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Your Excellency,

Dr. Emmanuel E.Uduaghan,

Governor of Delta State.

 

Your Excellency,

Prof Amos Ugbe Utuama (SAN)

Deputy Governor of Delta State.

 

The Deputy Speaker,

 Delta State House of Assembly,

 

The  Chairman,

Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC)

 

The Chairman, 

Delta State Independent Electoral Commission. (DSIEC)

Members of the Delta State Executive Council. 

Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Ministerial Departments, 

Members of DSIEC Board.

Members of the fourth Estate of the realm.

Ladies and Gentlemen

PREAMBLE:

I am delighted to be here to deliver a goodwill message in this very important collaborative seminar  put together by the Management of the Delta State Independent Electoral Commission (DSIEC) in conjunction with the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) 

I bring you warm felicitations from the entire members and Management of the Delta State House of Assembly.

Please permit me to express our deep appreciation to the leadership of DSIEC and INEC for the invitation to be part of this historic event holding here in Asaba, the quintessential capital of Delta State.

Your Excellency, Mr.  Chairman, electoral management bodies occupy a significant and strategic position in the election process and by implication are decisive for the success of democratic election. Since they are the institution responsible for organizing democratic elections, their omission or commission could make or mar elections (Ujo, A. A; 2007). It then follows that the primary goal of any election management body is to organize credible, free and fair election with an outcome that seems satisfactory to all stakeholders. 

To this end, I must applaud the organizers of this conference for choosing the theme ‘Building Confidence in the Electoral System: The Task before DSIEC”

 By this choice of topic, it is indicative that you are well aware of the daunting task in organizing elections in this part of the world. This gives me immense joy, for as the saying goes, a problem indentified, is a problem solved.

However, I do not envy you as umpires of elections in our country, where it has become highly fashionable to jettison election results and then cry foul once the result is not favorable to you or the interest one represents or belongs. No wonder, the job of an electoral commissioner in our clime is perceived as a thankless job. 

This is even more odious when elections are perceived as a bitter struggle, rather than as a game amongst participants, that is bound to have winners and losers. In such grave situations, what is the expected role of DSIEC in ensuring that the citizenry repose enough confidence in the body, such that cases of litigation arising from elections are greatly reduced, if not out rightly eradicated? 

How do you Strike the balance?

Your Excellency, Distinguished chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) ,and your  very distinguished counterpart in DSIEC, Ladies and gentlemen, the Challenge has always been between performing your constitutional duty as an umpire  and the people believing truly that the victor was truly the choice of the people. The question that then looms large is; how then do you strike the balance?

To be ever able to do this, many have canvassed that electoral body, like Caesar’s wife must be above board in public and private dealings. Given the avalanche of nihilism in our everyday life, where trust and our cherished values can no longer hold its own. Where our people seems to have lost all sense of trust and confidence in themselves and others, where despair is the other of the day, we must learn to stand tall, especially, when that small, still, inner voice assures us that we have done our humanly best in the circumstances. (But please, it must be seen that our humanly possible best was done.)

However, as it is said, amongst my people, it is impossible to clap with one hand: that is where the electorates come in. This connotes that the masses of our people must be alive to carry out one of their simplest civic duties, which is to make an effective choice (or choices) and be politically- conscious of the happenings around them.

Distinguished ladies and gentle men, the task before the electoral bodies as I have earlier pointed out are gargantuan. They therefore, need the support of the citizenry. We must strive always to cooperate with the electoral bodies and be true to ourselves when we criticize, that no human institution, no matter how well intentioned, is ever perfect. 

Conclusion

Let me use the opportunity of this collaborative seminar to restate the firm resolve of members of the Delta State House of Assembly working in concert with the executive to partner with DSIEC in formulating laws and all that is necessary at ensuring that Deltans truly decide who governs them at the third tier of government. 

It is in this vein that I wish to assure you that, as elected representatives of the people, we will NEVER impose our will on the people from whom we derive our mandate but will forge a synergy with you, to help you succeed in your very challenging job as an umpire.

It is therefore, my sincere hope and aspirations that you will use this collaborative seminar to fashion out ways of positively driving the system so that the citizenry will repose even more confidence in you.

Thank you for your attention and wish you a happy deliberation.

Rt.Hon. (Engr) Victor .O. Ochei FNSE,FIAS,

Speaker, 

DTHA

 

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