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Iwu: Behold! The Sacrificial Lamb that Takes Away Our Electoral Sins!

By: Franklin Otorofani, Esq.
 Published May 4th, 2010

"I am convinced that the present INEC can conduct free and credible elections.” ---Ag President Goodluck Jonathan.

Oh, really, Mr. Ag President? Well, it turned out Jonathan already had Iwu’s sack order in his presidential briefcase in Washington, DC, while engaging in doublespeak publicly.

“Yet I’m not so naïve as to think that the presidential endorsement of Iwu would automatically save his job. That may not have been its intendment. On the contrary it might actually have been designed to provide a soft landing for Iwu. This is election time and the Ag President might be compelled by other weighty political considerations to quietly ease out the INEC chairman and some of his subordinate commissioners in the pending review promised by the Ag President.”---Franklin Otorofani.

Right on the money! This writer clearly saw through the smokescreen of Jonathan’s gratuitous profession of faith in INEC and let it out prime time ahead of the bombshell when no one else did. Talk about foresight!

Before Yar’Adua’s prolonged indisposition suddenly thrust Jonathan into national limelight, not much was publicly known about the Jonathan persona very much like his reclusive boss before he became president. Although the hermitic Yar’Adua was not terribly visible himself publicly, preferring to hole up in his presidential monastery buried deep inside the famed Aso Rock, Jonathan’s face was completely blotted out of the radar screen neither to be seen nor heard. Thus since 2007, Nigeria has been the first nation on earth to operate an invisible presidency. That must have qualified her for the Guinness Book of Records. It’s a feat that only Nigeria could perform.

But how did Nigeria get into this dark-age and got herself sucked into this leadership eclipse? The election year 2007 springs to mind. Both colorless, self-effacing men were dark horses drafted by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to assume the center stage of national leadership. It has turned out not to be the best decision OBJ has made in his public life and one could imagine him ruing over it. The dark horse from Katsina remained a dark even in power refusing to take his place among his peers in the world stage. It didn’t come as a surprise therefore that the Yar’Adua administration was (is) just as colorless as its head. And although Ag President Jonathan would much rather prefer to create and lead his own administration to be properly recognized and chronicled as the “Jonathan administration,” he’s constitutionally yoked to the “Yar’Adua administration” from which he cannot free himself unless and until he becomes the substantive president, which has since been foreclosed for reasons that are anything but constitutional. Technically, therefore, Yar’Adua is still in power and Jonathan is currently holding forth for him while he recuperates (?) in his monastery attended to by an assortment of imported clerics seemingly on spiritual services contracts with the Federal Government.

They’re now offering round-the-clock intercessory prayers for the president’s quick return to office to enable him return Jonathan to his former invisible status so that the nation can move forward (?) or move backward, depending on your point of view. The reader’s guess is as good as mine. So far, though, the nation has yet to be briefed whether or not she’s getting value for the money being generously paid to the clerics for their nocturnal visits to the seat of power. In law every contract must have valuable consideration and the one with the clerics cannot be different. What is the consideration or is it pro-bono? Someone owes the nation an answer. Jonathan needs to update the nation on that because it’s tax payers’ money that’s being thrown at some opportunists trading in the name of God. But he seems to have imbibed the Yar’Adua code of silence which offends the notion of transparency and accountability of the government to the people.

