   the elections   to be suspended as  canvassed  by  highly placed but  mischievous  persons, the fate of our young democracy would have been perilous and the consequences unimaginably disastrous. This  explained  why the daunting  logistics  nightmares  which  the last minute Supreme Court judgment  occasioned  could  not  deter  INEC  from  conducting  the  elections and  credit must  be  given  to  the  electoral   body  for  its  decisiveness  and  boldness.

What’s  more,  these  historic  elections  made  possible  a feat never  before  achieved in  the  history  of  our  experimentation  with  electoral   democracy. It brought about the first transition from a government which had served two terms to another. And if these elections which brought about this feat are adjudged a disaster, what would Carrington say about the 1964 elections which presaged the Nigerian civil war?

Nigeria’s democracy is fully on course and INEC, very conscious of its responsibilities, is poised to further deepen and consolidate our democratic culture in spite of the apocalyptic projections of Carrington and his Nigerian collaborators.

Apart from the reforms canvassed by the Justice Mohammed Uwais-led Electoral Reform Committee (ERC), the Commission, I have it on good authority, has embarked on a number of reforms on its own to under-gird the process. In concert with international best practices, it has automated it operations. It has put together a database of voters by capturing their biometrics and photographs. To perfect this database, the Commission, according  to  its leadership,  is  set to review the process beginning from April this year. Before now, Nigerian Election Management Bodies had used manual registers which were susceptible to inflation and manipulation.

The Commission is no longer engaging ad hoc staff to conduct elections. It discovered that these ad hoc staff paid no allegiance to it and could easily be bought by desperate politicians. This time, it is using members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), young idealistic Nigerians whose discharge depends on good conduct and INEC staff whose careers are at stake should they indulge in any untoward conduct during elections. Thus far, the Commission has used Corps members and its staff only to conduct the governorship re-runs in Kogi, Adamawa, Sokoto, Cross River states and the recent Anambra governorship election. Even its most vociferous critics would agree that there has been a marked improvement.

The Commission has also made the election process more transparent than hitherto. From the distribution of ballot papers to the collation and declaration of results, everything is now done in the full glare of party agents, security agents, the media, observers and civil society organisations. This openness has brought acceptance and credibility to the process such that for the first time in our annals, defeated candidates are graciously conceding defeat and congratulating winners.

To further strengthen the process, the Commission has embraced the adaptive management style to conduct its affairs. It has learnt from its mistakes and has resolved to strain itself to improve based on these lapses. Following the recent Anambra state Governorship Election, for instance, INEC realized it still had challenges with the Voters’ Register hence, its resolve to review the Register comprehensively across the country.

I   congratulate    Mimiko on  his  one  year  anniversary  as  the   governor  of  Ondo State but  wonder  how  he  felt in  the face of  the unguarded remarks and predictions made   about  his  country  by  his  guest speaker   who is  obviously unmindful of  the revolutionary  changes  which have  taken place in  our   electoral  system   since  his  disengagement  as  United  States  Ambassador  to  Nigeria.

In  other  countries, people  would have   sought to know  both  the  connotative  and denotative  interpretation of  Walter  Carrington’s  predictions.  Rather, he was hailed and eulogized as a Messiah.  It is only  time  that  would  unveil  the hypocrisy  in  Walter  Carrington’  unnecessary  sermon.

Bimbo Adekunle, Oke Ado, Ibadan, Oyo State.

VERIFIED: It is now possible to live in Nigeria and earn salary in US Dollars with premium domains, you can earn as much as $12,000 (₦18 Million).
Click here to start.