Re: APC’s Infiltration of INEC, Stating Momoh’s Case By Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni
The above caption was a news heading in one of the stories featured in Vanguard Newspaper of August 5th, 2013. The news story which was generated from a Press release by one Prince Dayo Adeyeye, a derailed “Afenifere Stalwart”, smuggled overnight into the self deceiving biggest party in Africa, Peoples Democratic Party(PDP), on behalf of Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM), purportedly alleged that “elements loyal” to All Progressive Congress(APC) are infiltrating the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) particularly in mention, was the appointment of Professor Abubakar Momoh of Political Science Department, Lagos State University, as the Director General of INEC’s Electoral Institute.
Since I am not a fan of APC or any political party for that matter, I naturally should not share in the headache of either party crossing path or the verbigeration of a partisan politician, but overlooking allegation of the above magnitude would amount to allowing logic stand on its head; tilt facts about our nascent democratic struggle disproportionately, allow for the malignment of a noble pedigree built over the years from selfless commitment to ethos of nation building, struggle for the emancipation of the mass of the people and ideological re-balancing of the Nigeria state.
More particularly, this piece becomes necessary, in order to disabuse the dissemination of wrong information to unsuspecting Nigerians by a man who has failed to secure the trust of his community to represent them in any elective capacity. By virtue of my position as an ex-lasuite and a Political Scientist, who underwent tutelage with Prof. Abubakar Momoh, am not ashamed to associate with him for his immeasurable contributions in the life of many of my like. One feature you can’t deny him is his ability of moulding future leaders in LASU and impacting in them, intrinsic selfless leadership training.
In his first fallacy of judgement, and baseless reasoning, Mr. Adeyeye (I don’t want to assume he is a Prince, because Princes, do have dignity and cherish their honor, which isn’t the case here), said Prof. Momoh was one of the “partisan elements disguised as Election Observers during the Ekiti State Governorship rerun election in 2009, who were caught in Oye and Ifaki-Ekiti, with electoral materials. Momoh was caught alongside one ACN chieftain in Lagos State…”. For the records, Prof. Momoh didn’t disguise as an Observer but was a certified observer amongst the over 800 election monitors from different Civil Society Organisation groups across the country, the National Human Rights Commission and other election monitors who were in Ekiti State for that particular election, where Dr. Segun Oni, a member of the ruling party PDP, which Mr. Adeyeye belonged, was trying desperately to hang-on to a mandate that wasn’t given by the masses of the people. This election, due to the “by fire, by force” despiracy of the PDP, brought the nation into global ignominy when the state electoral umpire, the INEC Resident Commissioner, Mrs. Ayoka Adebayo (where is she naa self), and our then indefatigable former Minister of Information, Mrs Dora Akunyili got involved in the dirty politicking of election result declaration and non-declaration!”I resign”, “You no resign” Imbroglio!
Again, he said, Prof. Momoh was caught with thumb printed election materials! This can only be a mischievous presentation of the fact and a coward act to malign the good image of a man of learning. For one, Prof. isn’t a sycophant of the powers that be nor a territorial irredentist even in LASU where he has been a Lecturer for over 25 years. He is a non-conformist and democrat who believed in the principle of collective decision. The Professor Abubakar Momoh I know and attended his make-up class on Wednesday 29th of April, 2009, four days after he was beaten to a pulp along with 7 members of different civil groups by a group of predatory and degenerated persons answerable to the PDP at a Police check point in Ifaki ward of Ido-Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State, the home town of Olusegun Oni, former PDP Governor of the State won’t have stoop so low, when he is not “Prince” Dayo Adeyeye!. Prof. Momoh and others were only in Ekiti to Observe, on a patriot mission to achieve free and fair election, after all, isn’t it Winston Churchill, a former Prime Minister of United Kingdom, that said, “the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing?”
In order to react to the nomination of Prof. Momoh as the DG of the Electoral Institute, Prince Dayo Adeyeye used his Prince Adedayo Adeyeye Movement (PAAM) to issue a press statement. The group I gathered, is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO); it pride itself as “a political family and a veritable platform to lunch,pursue and achieve the well deserved gubernatorial ambition of PRINCE ADEDAYO ADEYEYE in Ekiti State”. Here, one can understand where the paranoid outburst of our maybe PDP Governorship candidate for Ekiti 2014 is coming from. But I know PDP, despite their world acclaimed failings, they won’t waste their ticket on a Prince who can’t even manage an ordinary facebook page for his campaign. On surfing the social media, I came to realize that PAAM’s official page was last updated in October, 2012!. Do such person have the wherewithal to question an academia and technocrat per excellence? Can he even lead the habitats of the fountain of knowledge?
For intellectual purposes, it is pertinent to establish the essence of the Institute Prof. Momoh was appointed to head and state its core objectives before people like Mr. Adeyeye pull a wool across our eyes and cause unnecessary heating of our precarious polity. Mr Ishmael Igbani, INEC National Commissioner while addressing newsmen in September 2012 on the possible relocation of INEC’s Electoral Institute from Abuja to Oghara in Delta State, said specifically that the institute established in 2006 by Prof. Maurice Iwu former INEC Chairman, would be for training and research, which “would attract visiting professors from within and outside the country on sabbatical”.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega corroborated this position at a three-day workshop on “Managing the Media for Successful Electoral Process’’ organised by News Agency of Nigeria Bizcom, in Makurdi, early this year. On the Electoral Institute, Prof. Jega said, “our desire is that the institute should research into electoral matters and serve the commission, and Independent Electoral Commissions in West African region”. The institute is to train various categories of INEC staff who would participate in election and not involve itself in actual voting process or educate voters.
