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Following the announcement by the independent National Electoral Commission few days ago of the specific time table for the next year's National Elections, it has become definite that those scattered elections would take place next year beginning with those of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections. Thus, for obvious reasons, from now on, the entire nation would once again be thrown into electioneering frowzy. Yes, it is not new to many of us.

Following the announcement by the independent National Electoral Commission few days ago of the specific time table for the next year's National Elections, it has become definite that those scattered elections would take place next year beginning with those of the Presidential and National Assembly Elections. Thus, for obvious reasons, from now on, the entire nation would once again be thrown into electioneering frowzy. Yes, it is not new to many of us.


With such election processes, the country would be witnessing different activities associated with such elections. In the first place, political parties' now astonished number of 68 registered parties at the last count would be mobilizing its members for a primary election for the selection of those who would represent them for different positions. The apex of those offices would be that of the President, followed by those of the Senators and members of the House of Representatives, then the Governors and those of members of State Houses of Assembly.
Of course in accordance with the associated electioneering characteristics, there is bound to be all manner of frictions, conflicts, competitions and the inter-wavering imperatives of competitive scenarios. For one thing, while the election of the President would attract so much attention, those of State Governors to those in the States would receive equal amount of attention and integrative activities: meetings, canvassing, contacts and the formation of major and minor alliances, horse trading and many other political jingoism and intrigues, all in an attempt to carry the day.
However, what would be the uppermost in the minds of Imo electorates is how the INEC in the State would behave this time around. For quite some time now, since the arrival of the current INEC resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Ezeonu, he has been busy receiving briefs from members of his staff. And perhaps he must be reading handover notes on the performances and activities of INEC staff in the State in the past 2 elections; that of 2011 and that of 2015. If things were put right for him, there is no doubt that he would have learnt or read of some glaring misconduct of some of the top staff of his commission. He should have learnt as to how some members of the top staff boldly compromised the results of the past previous elections in almost every aspect.
In 2015, he would have read or learnt how the introduction of concept of “inconclusive election” was used to tidy and perfect obvious fowl play in favour of one candidate or the other. Perhaps, he may well try to get hold of a copy of book entitled “democracy by military tank” by Okere. It will be an eye opener to him to begin with.
Perhaps, he would have learnt or read of how some top members of the staff alleged to have millions of naira in their accounts and some accounts of their girl friends for which the members of the public did not know what happened to those frightening discoveries and allegations against some members of the INEC staff in the State.
In fact, the allegations were so disheartening and frightening that majority of the electorates in Imo State has virtually given up.
Admittedly, that was the principle reason why in spite of the REC's sustained efforts to stimulate consciousness and awareness in the people of the State, so many voters cards (PVC) have unfortunately remained unclaimed by the electorates.
Apparently, the REC must have been wondering what has gone wrong. It must be known that the people of Imo State are highly politically conscious. But their bitter experiences in the last 2 elections were so devastating that obviously, they had given up on the INEC. Of course this is not the best approach. I remember what one Political Scientist has once said, “in functional politics, if the generality of the electorates refusing to express their voting rights, they would by implication vote for the wrong candidates and enthroning bad governance.”
Equally, Hubert Kings had reasoned, “unless the people collectively elect those who must govern them, they would be planning for bad governance for which they must live to regret.”
Furthermore, William Kauffman, a Political Historian has reasoned, “for every voter that abstains from the polling booth, such a voter has unwittingly endorsed a wrong candidate to govern him.”
Therefore, I submit here that the efforts of the new resident Electoral Commissioner must be encouraged and supported in order to rekindle in the people much needed political consciousness; because if the people refuse to vote, they would be enthroning bad leadership.
Those who would always benefit from flawed elections are still around. They would like to enhance the illegitimate election process and faulty results to ensure that unwanted persons who would benefit only themselves were elected. Then the masses would complain and complain and that will not change anything.
INEC, NOA and other society organizations must come together in the State to plan and discuss how best to stimulate the much needed political consciousness among our people, otherwise, it may not fair better. Because there is one Igbo proverb that says, “once bitten by a snake, if one sees a lizard, he will run.” Because also, according to one English axiom, “once bitten, twice shy.”
The Imo REC must do some consultations and widen his search to embrace those who can help him but are not even willing to come forward because they unfortunately believe that nothing will ever ever change. No, I disagree.

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