By Chima Ogbuji:

Ikemba Nnewi, and leader of the All Progessives Grand Alliance (APGA), Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu yesterday in Enugu expressed his desire for the reappointment of the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu for another term, provided he would replicate the success of the February 6, 2010 governorship election in Anambra state in the coming general elections in 2011.

Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Ikemba Nnewi, and leader of the All Progessives Grand Alliance (APGA)

Ojukwu who was speaking when he received Iwu at his residence in Enugu praised the conduct of the Anambra guber election which saw the candidate of APGA, Mr. Peter Obi emerging victorious, saying that Anambra people and Ndigbo in general were happy to be part of what he described as open, transparent and peaceful election which was still being applauded by not just the participants, Ndigbo but the entire world.

Ojukwu who said he was speaking for “Ndigbo” congratulated Professor Iwu for giving Nigeria its first credible election, noting “We have now a pattern and we pray God to maintain that pattern for ever”.

He said that it was not unusual to have few dissenting or contrary voices, but “I assure you Mr. Chairman that i personally applauded your action over the election; I welcome your conduct of the election. The only point I would like to make is this; the election was watched by the entire world so anybody who is not satisfied or wants to check, please I would ask the complainant to consider the percentage of those who criticize against the world and then tell me if they can do any better.

“Speaking for Ndigbo I acknowledge the goodness of the election, speaking for Ndogbo I say you did well, speaking for Ndigbo I add that if we continue along which you have mapped out, you will not have any problems in the future”.

The APGA leader Leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu yesterday in Enugu gave his support for the reappointment of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof Maurice Iwu for another term in office.

The Ex-Biafran war lord maintained that having recorded such resounding success in Anambra state, the INEC under Iwu’s watch had the potential of conducting elections that represent the true wishes of Nigerians in future.

“I’ve made it very clear that I was welcoming Iwu to my residence and conveying to him the gratitude of Ndigbo. At no point did I enter the battle for endorsement but because I’ve never been looked upon in Nigeria as a coward, if you want to know, do I endorse Mr. chairman, what I say to you immediately is that if he continues this way, I endorse him,” he noted.

He used the forum to state his reason for joining politics, explaining that his mission into the murky waters of Nigerian politics was for the interest of the people of Ndigbo.

“According to him, “I’ve no apologies for anybody. I’m in politics for the interest of Ndigbo and nothing else. If there was no need for tribe, God would not have created us with different languages and specifically made me an Igbo man”.

Speaking earlier, Iwu stated that he was on a working tour of the south east with specific purpose of inspecting the ongoing Electronic Voters’ Registry in Abia state to access the level of its completion.

“The voters’ registry project is very important for democratisation project in Nigeria and that is why it is important that I visit the registry which is located on a site on Enugu-Umuahia expressway. To make sure that the registry functions optimally, we have back-up centres in Abeokuta and Jigawa. Both of them are nearly completed to be able to back up what we have in Abia state. The idea here is that as a nation we want to be able to have a registry that would be able to meet the dictates of now and also will be able to pursue the development in the technology in the future.

“The other leg of my visit is to come to you to thank you most sincerely on behalf of the commission and a grateful nation for the role you played to make sure that the election we had in Anambra state was the most peaceful election this country has ever had. Not many people who are not part of the system will know your personal interest in that election.

“The statement you made helped to douse the tension in the place. The election that people said was going to be an acid test for the commission happened to have come out to be one of the best anywhere in the world that it captured the intent of the people of that state and also made it possible for the first time since I can remember that losers openly congratulated the winner which shows that that election did capture the will or intent of the people,” he stated.

The INEC Chairman was accompanied on the visit by the residence electoral commissioners of Imo, Maria Owi, Enugu Dr. Hunphery Nwangene and Abia, Jacob Nwakpa.

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