Mike Igini: Nigerian politicians biggest threat to democracy

Mike Igini

Barrister Mike Igini, the former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom state, has said that Nigerian politicians are the biggest threat to the country’s democracy. The next general election is in 2023.

Even as he said this, he stated that the recent rise in election violence and the attacks on INEC offices across the country were caused by desperate politicians. He also noted that these politicians were spreading false information and using violence to get what they wanted.

Igini, who was a guest on the Arise News breakfast programme, The Morning Show, in Abuja on Wednesday and whose broadcast was monitored by NewsXtra, said that the country’s politicians use terror as a tool to win elections.

He said, ‘the political class want to use violence, misinformation, disinformation, and every available terror tactic to win elections next year. In fact, Nigerian politicians are the greatest threat to our democracy because they can go to any length to subvert the processes leading to free, fair, and credible elections.

“I am convinced that they are responsible for the rising incidents of electoral violence and attacks on INEC offices across the country. They simply want to disrupt the elections because they are already afraid they are going to lose woefully “.

Igini says that his ten years as REC have taught him that Nigerian politicians are the most complicated people to deal with. He says they are too cunning and will do anything illegal, including blackmail, to get what they want.

On the other hand, the outspoken former REC said that the Electoral Act 2022 gave the electoral umpire the power to make sure elections are free and fair, especially when technology is used to run elections in the future.

“I want to believe the present INEC leadership has the will to conduct free, fair, and credible elections because the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC Election Guidelines have the Commission’s unfettered powers to deploy technology in the conduct of the general election.

“We cannot afford not to get it right in 2023 because there is anger in the land and there is hunger in the country; hence the 2023 general election is very critical for the survival of Nigeria. It is unlike any other election in the country”, Igini asserted.

He did say that, though, Nigerians were in charge of the election process now that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing Portals (iREV) were used on election day.

He said, “Hope is reborn in Nigeria with the introduction of technology to drive our elections. Now, power resides with the people, and it is domiciled in the Polling Units. By February 25, power will be domiciled in Polling Units. Politicians planning to rig the 2023 general election will lose woefully”.

Igini told Nigerians that they should go check to see if their names are on the INEC Voter Registers, which are now on display in different electoral wards across the country. Later, the registers will be moved to all 774 local government areas in the country.

He also said that every eligible voter should use the window to check if their name is on the voter register. This is the first step to voting for a trustworthy presidential candidate who will fix Nigeria.