HEDA blasts APC youth over ‘harassment’ of Mike Igini

In his opening remark, Chairman, HEDA Resource Centre, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju said corruption remains a teething problem in Nigeria with grave consequences on political stability, poverty, lack of jobs, growing wave of violence and extremism urging Nigerians to work in unity to tackle corruption headlong.

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has cautioned the youth wing of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom State to desist from harassing and embarrassing the Independent National Electoral Commission Resident Electoral Commissioner of the State, Mike Igini.

The Chairman of HEDA, Olarenwaju Suraju, gave the warning to the APC Youth Wing in a statement he issued on Friday.

This followed a protest taken to the entrance of the Office of the INEC Headquarters in Abuja by the aggrieved youths, who demanded removal of Igini.

With the inscriptions: Igini Must Go; IGINI Is Working for the PDP; Igini is a Biased Electoral Umpire and the likes, the protesters accused Igini of being partisan in handling of the affairs of his office as it affects the opposition party in Akwa State, calling on the INEC National Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to remove him from the State in order to save the nation’s fledgling democracy.

They allegedly claimed Igini is no longer tolerated with his excesses, adding that he now sees himself as being above the law.

They also accused him of been biased, vindictive in discharging his function and of disobeying court order/judgement, particularly the Federal High Court, which authenticated the Stephen Leo Ntukekpo leadership of the APC in Akwa Ibom State, which they said was an expression of hatred Igini has for the opposition party in the State.

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They urged the national leadership of INEC to wade into the matter before the peaceful protest degenerates into a conflagration.

Howbeit, HEDA Chairman advised the angry youths to channel their grievances to President Muhammadu Buhari or the National Assembly in the most civil and dignified way and manner without resorting to name calling and harassment of the REC.

Suraju said the aggrieved parties, in the case where the REC is accused of disobeying court order, should approach the Court for contempt proceeding against him, saying that is the standard procedure in such case, and not the constant harassment of Igini from exercising his constitutional duties as Akwa Ibom State REC.

He said in a statement: “There are laid down ways of doing things. This is not a banana republic, we should do things accordingly. Due Process must be followed. Complaints to the National Chairman of INEC should be addressed in a formal letter. This can be copied to the President and the National Assembly and other relevant bodies. Civil Society Organizations as critical stakeholders in the Nigerian project are happy to support the process of challenging a REC were cases are well established, because we all are involved.”

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Suraju called on President Buhari to call his party members to order and defend the electoral officers across the Federation, particularly as States elections are in progress and national elections draw near with its attendant discordant tunes.

He said: “The President of Nigeria and the National Assembly must rise to the occasion now and call their parties members to order. The President should also defend Lives and properties of Nigerians as his constitutional obligation as enshrined in the supreme law of the land,”

He charged other Civil Society Organizations to be at alert for actions and inactions emerging from different quarters and act accordingly in line with their mandates as Nigeria approaches a more intense elections season.

He said: “There are myriads of actions and inactions emanating from different quarters (State and non state actors) which are potentially inimical to our democracy. We must be proactive and stand up against them now before we are consumed by the same people we call fellow citizens.”

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