By Emma Amaize
IN THE MIDST of the latest denial by the President, Congress of All Progressives, APC, Media Campaign Council, Edo State, Mr. John Mayaki, that he did not give an imprimatur to any defamatory publication against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Resident Election Commissioner, REC, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Mike Igini, some respected Nigerians have discovered their minds on the activist and electoral referee.
Among them are the South-South leader and elder statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark; The Minister of Transport, Hon Rotimi Amaechi; Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South) and Akwa Ibom State Law Professor and Policy Analyst Dr. Sam Amadi. APC ahead of the Sept. 19 gubernatorial election in Edo state implied that Igini, who spent the night at a hotel in Edo on his way to his home state, Delta, for a funeral ceremony in Ogwashi-Uku, near Asaba, the state capital, was in cahoots with Governor Godwin Obaseki to rig the elections.
The indictment was seen as an attempt by APC to dissuade INEC authorities from deploying Igini, known for his principles, to oversee the election of Edo’s governor.
Had it not been for a clear understanding of him, Igini’s superiors would have regarded the accusation as substantial, especially coming from the ruling party in Abuja. However, the INEC president and other staff members did not believe the story and instead supported it.
An angry Igini, who lost his cool with APC leaders begging him to forgive on the one hand and others saying it was not a problem, on the other hand, last Monday, criticized a N10 billion defamation lawsuit against the president. from the Edo faction, David Imuse and John Mayaki, whose lawyer, AI Osarenkhoe, in a reply 24 hours later denied responsibility and liability.
“Our client did not publish or authorize anyone to publish any allegedly libelous or libelous material,” Osarenkhoe swore in the letter to Igini’s attorney, Clement Onwuenwunor.
Reliable Vote Symbol in Nigeria – Clark
Sparked by what he described as baseless accusations against Igini, Chief Edwin Clark said: “Barr. Igini stands tall among respected election commissioners, he has served the country well by distinguishing himself as a true arbiter in various challenging election situations in the states of Anambra, Imo, Cross River, Rivers, Edo and Akwa-Ibom, where voters have given a general verdict that the outcome of such elections reflected his will expressed on the ballot.
“If he were easily swayed by monetary rewards, he would not have declared in the 2019 election that his job as a referee was to count votes and not count money in exchange for rigged elections. Ironically, it was only in the state of Edo in the 2015 elections that APC won senatorial and federal seats.
“It was in this very state of Edo in the run-up to the 2015 elections that he said publicly that there will be no federal power to determine the outcome of the elections in the state of Edo, but rather the power of the people through the ballots of vote. That was the only state in 2015 in which President Buhari won 46 percent of the vote, APC won senatorial and federal seats in the National Assembly, and won majority seats in the House of the State Assembly in all South- South and Southeast.
“Everyone praised him, particularly the opposition parties in Edo and across the country, who were calling on other states to emulate this patriotic statesman. Barr. Mike Igini is a symbol of hope for a credible election in Nigeria.
“That is why Nigerians were not surprised that President Muhammadu Buhari reappointed him and that he was the only person so appointed among the former resident election commissioners from across the South-South and Southeast. He has the distinguished honor of being appointed by two presidents of two different political parties because of his competence, honesty, and demonstrable strength of character and sense of duty. “
Hope for Democracy – Dr. Amadi, Policy Analyst
For his part, Dr. Sam Amadi said that Nigeria is fortunate to have an electoral referee like Igini, “I congratulate Akwa Ibom REC, Mike Igini for prosecuting INEC officials involved in electoral malpractices. It helps to dissuade people from such an act in the future. The electoral process is so criminalized that the type of example that we are seeing from Mike Igini is the beginning of the enthronement of credibility. “
Mike is uncontrollable – Amaechi
Speaking of his relationship with the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and currently Minister of the Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio, in a box interview, the Minister of Transportation and former Governor of Rivers State, Amaechi stated: “Akpabio challenged me for me to play a role in his failure in the last election. I said, “how?” He accused me of being a friend of the INEC Commissioner. Yes, for God’s sake, Mike is my friend, Mike canceled the Rivers State elections, he was asked to oversee the Rivers State elections in 2018, he canceled them. APC was winning that election, he is my friend, but he canceled it, saying there was violence.
“Mike is uncontrollable, I’ve told everyone who wants to listen. He’s not someone I can call and say to make sure Akpabio wins. Garbage. Mike will cancel an election that worries me and tomorrow he will phone me as if nothing had happened.
“That is the person he is, so there is no way I would have any control with him in any election anywhere in the country. It is not possible, the only thing I can tell you about Mike is that he will not take bribes ”.
Don’t bend the rules – Senator Urhoghide
Senator Urhoghide, who also spoke in a boxed interview, said: “Igini is very well known to me. What he did in 2015 was annoying, very annoying, but the logic behind it was very legal. Let me just say this, we had elections on April 28, 2015 and a week later, he said we should go to a replay in Orhionmwon local government area in Edo state. “
Recalling that there were pockets of other voting units in Ikpoba Okha, Uhumwonde, Oredo and Pastor Ize Iyamu was then in PDP, he added: “I was wondering why the result of Orhionmwon, his local government, was canceled. But let me say this, Igini is an alumnus of the University of Benin like me, when I was in university.
“He told me, ‘Senior, I am canceling this election for my integrity. The local government area has a registry of more than 170,000 voters and those who collected your PVCs are more than 70,000 and you are leading with 38,000 votes, so if all 73,000 come to vote for your opponent, it means that you have lost the elections “.
I said, “If you look at the demographics, it’s 20 to 25 percent voter turnout.” He said that as long as this is the case and the law presumes that all people who have PVC would come to vote. I ripped up the result on his table and said, “to hell with you,” but on second thought, he told me that his knowledge of me and our relationship didn’t stop him.
“Months later, I went for that replay and lost by a 3,000 vote margin, so he was already leading with 38,000, his position was secured, that decision was a lack of integrity.
“That’s why whatever concerns Igini, I know that he doesn’t break the rules. The one in court, I would go and figure it out, but I can testify to the fact that Igini is a man who stands stoically in his position, the way he speaks is the way he is and nothing changes that. ” ‘
Igini is a man of impeccable character – Ighure
Also, Igini’s high school teacher Sir Ighure Alfred (KSM) said: “The crucifixion of innocents only makes them more popular with the people.”
“Those who speak the truth and the defenders of justice, fairness and peace are often hated and punished only by the wicked. I say this in defense of my excellent and good student Mike Igini, Resident Election Commissioner, well known for his zero tolerance for any form of negligence from his days as my student.
“I was his teacher in high school, where I later became a principal before a worthy retirement. I am for Mike Igini any day and anywhere for his impeccable character.
“He had exhibited leadership qualities since his formative years and was in fact the prefect of school punctuality. He demonstrated how to lead by example by arriving at school early before other students and was known as a very strict and serious prefect among his peers and students.
” That he became president of the Government of the Student Union of his University (UNIBEN) was not a coincidence and his appointment as commissioner of the INEC by two different presidents of Nigeria from different political parties, President Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari, it was no accident either.
“They are all testimonies of his good qualities that those of us his teachers saw in him several years ago and that he has maintained until today to our admiration and pride as his teacher.
“I advise disgruntled critics and politicians looking to make cheap popularity out of themselves to stop using Mike Igini as the subject of unnecessary debate to ease their disgust and failures about an innocent man for which he knows nothing given that he is still the REC. of Akwa Ibom and was not deployed to oversee the election of Edo, as at that time such outlandish accusations were made against a man with pristine values that Nigerians have applauded and witnessed in recent weeks. ”