IT IS not an easy job to be a referee in any contest, especially in a political contest. The referee will have to do its utmost best not only to be impartial but to be seen as such in order to satisfy all the contestants. The job of an electoral umpire is much more difficult in Nigeria, where many politicians can easily smell a fat rat, especially when the game is not going their way. Someone has to be blamed for things going awry. Someone has to take the rap for seemingly scuttling political permutations.
In an electoral contest, the person often blamed is the leadership of the electoral umpire. Past electoral umpires in the country since independence, has squarely been blame for doing a bad job. This explains why Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is being held responsible for all the unsavoury developments in our current political firmament. He has been accused of everything that has gone wrong especially the shoddy distribution of the permanent voters’ card in the southern part of the country.
Those aggrieved, who cuts across party lines, have taken their cases to the court to adjudicate. In all the cases, the leadership of the INEC is being joined in the suit. There are non-governmental organisations, which are also baying for Jega’s head because of an alleged deliberate increase in the cost of contracts award by him without going through the normal procedure and tenders board. Realnews editorial board noted all the allegations and decided to investigate. The outcome of our findings is chronicled in the cover story for this week’s edition entitled: Many Troubles of Jega. It was written by Olu Ojewale, our general editor. Enjoy it. We also wish all our readers, friends and well-wishers happy Valentine’s Day which is on February 14.
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— Feb. 23, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT