The Action Congress (AC) has described as a disaster for the federal government and a disgrace to all Nigerians the defence put forward by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Maurice Iwu, on the last general elections.
In a statement issued in Abuja Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said it was particularly disheartening and against the spirit of the good relations which Nigeria has been enjoying with friendly nations, the way and manner Iwu has gone about spreading false information against the EU and its member states over the elections.
AC said it is now clear who has been propping up the INEC chairman, who has so far refused to accept the verdict of Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike that the 2007 general elections were the worst in the history of the country.
“Iwu has visited the UK and the US to peddle his own minority report that the last general elections were the best in the country. In the process, he has been assisted by the Nigerian High Commission/Embassy in those nations to assemble a pay-per-seat crowd.
“The actions of the missions and the wasting of public funds on a meaningless junketing show that the federal government is behind Iwu’s current campaign to present a different, distorted version of what transpired during the April polls,’’ the party said.
AC said the development has also portrayed President Umaru Yar’Adua as inconsistent.
“On one hand, President Yar’Adua has accepted that the April polls were flawed and has set up a panel to reform the country’s electoral process. On the other hand, he has tacitly supported Iwu as he (INEC chairman) continued to insult the intelligence of Nigerians and peddle lies against friendly nations and organisations while gallivanting around to burnish INEC’s image and distort the outcome of the polls.
“As it were, Iwu has blamed everyone, including the candidates, the electorate and the media, for the disaster that the April elections turned out to be,
instead of accepting his failing as an umpire and his lack of integrity as a man,’’ it said.
On allegations by Iwu that the EU tried to use an offer of financial assistance to control the conduct of the polls, AC said the allegation was as infantile
as it is puerile.
“The main reason Iwu has singled out the EU for incessant attacks was because of its scathing report on the April elections. But even if the EU was as
biased as Iwu wants us to believe, why is it that the reports of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), both based in the US, and the coalition of Nigerian observers all tallied on the outcome of the elections?
“Are we to believe that there was an international conspiracy against the elections? If so, are the Nigerian monitors also part of the conspiracy against
their own country?’’ AC queried.
The party advised the Yar’Adua administration to retrace its steps and call Iwu to order, if only to avoid further embarrassment to the government and people of our great nation.
“As to whether or not the elections were well organised, the judgements so far given by the various election tribunals are there for all to see. And to those who are bent on presenting the 2007 general elections as the best ever in Nigeria, we advise them to wait until all the judgments are in!’’ AC added.