By Gbenga Omokhunu, Abuja
The resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini came under fire on Thursday on his stand over the conduct of local government elections.
Igini was last month on a national television program and several print and online media quoted to have said that Local Government Council elections organized by the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) is an “organized crime”.
Reacting to the development, the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria (FOSIECON) described Igini’s statement as an indictment, adding that: “That the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria (FOSIECON) takes exceptions to such careless, unreasonable and unguarded statement by Mr. Mike Igini and therefore calls for an unreserved apology to FOSIECON and a formal retraction of his statement”.
National Chairman of FOSIECON, Alh. Ibrahim Bako who briefed reporters in Abuja on the situation urged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to intervene and caution Igini.
His words: “The attention of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria (FOSIECON) has been drawn to a public statement on Channels Television popular program “Politics Today” on the 25th November, 2020 and quoted on several Print and online media by one Mr. Mike Igini, a Resident Electoral Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for Akwa Ibom State to the effect that Local Government Council Elections organized by the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) is an “organized crime”. While we want to believe that it was not an official position of INEC but the personal opinion of Mr. Igini, we wish to state as follows;
“That SIECs are a creation of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 197 as amended and not a product of callous and blind statement. It is worrisome when one starts casting aspersions on others just to deviate attention from whatever he hopes to gain by these subtle distractions
“That we are all aware that INEC before now was considered and seen in the same light with SIECs before it was granted full financial autonomy having been placed on first line charge funding.
“That instead of scrutinizing the challenges and possible ways to strengthen SIECs through calls for constitutional amendments, Mr. Mike Igini is tactically positioning himself and others to take over a tacit “organized crime” at the local government level.
“That the personalities at SIECs level are not in any way inferior to those at INEC as SIECs leadership includes notable retired technocrats, Judges, academicians and some retired Resident Electoral Commissioners of INEC who served the Commission and Nation faithfully before Mr. Mike Igini in question.
“We therefore request the Honourable Chairman of INEC to call Mr. Mike Igini to order and cause him to retract his statement and apologize to FOSIECON in the same medium where he made the statement and in at least two national dailies in the spirit of the existing relationship between INEC and FOSIECON.”