Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha has complained over the release of the time table for 2019 general elections released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC
He sued for standing election time table in the interest of governance, saying it has become necessary because once INEC announces its time- table, governance suffers a great deal.
A Press Statement by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo stated that Okorocha remarked that the recently announced time-table for the 2019 election by INEC would obviously take a toll on real governance because the Political players would ultimately use the time that would have devoted to governance, to play politics for election.
The statement reads “Governor Okorocha spoke when he received the new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) posted to the State, Prof. Francis Emeka Ezeonu who paid him Courtesy call at the Government House on Friday, January 12, 2018, Contending too that all political office holders seeking for second term in office should be made to produce their score cards to INEC as part of the Condition to Contest, otherwise, the mandate given by both the people and INEC would amount to nothing.
His words “As I see INEC today coming to pay a courtesy call, I went down memory lane of how it all started. But the truth is that as I sit here listening to INEC officials, I have some kind of feelings that is so unique of remembering my Imo State of 2011 and my Imo State of today. We can only say to God be the glory. The mandate given to me by the people, and the INEC unbiased role, brought about this government. We had serious running battle with INEC officials of the past but with these officials I see today and their qualifications, I have confidence in INEC”.
The governor said, “My concern is that we spend more time talking about election than we spend talking about governance. The recent pronouncement by INEC in January of activities in August, is to the best of my knowledge, taking us off governance into election. And if you look at it we barely have spent two years in governance. And once this is pronounced, everybody’s head goes to elections. So we’re virtually derailed the rest of the time for election”.
According to him, “Having announced the time-table now, I’m sure posters and fliers, and political quarrels will start springing from everywhere. So I think I’d suggest that you should announce it four years earlier and remind the people not to talk about it until the appropriate time so that people don’t get carried away by the air of election because right now, all meetings now would be election, no longer governance. This is the problem we have. We’re taking over democracy from America without a sense of direction”.
His words, “It’s too early to announce the programme. This should have been four years earlier or let it be a standard thing so that people don’t have to get agitated about it. Let it be like Christmas, once it’s announced, everybody gets into the mood of Christmas. The whole nation now is in the mood of election and no longer governance, you can imagine the waste we’re going to have for one year because everybody is talking about election now rather than governance”.
The governor stated “I am hoping for a free and fair election in Imo State come 2019. My concern is that democracy in Nigeria is becoming a bit of challenge and we spend more time talking about elections than we spend talking about governance. The recent pronouncement by INEC in January for activity in August is to the best of my knowledge taking us off governance into elections”.
The governor further stated “INEC is for us, and the people to be elected irrespective of party affiliations are our brothers and Sister. Whatever we can do to guarantee a free and fair elections, we will do that. Government is ready to partner with you to air your jingles free of charge especially in the areas of voters registration exercise and conduct of elections”.
Earlier in his speech, the new INEC Commissioner in the State, Professor Ezeonu said he was at the Government House to meet with the governor for the first time as courtesy demands stating that the journey to 2019 elections has started and for that reason, on April 26, 2017, the INEC Chairman flagged off the continuous voters registration exercise which is a critical step towards the 2019 elections.
He assured Imo people that INEC would be fair to all the Political Parties and to all the Candidates as stipulated in the electoral act.