Politicians didn’t want 2007 election to hold –Iwu

Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Maurice Iwu, has revealed that if not for his determined resolve to go ahead with the conduct of the 2007 general elections, politicians would have derailed the exercise.
He said despite a lot of “hiccups” and impediments deliberately put on the way of INEC by the politicians, the commission still managed to ensure a “smooth civilian to civilian electoral transition” for the country.
The former INEC boss explained that most critics who held tthe view that the 2007 elections were flawed did so out of ignorance and mischief.
He believes that most of them were unaware of the enormous challenges and impediments put on the way of the commission from conducting the election in the first place by politicians who, he said, did not want the election to hold at all.
Iwu spoke on Tuesday at the presentation of a book, ‘Dedicate Distress: An interpreter’s Account of the Nigerian Dilemma’, authored by former Chairman of ‘The SUN’ newspapers editorial board, Amanze Obi.
The book was launched at the NICON Luxury Hotels, Abuja.
Iwu said a lot of things went wrong with the arrangements made for the 2007 elections, but that his commission was able, in spite of obvious challenges, to save the country  from political distress.
Iwu stated that though he had taken all the criticisms over the conduct of the election in his stride, it was painful that those critics who knew what went wrong and the problems his commission encountered at the time were even more vociferous and unfair in their condemnation of INEC under his watch, ignoring the fact that INEC by its decision had managed to keep Nigeria united.
Iwu also stated that during the controversial poll, there were politicians who worsened the situation by their desperation to win at all cost.
But INEC had to exercise care in the management of the obvious crisis situation to preserve the country’s unity, he added.
The former INEC chairman said Atiku Abubakar, General Mohammadu Buhari and the then Governor of Katsina State (late President Umaru Yar’Adua) who contested the Presidency were all qualified to rule the country and added, “But the issue was not who won or who lost. But Nigeria had to be one.”
“There were a lot of hiccups. There were challenges but we still had to manage to achieve a smooth civilian to civilian electoral transition for this country.
“That is why the country is still peaceful today. Our problem was that politicians never wanted that election to hold. They did everything to derail it,” he said.
Iwu also came to the defence of the chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Festus Odimegwu, who has come under attack for saying that the 2006 census was flawed. Rather than villifying him, Iwu said Odimegwu’s claim should be interrogated.
“If we want to have a nation, we need to work hard. We need a framework to operate to achieve the desired goals for the country,” he added.

Daily independent
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