In the last few months, there has been several articles, press statements, social media posts by the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressive Congress(APC), aimed at negatively projecting the Akwa Ibom state resident electoral commissioner, Mr. Mike Igini, who from sounds within and outside the state maintained that he conducted a free and fair election in the state, the 2019 elections. The media campaign of calumny against Mike Igini is a clear case of barking up the wrong tree.
According to Zig Ziglar, an American author ” with integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt”.
This line of thought by Zig Ziglar is what defines Mike Igini, whose integrity is not in doubt, as clearly shown in the conduct of the February 23rd and March 9th general elections. The accusation of Igini by APC leaders in the state for colluding with the state Government and the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP) to rig the 2019 elections in favour of the PDP is frivolous, after their failed attempt to buy him over with monetary inducement, to compromise his integrity ,shift grounds and manipulate the ballot, against the wish of the people.
A bit of history will help in unraveling Mike son of Igini. In cross river state, Irrespective of the political tension that greeted Cross River state from disagreement among members of the PDP, resulting in many factions in the build-up to nomination process in 2011. Despite several malicious publications and physical intimidation, Mike Igini stood his ground, defended his integrity, ensured that the right thing was done. He conducted the polls and left the state with his integrity intact.
The duty of INEC as an electoral umpire is to ensure a symmetrical playing ground for all political parties, showcasing impartiality and neutrality for the sake of posterity. These virtues were exemplified by Mike Igini at all his postings and he did not forget to carry his bags of virtues when he was posted to Akwa Ibom state.
The allegations by the APC against Igini in the hope of destroying his integrity was like a man using a hammer to break Kilimanjaro mountain, in the hope of leveling it.
The allegations that he delivered uncollected PVCs to the state government, selected some people for training with sympathy to PDP, were birth in the failed imagination of APC, because the commission invited all political parties, gave them the list to cross-check and give objection, but no party raised any objection.
The commission stated clearly, that when some PVCS was damaged, it was reproduced and were distributed accordingly. Igini was at some point accused of holding private meetings with some groups in the state by APC, all these allegations were unfounded because he refused to travel to Dubai and other places to attend meetings with some APC leaders on their demands. Those who must come to equity must come with clean hands.
Like Caesar’s wife, the electoral commissioner must be above suspicion. There is nothing wrong in suspecting public officers of compromise, but Mike Igini has maintained his stand and showed that indeed, integrity pays. He stated clearly that he did not come to Akwa Ibom state to count money, but votes. Indeed, the votes of the people were counted. Those who cooked up unsubstantiated allegations to impugn his integrity are those who tried unsuccessfully to induce him.
The elections were conducted and winners emerged, in a democratic setting, if any party is unsatisfied with the outcome of an election, the courts are there for litigations. So the continued attacks on the person and integrity of Mike Igini by leaders of APC in the state is uncalled for.
Just like Douglas Adams said, that to give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity. No amount of blackmail from APC in Akwa Ibom state, that will change the fact that Miki Igini is a man, whose integrity subjugates inducement.