But that’s where the comparison ends. Jonathan has cut an enigmatic profile of one who’s ready to stoop to conquer, unlike his predecessor, former VP Abubakar Atiku, who neither stoops nor conquers, but conquered. Jonathan commands and projects a disarming aura of simplicity and innocence that masks his tall political ambition and granite determination to actualize it. And he seems to have some Machiavellian streaks in his constitution—of the end justifying the means. Since Jonathan cautiously and tepidly stepped into Yar’Adua’s presidential shoes as Ag President, courtesy of the Doctrine of Necessity, he has left no one in doubt that he’s anything but Yar’Adua in the decisive manner he has handled thorny issues assailing the polity. From the demotion of former AGF Aondoakaa to the un-fancied, obscure Ministry of Special Duties, to the firing of the former National Security Adviser, and thereafter to the dissolution and reconstitution of the Federal Executive Cabinet, coupled with the revamped war on corruption, Jonathan has demonstrated that he needs no executive tutorials in the use of power. He appears to have mastered the art of power in the deft and decisive manner he has wielded and deployed it to devastating effects. Part of his decisive use of power, however, has to do with his understandable desire to make an impact within the limited timeframe available to him before the next election, tentatively slated for January, 2011, for which he has not altogether ruled himself out. 

He has my unflinching support, if indeed he desires the office as I had put out in a previous article, because I believe and rightly so, that he has the right to vie for any office in the land like every other Nigerian if only to rubbish the notion that the presidency of the nation could be zoned to a particular section of the country to the total exclusion of other sections. The nation is not privy to that unwritten, private code. I don’t believe in the anachronism of turn-by-turn or so-called rotational presidency. And he has precedents to guide him should he decide to contest. Late Abubakar Rimi was opposed to the PDP zoning formula and contested against OBJ in 2003 in the party’s primaries. The PDP didn’t stop him.

At this moment Jonathan is riding on a rollercoaster of popularity on his job performance. And if he were to contest election against his boss at this point in time, he would coast to victory effortlessly over Yar’Adua all things being equal. But the honeymoon will not last. It never does anyway. If in doubt, he should ask the United States President, Barack Obama, whose popularity was in the stratosphere at his inauguration, where his job approval ratings are at the moment. As productive as Obama is, his job approval ratings are currently in the low thirties at the moment—one of the lowest in recent memories. And if he were to go for re-election today, he would be roundly trounced by his opponent. The once invincible Obama aura has worn thin within his first year in office.  And every election candidate Obama endorsed and campaigned for has lost an election from senatorial race in New Hampshire for the bye election to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Democratic icon, Ted Kennedy, to gubernatorial race in Virginia, and even to New York’s mayoral race in a city where the Democrats outnumber Republicans almost three to one. He has gone to the state of Nevada to campaign for the embattled Harry Reid and the augury is not pretty for the Senate Majority Leader. He has also gone to the state of California to campaign for the beleaguered senator Barbara Boxer and the augury is not flattering either. All of a sudden the once magical name “Obama” while still hugely popular abroad, has become a huge political liability in the United States and the surest way to lose an election is to have President Obama campaign for the candidate—all because he has sought to please every fringe group in the country by pursuing what appears to be populist policies the same way Jonathan appears to be doing. Well it turns out the people are not impressed after all! Obama has miscalculated. That should serve as poignant lesson for Jonathan—that it is not altogether a wise thing to want to please everybody by taking actions that are seemingly designed to curry favors and score cheap political points.  Leadership is not a popularity contest and the earlier Jonathan gets that into his mind the better for him.

His bombshell on Iwu on his arrival from the United States has all the trappings of a patronizing and embarrassing afterthought, which gave him away not as someone who was ready to lead on this issue, but willing to be led by the nose by the forces opposed to Iwu at home and abroad. More pointedly, however, Jonathan has cut an image of someone who is ready to sacrifice others to achieve his political ambition. Piece by piece the real Jonathan in the Jonathan that we see but knew little about is beginning to reveal itself in interesting dimensions. He seems ready to break skulls to get his way and goes out of his way to curry political support from critical constituencies that happen to be anti-Iwu. His hot pursuit of ex-Delta State Governor, James Ibori, and the PDP Chairman, Victor Ogbulafor, coupled with his summary ouster of Maurice Iwu while at the same time taking steps to rehabilitate el-Rufai and Nuhu Ribadu are clear pointers of the Jonathan game plan. How far he is prepared to go is still up in the air. But sooner rather than later, Jonathan will find out that those anti-Iwu opposition elements whose support and approval he is out to court to actualize his political ambition will be the first to turn on him and undermine his political ambition when it matters most, not Iwu. He will come to learn that bitter lesson in politics that the present honeymoon with the opposition is nothing but fleeting sunshine that will soon be replaced with dark clouds. The very notion of placating the opposition in politics is not only naïve but counter-productive as President Obama has since found out with the Republicans in the United States who are doing everything to undermine his presidency and ensure his failure as president so that they could regain power. While it might sound wicked, it’s the duty of the opposition to unseat the government formed by an opposing party. Jonathan has a rude awakening ahead of him from the AC and the CNPP and, indeed, the NLC, all of which he’s out to please and to whose leaders he has now naively and timidly offered Iwu as sacrificial lamb.   

