Mike Igini, the Akwa Ibom Resident Electoral Commissioner, has said that political elites who are the beneficiaries of Nigerian projects were the greatest threat to the nation progress.
Igini, who stated this while speaking with newsmen in Uyo on Tuesday, attributed desperation on the part of some politicians to fear of credible elections in the state.
He said the political elites are afraid of free, fair and credible elections noting that the people who were supposed to be role models were the ones who committed the highest level of crime in the society.
He said: “The level of police presence and security around communities on elections are a reflection of the maturity of the nation’s democracy and particularly, a reflection of the values of those who offer themselves for elective offices.”
The INEC commissioner condemned the act where some politicians recruited thugs who foment violence and caused mayhem as witnessed on Saturday, February 16, at Obot Akara Local Government Area of the state.
He said: “Who are the ones responsible for the recruitment of thugs? They are the politicians. Who are the ones responsible for the massive importation of fake military, police and other security agencies uniform?
“It is the Nigeria political elites. Who are those involved in the debasement of the ballot system in Nigeria by way of vote buying? They are the Nigeria political elites.
“It is disgraceful that we have these kinds of people as public office holders. It is shameful.
“It represents the lowest level of collective discredit, that the very people who are supposed to be role models are the ones that commit the highest level of crime in our society.
“Any society that does not have role models, good role models, such a society is not a viable one and it may not endure for too long.”
Igini decried the situation where some politicians are attacking INEC offices in the country.
He said: “It appears very many of them are afraid of elections. How can you talk about democracy without democrats? Democracy is not about structures. It is not about buildings.
“Democracy is about values, principles. So what is going on is a reflection of the character and value orientation of the people you call political elites in our country.
“We have good ones but it will seem that the bad ones are so powerful that on a daily basis, they provoke our sense of decency. We basically struggle in this country to maintain our sanity.
“Even for you to stand tall to do the right thing, you are attacked from right, left and center by the worst ones we have in the society.”
He alleged that some of the people seen today in public offices were not supposed to contest for elections.
Igini said: “It is very sad that we have people who are promoting violence. Violence cannot be accommodated in a democracy.
“An election period is a period when a free people are allowed to make a free choice on who should lead them.
“That is the whole essence of the ballot system, but today the ballot is being attacked in response to the procedures that we have put in place.”
He said that the commission was determined to use processes and procedures that are transparent to ensure that votes of the people count in the country.
According to him, votes count is the only way we can give meaning and purpose to the ballot.
He said: “The whole embrace of democracy itself is because it brings about accountability and participation in the process of human development.”