When the vacancy for the institution’s DG post was advertised in December 2012,one of the major requirements stated was the ability of the applicant for the position of Director-General of Electoral Institute to be able to initiate and implement research that would add immense value to the fulfilment of the core mandate of the Commission and electoral governance in general, aside being a Ph.D holder with ten years post qualification experience in the Social Sciences or humanities with robust publications and research amongst others. I don’t think conducting elections are part of the institute’s mandate, so, why the hullabaloo? This shows clearly the myopic understanding of our dear Prince and indeed his inability to grasp the responsibilities attached to certain socio-political offices. I can only equate Prince Adeyeye to Senator Ayo Akinyelure representing Ondo Central Senatorial District, who does not know when to vote for or against a Bill. Nigeria does not need their likes in our polity if we must grow sincerely.
The resuscitation of the institute after four years of redundancy was part of INEC’s effort to respond positively to the growth of democracy and capacity building in the country. The institute as positioned today, is under the administration of a DG and other board members as against the previous board of six national commissioners one from each geopolitical zone, which no doubt places mediocrity and nepotism above meritocracy and service delivery. Thus, it was really baffling when, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi also an aspiring Governorship candidate in Lagos State under the flagship of PDP, added more insult to the injure by mentioning the PAAM press statement on his Facebook wall and referring to Prof. Momoh as an intellectual arm of defunct Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) now All Progressive Congress(APC), I beg Mr. Gbadamosi’s pardon, what should a Professor be to the society? A garbage arm? Why do we practice blind party fellowership in this part of the world? Though Mr. Gbadamosi confessed to not being sure of his stand, I feel it would have done more good to advice his colleague on the need to allow more capable hands and intellectuals into our body politics than allow them wither away as arm-chair critics in the ivory towers.
The need for technocrats in the developmental and institutionalization efforts of our governmental structures cannot be over emphasised. The little achievements former President Obasanjo recorded during his tenure was becausehe ensured square pegs were put in square holes. Late Bola Ige after not achieving much success in Power was redeployed to Justice were he was until he was untimely murdered by unknown assailants. Technocrats like Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,Oby Ekwesili(both from World Bank),Nuhu Ribadu,Nasir El-Rufai,Dora Akuiyili were all put in offices were they fitted in perfectly. We all know Okonjo-Iweala put her expertise into ensuring that a large chunk of our foreign debt were pardoned which was one of the high points of the Obsanjo administration. We also wouldn’t forget the activities of Lady-boss Dora Akuyili in the previously totally unknown NAFDAC(since her exit,the organization has been a shadow of itself), neither would the exploits of renowned architect Nasir El-rufai in the regaining of the Abuja master plan be easily forgotten. Today most of these people are not members of the ruling part they really served dearly but their contributions cannot be overlooked even by the likes of Adeyeye and his cohorts who criticise blindly. That digression was needed to put into cognizance that, ensuring the right people in sensitive offices should not be bargained to ensure that we truly get it right as a nation.
Prince Adeyeye’s fears can be seen in this,”He (Momoh) had also served on the Board of Governor Fayemi’s Non-Governmental Organisation, the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD”. I do not understand the type of group Mr. Adeyeye wants a Political Science Lecturer to be associated with, Market Women Association? Prof. Momoh while giving a speech as a guest speaker at the 2nd Legislative/Civil Society Parley of the Lagos State House of Assembly with the theme, “Good Governance at the Grassroots in Lagos State”, said, “Democracy is about representation and participation”. Participation, he taught us, can either be as a policy maker or opinion moulder. What Prince Adeyeye, however, failed to tell us also is that, Prof. Momoh belong to the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA). That he has more than 70 publications to his credit. That he was also Vice President of African Association of Political Science (AAPS), and had visited many universities across the world, including being Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Helsinki, Finland; Fellow, Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden; Visiting Scholar, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, South Africa; Guest Lecturer, Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden; Guest Lecturer, Summer Course on African Law, Catholic University, Brussels, Belgium; Senior Fulbright Scholar, James Coleman African Studies Centre, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); Guest Lecturer, African and African-American Studies Department, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA; Visiting Researcher and Tutor, Conflict, Security and Development Group (CSDG), King’s College, University of London; and Visiting Senior Research Fellow, International Development Centre, Open University, Milton Keynes, England; amongst others.
Prof. Abubakr Momoh has served on several government technical committees including being a member and Coordinator of “Foreign Policy” Sub-committee of Federal Republic of Nigeria “Vision 20:20 Technical Committee; he was also a member of the team that drafted the policy on “Peace Support Operations (PSOS) for the federal government; the technical teams of the African Union Commission (AUC), and most recently was involved in designing the African Governance Architecture (AGA) and Elections Benchmarking for the African Union. He has also served as election Observer to several African countries on behalf of ECOWAS and African Union. He also served as Election Observer to some European countries. Thus, Prof. Abubakar Momoh is more than qualified for this appointment.
To Prince and his bed fellows, I would end with the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “There is more to life than increasing it’s speed.”
Sulaimon Mojeed-Sanni wrote via email@example.com. Twitter handle: @Sanity0407. Lagos, Nigeria
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