Now, let’s put matters in context. The first quote above was attributed to Jonathan while he was in Washington, D.C., and the second belongs to this writer taken from an article published earlier this week titled: “Iwu: Changing Perceptions & Presidential Absolution before His Crucifixion” that is still running. Both quotes have been deliberately juxtaposed to highlight two things. (1) That Jonathan is first and foremost a politician and all politicians are given to double-talk as their trademark even when statesmanship and candor demand otherwise.

In general, politicians are unable to remove the politician in them and assert their statesmanship in matters of national importance. When they’re boxed into a tight corner from which they need to extricate themselves momentarily, they quickly reach for their toolbox and pull out the tool named, “Double-Speak” and use it to wriggle themselves out of an embarrassing or uncomfortable position in which they find themselves. Jonathan found himself in such a spot while abroad. In his widely publicized interview by Christine Anampour of the CNN during his recent visit to the United States, Jonathan uttered the quote reproduced above. In that quote, he clearly and unambiguously expressed his conviction about the ability of INEC headed by Iwu to conduct free and credible election in 2011. These are his own words not mine, uttered, not privately at the ‘Ogogoro’ bar under the influence, but soberly and publicly to a combined local and international audience that was glued to every word that came out of his mouth. Those words were uttered deliberately, thoughtfully, prudently, and convincingly to send a clear message about his disposition toward INEC.  Yet barely the presidential jet that brought him back from Washington, DC, touched down at the Abuja International Airport than Jonathan made a complete volte face and turned tail.  And he was in such a hurry to take back his words that he couldn’t even wait for Iwu’s statutory tenure to expire in June before he sent him packing!  That is the way of politicians not of statesmen. It would appear that Jonathan was carrying Iwu’s sack order in a time bomb in his presidential briefcase from Washington, DC, that needed to be detonated fast before it exploded in his face! That would perhaps explain the mad rush to drop the bombshell when the man Iwu had only one month to go and be eased off quietly without making this unnecessary splash and creating bad blood.

The question that naturally agitates the mind of all reasonable men therefore, is why the rush? Why the complete volte face as soon his presidential jet touched down in Abuja? Only Jonathan can truly answer that question. But here is my educated guess. While abroad and away from the intense pressure at home, Jonathan considered himself a free man to air his opinion candidly as he saw fit from the depth of his soul, and that’s’ why he used the word “convinced”. The statement on INEC credited to him while abroad could not have been made in Nigeria without hell being let loose by the anti-Iwu megaphones. He didn’t have the guts to make such as statement considered sacrilegiously favorable to INEC at home.  However, by publicly voicing his conviction that “the present INEC can conduct free and credible elections,” Jonathan had boxed himself into a tight corner from which he needed to extricate himself fast before his own credibility was called to question. And sure enough he got a tongue lash from the AC loudmouth, Lai Mohammed, over his comments on INEC. As soon as he got home it dawned on him that his candid and forthright appraisal of Iwu’s INEC had inadvertently ruffled some political feathers at home for which he needed to recant and do damage control. So with Iwu’s tenure about to end in June, why not cut him loose now to demonstrate that he was serious with the electoral reform starting with Maurice Iwu? It couldn’t have been any easier than that. Could it? But I’ll tell you this: the electoral reforms will start and end with the removal of Iwu!

