The leadership of the Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) has defended Mike Igini, an Urhobo son, over allegations levelled against him by some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) that he (Igini) recently held a meeting with the Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki to perfect arrangements to rig the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
In a press statement signed by the President General of UPU, Chief Joe Omene, he described the allegation as an attempt to smear the good reputation of Igini which he has built overtime, saying that he is one of the few commissioners in INEC that can be described as upright and known for declaring results that are a true position of what plays out in any election he oversees.
Omene urged the APC in Edo State to caution the brains behind the fake news, as he wished the state a peaceful guber election.
Read the full statement below:
The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU) condemns in absolute term the failed attempt by the duo of Rtd. Col. David Imuse and John Mayaki to smear the reputation and character of Hon. Barr. Mike Igini, one of the rare and finest public officer that the Nigerian people have come to know and appreciate deeply for his integrity, competence, consistency, dedication and strength of character.
How could a man who merely passed through Benin in company of other people on his way to a funeral event in Delta but stopped at Protea to eat in an open resturant, (where mischief makers discreetly took a photo shoot of him that they are threatening to release) and had since returned to Lagos be said to be holding meeting with Gov. Obaseki at 3 am in Benin? Why not release pictures and video evidence of the meeting but instead threaten about pictures of a resturant Hon. Barr. Mike Igini himself told the world he visted to eat? Is it possible for an individual to sleep at different locations the same day and night? Why have they not contradicted Hon.Commissioner Barr. Mike Igini categorical statement that he was never in Beinin on the 27th Thursday, August but in Lagos? If he was not in Benin on the said day, every other claim are clearly mere fabrications intended to bring down a good man. This is why Nigerians have reacted angrily from all parts of the country condemning the two charaters behind this ugly and barefaced lies against Barr. Mike Igini.
Nigerians are very proud of him and we the people of Urhobo and Delta State as a whole regard him as a worthy son and a good ambassador that should not be brought down unnecessarily because of the dirty politics of governorship election when he is not even the Commissioner in charge or asked to play a role in the said election.
We the people of present day Delta and Edo are one and the same having come a long way as MID-Westerners and Bendelites and should not destroy any of our own that other Nigerians have acknowledged to be a man of demonstrable integrity in all the places where he has conducted elections. The grace of God is upon him, Nigerians have confidence in Barr. Mike Igini, we believe him and the ancestors of Urhobo in the entire 23 kingdoms are behind him to continue to serve with honesty and integrity.
The UPU hereby call on the leadership of the APC and its candidate in Edo State to publicly call to order rtd col. David Imuse and John Mayaki because we do not believe that what they tried to achieve but have failed woefully represent the official position of the party given that in 2015 election, Barr Igini was celebrated by the Edo people on his stance and tough position on free, fair and credible election, particularly when under the PDP led federal government, as an umpire he declared very courageously to the admiration of Nigerians that no federal might will determine election in Edo State.
The APC should not forget so quickly that it was only in Edo State in 2015 with Barr. Mike Igini as the REC that president Buhari as a candidate scored 46% of votes, won senatorial and federal seats as well as majority in the state House of Assembly. What has changed? Just seening his shadow in the course of passing through Benin to Delta shouldn’t be a problem because we in Delta want him to come and conduct election in our state. If any political group is afraid that he should not be deployed to Edo because he will do the right thing and will not allow manipulation of election, the INEC leadership should be prevailed upon quietly instead of this failed attempt to smear his good name and the reputation he has built over time. Since 2010 when he was appointed by president Goodluck Jonathan into the INEC and again re-appointed by President Muhammadu Buhar and the only one so appointed from amongst the ones that served in the previous government from the entire south south and south east of this country, Hon. Barr. Mike Igini has conducted himself honourably with a track record of advocacy for electoral reforms that inspired many Nigerians to repose faith in the electoral system and INEC. This unwarranted attack is condemned in totality and the UPU calls on well known and respected elders of APC in Edo State to caution these errant party members.
The UPU wishes the people of Edo State a peaceful election.
Chief. Joe O. Omene
President-General, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU)
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