Oliver Enwenerem is a front line politician, staunch member of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Imo State and a one-time member of the state House of Assembly for Ezinihitte Mbaise constituency. In this interview with our correspondent, Johnkennedy Uzoma, in Owerri, he dwelt on the outcome of the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.
The presidential and the National Assembly elections have come and gone, what is your impression?
My worry is about the volume of votes from the North. It does not actually reflect the reality on ground. Watch it, any time we have the opportunity again for a southerner to run election to win; we will not have such number of votes. The electoral process of using card readers are not usually implemented in the North and this even started from the time of Prof. Athahiru Jega till this present INEC national chairman. They don’t want everybody, who want to cast their votes to do so because they write their votes and everybody know this. The unfortunate thing is not about President Buhari winning the election. There was an honest man in this country in the person of former President Musa Yar’Adua, but unfortunately death cut his life short, who said that the electoral process that brought him into power was flawed. If not that death snatched him away, these things would not have continued. He would have sanitised the system. Again the issue of a man claiming that he is a man of integrity when he is not calls for questioning. If you really benefit from fraud, how can you claim to have integrity? Some years ago we had election and the president was being flown with a private jet owned by some private people like Asiwaju Tinubu. And Rotimi Amaechi, as the sitting governor, put in huge amount of money from Rivers State, though he was compensated and you are talking about integrity.
We really need to be sincere to ourselves so that all the evils noticed around will disappear. But we are not. What happened is that if one has opportunity to steal, he will call another person a thief to continue to steal and that is one of the biggest problems we have.
I am not particular about who won the election, but I am particular about institutions and the system and I am saying that the system cannot work. After all how many more years do the political gladiators have? I want to tell you that we are teaching the younger generation the wrong things.
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How do you score INEC giving their performance in the last election?
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, can only be successful when other national and state institutions cooperate with them. For example, what do you expect from Prof. I. Ibeawuchi (INEC returning officer for Orlu zone) where the police that is supposed to protect him did not do that. If the police are supporting criminality, what do you do? I think that is what many INEC staff suffered during the election. The police are supposed to find out any INEC man who is not working according to the rule of law and report him or her for punishment. We are supposed to see an INEC man who has been bribed. And remember, when the police are partisan working for the government in power, you cannot blame INEC. While they are ready probably trying to do the right thing or even if they try to do the wrong thing, somebody should be able to point out that they are doing the wrong thing but when the institutions is asking them to do something that is wrong, you don’t blame INEC.
If the PDP presidential candidate goes to court, do you think he would make it?
There is a native way we conduct judgment in this part of the world because our people do not want to find the truth to the logical conclusion. I am one of those who support Atiku to go to court. Those who don’t want him to go to court already believe that the court has been intimidated and I quite agree with them. But let us see the process and I bet you the truth must come out. And the public opinion will see that the result coming from the North is not the real result. Even if in the end, as I expect, the court did maintain that Buhari is the president, the truth is that the international community, the world would have been able to see that the election was terribly flawed. You can agree with me that the election in the North was terribly and 100 per cent flawed. So, going to court would expose some of the ills that happened during election. It is not good to swallow it and the international community knows that even if Atiku lost, it would not be up to four million votes, as claimed and I can beat my chest and tell you that if indeed Atiku lost, it cannot be up to 600 votes.
The judiciary today is no longer what it used to be; don’t you think they may compromise?
Sure. That is exactly what I am saying, that the judiciary has been totally intimidated. The president does not want the court process to go on. The truth about it is that they started it a long time ago because they know that the matter would certainly end in court. Unfortunately, people like El-Rufai, who talks any how it suits him a particular time, if the whole thing changes today, he would change. I remember that four years ago, he travelled to the United States of America, calling on the international community to get involved. Today, he wants to put all the dead people inside a bag. Yes, the judiciary has been intimidated and I can tell you that it was programmed and because of that, I do not expect magic from the judiciary as far as the case is concerned.
How would you react to the February 23rd election in Imo State?
Let me tell you that Imo is a PDP state. PDP won the three senatorial zones in the state and they are of PDP so INEC should release the results. Since APC is already leading at the national level. Nobody can stop that including the incumbent governor
Governor Rochas Okorocha was alleged to have held hostage the INEC returning officer for Orlu zone, what is your own reaction?
It is not an allegation; the INEC returning officer for Orlu zone, Prof. I. Ibeawuchi, said it with his own mouth what actually transpired. Even when speculation was moving around that the governor beat him, he said that the governor did not beat him. The professor is the hero of the election and we need such calibre of men around. If he had collected money from the governor just like others, he would not have known what happened. He stood on the truth and God protected him.
There has been public outcry over the use of the military in the conduct of last election, what is your take?
It is really unfortunate that the security agencies that were supposed to protect people were used against them during the election.