And the orgasmic reactions of this constituency to Iwu’s removal from office bear eloquent testimony to the fact that Jonathan has delivered on their number one agenda of Iwu’s ouster. It doesn’t matter that in doing so, Jonathan may have, in fact, broken the law since Iwu’s tenure expires on June 13, and not April 28, 2010. As far as the law is concerned, Iwu remains the substantive head of INEC until his tenure expires on June 13, 2010!  Iwu cannot validly be removed from office except on the grounds stipulated under the law and his purported removal is null and void and of no effect whatsoever not having been consummated under the law appointing him. Therefore, anyone who purports to act as Chairman of INEC at the moment before June 13, 2010, is acting ultra vires. Phillip Umeadi, who purports to be the acting Chairman of INEC is acting in vain and all his actions are complete nullity because the office of the chairman is not lawfully vacant at the moment. As such, no one can lawfully function in the position of INEC Chairman until Iwu either resigns his office or is lawfully removed from office in strict conformity with the statutory provisions under which he was appointed. Under both labor and administrative laws, an appointment with statutory flavor must be made or terminated under the statutory provisions and not by executive diktat. A nation of laws should be governed under the law and not by the whims and caprices of its leaders. I thought we’re operating under the rule of law. Where has it all gone all of a sudden? Are we back to square one or is this another Nuhu Ribadu saga all over again? Lord, have mercy!

Anyway, I’ll leave that to Iwu and his lawyers. For all he cares, he might not be interested in pursuing this matter having indicated earlier that he was prepared to quit if asked to. Yet it would be nice to challenge the legality of his premature ouster if only to delimit the boundaries of presidential powers in the hiring and firing of INEC helmsmen. It is important to do this because of the presumed independence and importance of the office to the conduct of free and fair election. Immunity of the office from whimsical and capricious executive meddlesomeness and threats of removal is germane to the independence of the office and so is the funding of the agency. INEC is too sensitive and important an agency for its head to operate perpetually under the constant fear of removal by the executive and Iwu’s premature ouster provides a veritable opportunity to test the legality of Jonathan’s action in the court of law, not the court of men. And as an indication of the confusion that Jonathan’s hasty order on Iwu has generated, a national newspaper reported the mess that has since become the staple at INEC few months before the general election. There is now power tussle going on at INEC. Here is the report as presented by the Sun Newspaper in its Sunday 050210 edition:

“A source in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said on Saturday that the Presidency is not happy with the “seeming power grab by Umeadi because the last thing the Acting President would want now is a crisis of succession at INEC. We don’t know on whose authority he is acting because as I speak, nobody has written him any letter authorizing him to act as INEC Chairman pending the appointment of a substantive chairman.”
Reminded that the statement asking Iwu to proceed on terminal leave requested him to hand over to the most senior National Commissioner with immediate effect, our source retorted; “The word immediate effect is a military language which has no place in a democracy. In any case, what are the criteria for determining the most senior? All of them are National Commissioners and they are equal. Moreover, Iwu was not sacked. Yes, he has proceeded on terminal leave and won’t return as INEC Chairman, but he remains so until June 13 and should therefore decide who to hand over to unless the government in its wisdom nominates an Acting Chairman. But it is absurd for someone to nominate himself. I think the Government has realized its mistake.”

Oh, so Iwu was not sacked after all? Why wasn’t that made clear in the statement issued by the government? The impression has been created by the government hasty and untidy handling of this matter that Iwu had been fired, when in fact he couldn’t be fired under the law and he was not! Oh, so the government has now realized its mistake? Great! How about putting out another statement to set the records straight which is to the effect that Prof. Maurice Iwu who is currently on vacation is still the substantive head of INEC and remains so until June 13, 2010!

