BY MIKE IMOH
The independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has said the 2015 general Elections were not credible despite the accolade received by Prof. Attahiru Jega,the former Chairman of INEC.
In a rebuttal to an article written by Emmanuel Onwubiko, published in ThisDay Newspapers, INEC’s spokesman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, said despite praises over the conduct of the 2015 elections, the courts have nullified 80 of the elections.
“If the 2015 general elections were that perfect why did the court nullify 80 of them,” Oyekanmi said in his rebuttal.
Below is the full rebuttal:
I was quite disappointed but not surprised about your ill-informed article on INEC published in today’s ThisDay newspaper. Is this your idea of Human Rights Activism – spreading lies, disparaging individuals and making false allegations?
You said Prof Yakubu headed “an incompetent TETFUND”. But what do you really know about TETFUND? I can tell you that in the history of that government agency, Prof. Yakubu’s tenure was the best ever.
For instance, he established the Book Development Fund, which has so far converted several of our country’s best PhD Theses into textbooks and distributed free to all Universities. He established Research Fund and many Universities could not even take advantage of it because they were not ready. His established another Fund, which enabled University and Polytechnic teachers to embark on postgraduate studies (PHD) in both local and foreign universities. They also attended international conferences. I can go on and on and I did a lot of articles on all these. Prof Yakubu prepared the Needs Assessment Document for Universities which established the gaps in all ramifications in the university system. This was when Prof Ruqayyatu Rufai was Education Minister. He was the only TETFUND Executive
Secretary that ASUU praised. Go and check.
You also alleged that INEC under Prof Yakubu “has fumbled and failed clearly to conduct conclusive re-run elections” Why didn’t you, for instance, volunteer to help INEC in the December 10 Rivers Re-run and serve in at least one local government? INEC has so far conducted 165 elections most of which were court-ordered arising from the 2015 General
The same 2015 general elections that some of you have been praising to high heavens. If the 2015 general elections were that perfect, why did the courts nullify 80 of then? And mind you, more than 80% of the elections conducted by the Yakubu-led INEC were conclusive at first ballot. Yet, it was only last December that the Commission had a full compliment of National Commissioners. These are facts which you can easily ask us to provide if you don’t know. But you chose to shoot blindly. Of course, you did it in purpose.
You are a disgrace to professional journalism. You were at The Guardian’s Abuja office. Now, tell me what you accomplished? You did not even rise to become a Deputy Bureau Chief, not to talk of a Bureau Chief. And how many awards did you win? How many fellowships did you win? What were your achievements as a journalist, either before you joined The Guardian or after? Tell me! I have a fair idea of what you did at the Abuja Bureau and the circumstances under which you left. I have the facts. You cannot just sit in one corner and be disparaging other people unjustly. That is not how to be a crusader or an activist. You were simply reckless and very rude, and this is a shame.
Rotimi Oyekanmi is the Chief Press Secretary to INEC CHAIRMAN.