Chief Agwu Ukakwu-Agwu, the former Speaker of the Abia House of Assembly, has called for a positive change of attitude among Nigerians in order to guarantee more credible elections in 2019.
Ukakwu-Agwu made the call in an interview with newsmen in Umuahia on Tuesday.
He was speaking on the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the conduct of recent polls in some states of the federation and the commission’s level of preparedness for 2019.
He said that the people’s attitude, rather than INEC, should be blamed for the challenges militating against the conduct of free, fair and credible polls in the country.
“INEC should not be blamed for election rigging. We should blame the phenomenon on the attitude of the people.
“During elections, those involved in the process, including security, permanent and ad hoc INEC staff as well as party agents allow themselves to be compromised by politicians.”
He said that the commission had so far demonstrated its readiness for the upcoming polls.
“Let us give credit to INEC. The commission has tried its best. There has been a lot of improvement.”
He said that the commission performed better in the elections it conducted recently in Ondo, Edo, Anambra and Ekiti than what happened in 2015.
The former lawmaker expressed confidence that people’s votes would count in 2019 with the reform of the Electoral Act in favour of electronic voting and transmission of poll results electronically to INEC’S central server.
He said that the removal of incidence forms from the electoral process would make it difficult to rig the polls and lend credibility to the outcome of the exercise.
Ukakwu-Agwu, however, contended that the electorate also had a duty to discharge to make their votes count.
He advised the electorate to be vigilant after casting their votes and ensure that the votes were duly counted and recorded before leaving the polling booth.
He also spoke on his recent defection from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), citing the ill-treatment he suffered in PDP as part of his reasons.
He said that after the PDP primaries ahead of the 2015 polls, many party faithful and aspirants, who lost the party’s tickets, felt shortchanged with the outcome of the exercise.
Ukakwu-Agwu expressed regret that the party did not deem it imperative to reconcile the aggrieved members, saying that no rapprochement was made to him.
He also said that all his political mentors in his Abia North Senatorial District had moved over to APC.
He said that he was also disappointed with the performance of the PDP-led administration in Abia, hence his decision to dump the party for APC.
He said that Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu had not done well, adding that “a government that cannot pay salaries and pensions cannot be said to have done well.”