(2) That some of us were not taken in by Jonathan’s effusive endorsement of INEC in Washington, DC. The quote reproduced above clearly shows that this writer already had the inkling that Jonathan might have been engaged in double-speak and his expression of conviction about the present INEC to conduct free and credible election should be taken with a pinch of salt. And that informed the title of my previous article referenced above, which correctly predicted the turn of events and bade farewell to Maurice Iwu while pleading still for his retention for a second term, nonetheless.

While Jonathan may have endeared himself to the anti-Iwu forces, he has dealt his own credibility a huge blow which will take a while to repair. A leader cannot go back on his words so cavalierly and expects to be trusted thereafter. Trust must be earned not awarded on the cheap. A leader’s words must be his bond and Jonathan has signally failed to live up to that standard in his handling of Iwu’s removal. And all the self-serving praise he’s getting from the anti-Iwu quarters cannot even begin to repair the damage he has inflicted on his own reputation. There are millions of Nigerians who are silently asking the question today, why Iwu and why the rush? By pitching his tent with the vocal minority, Jonathan has alienated himself from the silent majority whose publicly adopted position in favor of Iwu has been so flagrantly ignored.

A section of the Nigerian press always prefers to go to Iwu bashers to seek their reactions to his removal as if it doesn’t already know what their reactions would be. Yet it would not seek out the reactions of those in support of Iwu’s retention because it’s out to project only one point of view that is decidedly anti-Iwu in order to create the illusion that his removal is in accord with popular sentiments. Yet no one has conducted any credible opinion polls on the matter to correctly gauge or ascertain the disposition of the public toward Iwu’s tenure and continued stay. That is not a very difficult thing for the press to do but it prefers to act as the megaphones and amplifier of the anti-Iwu forces. All we hear is either AC’s Lai Mohammed bashing Iwu or the NLC and some so-called civil society groups bellyaching about INEC. That doesn’t necessarily represent in any shape or form, public opinion on Iwu, and I stand to be corrected by the numbers.

Yet we know that there have been public demonstrations in favor of Iwu’s retention. We know that several civic organizations have openly come out in support of Iwu’s retention. We are aware that nearly all the governors and members of the legislatures are in support of Iwu’s retention. We know that several notable individuals have written in support of Iwu’s retention. But the Nigerian press would not go to them to seek out their views about Jonathan’s hasty action. That is the manipulation of public opinion that I had dealt with extensively in my previous article alluded to above in which a certain point of view is relentlessly projected to the public consciousness through propaganda as to assume the semblance of public opinion calculated to influence public policy.


Well-worn Pathway

However, the point must be made that Iwu’s removal, far from being exceptional, follows a familiar pattern.  Jonathan is only following the precedents that he inherited from past Nigerian leaders. We’ve gone down that road before, not once, not twice, but always. Haven’t we? In fact, it has turned out to be the only path we know as a nation. We’re acting like the proverbial carpenter who sees every nail as a problem and the hammer as the only solution. In Nigeria, we have come to view all institutional problems as a nail and the solution as the hammer. Whenever any institution is grappling with challenges, we quickly reach for the machete and savagely hack off the head of the institution like over excited cannibals and then go back to business as usual. That’s what is currently happening at NNPC whose head is chopped off every twelve months or so on the average and the results is an NNPC that cannot compete with its peers in other parts of the oil producing world. And yet we keep asking ourselves, why are we not growing? And we keep wondering aloud, why is our nation not stable?  And we keep complaining about our weak and fragile institutions? Give me a break!

Who is going to build them? Is it the new man who is unsure of his tenure and busy helping himself to whatever he can grab while the party lasts or the one who has left with his loot? Please show me who is going to build and grow our national institutions to maturity? Is it another Nuhu Ribadu or el-Rufai who would be thrown out and hounded into exile on trumped up charges? Or is it another Professor Charles Solubo who would be thrown out and disgraced in his home state as the NPN did to Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu who was set up by his own party to be defeated by unknown quantity in his home state in the 1983 senatorial election? Give me a break, please! It’s not going to happen and we must continue to wobble and fumble along as a nation because Nigerians are not institutional builders but institutional destroyers. That is our national character laid bare!

It’s been nearly three years since Justice Mohammad Uwais submitted its Electoral Reform Report to the present administration but nothing concrete has been done with that report. Yet even under the old order the maturing INEC under Iwu had conducted three successful elections widely acknowledged to be credible, free and fair by all reasonable men and women. And just when the nation was getting used to this breather and settling down for a better electoral outing in the midst of the preparations for the forthcoming general elections, we have yet again, like a cursed people, reached for the machete and chopped off the head of INEC. And like the savages that we are, we’re jubilating over the demise of the head of INEC.  But what are they jubilating over? Is it the crude and abrupt disruption of the preparations for the forthcoming general elections or display of sadism over the fall of an arch enemy? It is Nigeria’s progress that has been rudely set back, not Maurice Iwu’s whose tenure is all but expired anyway. 

We know for a fact that the hand of the clock has been turned back not forward over the preparations for the next election. It will take at least three months for a new man who has not even been appointed yet to settle down to business in an election that is less than seven months away. What has the nation gained from the fall of Iwu? The wise tell us that a bird in hand is worth more than a thousand in the bush. What is the guarantee that Iwu’s replacement will be better than Iwu? This is how Nigerians were clamoring for OBJ to go only to be replaced with a worse leader who couldn’t implement a single program and moved Nigeria two, some might say, three steps backward. We may yet witness a similar outcome with the ouster of the INEC Chairman unless his replacement comes directly from heaven. But even so Nigerians will still complain of rigged elections because no defeated candidate accepts his defeat in Nigeria. It will be a miracle indeed if Iwu’s ouster changes this negative national condition regarding our elections. 

But how would the government of a more stable nation have handled a matter like this. There are so many examples that would serve to enlighten us on how such issues of perceived institutional failures could be more responsibly and profitably handled by the government of the day. However, recent examples in the United States would suffice if only because Nigeria is operating a similar system of government. In recent memory there have been several cases of gross institutional failures that have caused the United States terrible embarrassment including damages to lives and property. The first that readily comes to mind is the 2000 presidential election fiasco that put the nation on edge. Remember the Florida electoral debacle with the “hanging chards” in the voter cards that disenfranchised millions of voters, especially African Americans, thus causing candidate Al-Gore to lose the election to GW Bush? You remember that, don’t you? Well, that was caused by institutional failure and the US Government responded not by firing anybody in Florida but with a law to reform the electoral system. It’s called the Voting Rights Act (VRA).  And how could we not remember the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Prisons scandals! Both were caused by institutional failures that caused the United States huge embarrassment. Yet not a single head rolled! Rather the system was fixed by the US Government. America’s underbelly was exposed by the devastating Katrina Hurricane that flattened an entire city of New Orleans resulting in deaths and dislocations that still hunt the city to this day. That too was caused by institutional failures at all levels. Yet the US Government did not fire a single official. Rather it mobilized men and materials in one of the biggest operations in American humanitarian history and fixed the problem. Not a single individual lost his/her job on account of the institutional failures.  What about 911 terrorist attacks on World Trade Center, New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC? Institutional failures were blamed for the attacks just like the attempted suicide attack on an American Airline by Nigeria’s Abdul Muttallab, which was similarly blamed on institutional failures. Yet not a single head rolled! Not even President Obama who had promised to hold people accountable for the “systemic failures” could raise his hand against any official because it is un-American to look for scapegoats. What did the US Government do instead? As in the rest, it moved to fix the problems. Where loopholes were discovered, the government moved to plug them. Where weaknesses were discovered, the government moved to strengthen and toughen the system. Where resources proved inadequate, the government provided them. That is what the US government is dealing with at this very moment with the 2008 financial meltdown which was yet again blamed on regulatory failures. Yet not a single head rolled.

Yes the same US that literarily ordered Jonathan to fire Iwu would protects its own public officials implicated in institutional failures because no single individual would be made a fall guy for a systemic failures unless a clear case of sabotage is established against him. A nation of laws follows due process. And the US and European powers would not even make a case for the change of electoral chiefs in Afghanistan and Iraq either, who by all accounts, conducted sham elections in their respective countries that would make Nigeria’s polls a showcase of best practices.  Who is fooling who then? How many more examples do we need in order for us to begin to act responsibly as a nation rather than reaching for machete all the time and hacking off the heads of underfunded, under resourced, and failing institutions? What have we gained from this endless game of musical chairs?

Now, if all we know is the beheading of heads of failing public institutions, why don’t we chop off the heads of the Nigerian Police Force, the IGP with Nigeria currently under siege by criminals? Has he performed better than the head of INEC? Why is the boss of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) still in office with contrabands taking over the nation’s economy? Has he performed better than the head of INEC? And why do we still keep our Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities and Provosts of Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria with every sick public office holder travelling abroad to receive treatment for common ailments at huge costs to the nation? Are they performing much better than the head of INEC? And come to think of it, why do we keep our president who could not implement a single budget year in year out and failed to deliver on his promise of stable power supply at the end of 2009? Did he do much better than the head of INEC? What about those who keep federal roads in permanent state of disrepair all over the country and the nation perpetually in darkness? Have they too performed better than the head of INEC? What about the president himself who has refused to prosecute the perpetrators of electoral crimes since 2007? Has he performed better than Iwu? Tell me about the politicians and their political parties who spend more time planning for rigging than canvassing votes, what happens to them and their leaders? What happens to the PDP leaders that allegedly rigged the 2007 elections? Have they been handed a clean bill of health and better than Iwu? Where do we begin and where do we stop in cleansing the Augean stable? Or is Iwu responsible for all of their failings? Where is our collective conscience and sense of justice and fair-play? These things will come back to hunt us all in future. 

I could go on and on ad infinitum because there is hardly any performing public institution in Nigeria! Yet their heads have not received the kind of treatment reserved for Maurice Iwu and his subordinates in INEC.  If a policy of zero tolerance for institutional failures is to be implemented it is patently unfair to single out some for public humiliation and leave the others to carry on business as usual. It must be across the board and every institution made to feel the heat equally. And it is no excuse that INEC is an electoral agency that is crucial to our democracy. Every governmental institution is crucial to the survival of our democracy whether it is the National Assembly, the presidency, the police, and the even the military. There is more to the firing of Maurice Iwu than meets the eyes. This is not about the sins of the 2007 elections. It’s about calculations for 2011 and Jonathan knows it! Watch out for further developments in the polity that will make this assertion prophetic. As the Americans would put it, it isn’t over until it’s over! But the good news is that there is no more Maurice Iwu to crucify. Jonathan must therefore move quickly and provide the professional agitators with someone else to carry the cross because Maurice Iwu can only be crucified once and never again.  And delay could be dangerous as INEC is already falling apart.

But even as Iwu prepares to hand over to the most senior INEC official later in the week, concerned Nigerians must be asking what exactly are the sins committed by Iwu to have suffered crucifixion in the hands of the Nigerian Pharisees? What exactly are the charges against Maurice Iwu? No one has told us thus far beyond the blanket condemnation of “flawed election,” with no particulars attached. But readers will have the opportunity of having the charges laid out for the first time. You’ve got yourself a date!

Watch out for the “Trial of Maurice Iwu”—coming next! You won’t want to miss it!


Franklin Otorofani, Esq. writes from the United States

Iwu: Changing Perceptions & Presidential Absolution before His Crucifixion.

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