Former governor of Ogun,Segun Osoba, Lagos lawyer Femi Falana and other eminent personalities on Wednesday in Abeokuta called for a complete re-organisation of INEC to ensure credible polls in 2011.
In addition, they called for the probe of the former INEC Chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu, a new digitalised voters’ register and simultaneous accreditation and voting nationwide.
The personalities spoke at the 12th anniversary of the death of Chief M.K.O. Abiola, organised by the Coalition of Democrats against Rigging in conjunction with the state chapter of AC, Osoba described the new INEC chairman, Prof. Atahiru Jega, and his team as “people of outstanding qualities’’, but charged them to flush out all the bad elements in the commission.
The former governor said that without doing this, Jega and his team would not conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2011.
He said that some resident electoral commissioners who conducted the worst elections in certain states in 2007, should be shown the way out in order not to further corrupt the system.
“Until Jega does this, we should not be clapping for him. He should not only re-organise INEC, he should re-invent it. And part of this is to ensure that Iwu’s tenure as INEC chairman is probed.
“If he is found to have misappropriated any funds or he is found to have used his position to enrich himself in any way, he should be prosecuted,’’ Osoba said.
Osoba, who said that he ran away from Ogun over alleged insecurity of his life, said he had decided to relocate back home and join hands with other progressives to participate in the 2011 elections.
He described the late Abiola as an icon of democracy, stressing that he would continue to live forever as long as democracy was thriving in the country.
On his part, Falana charged the people to be vigilant with their votes, adding: “Anybody who attempts to rig election must be dealt with accordingly.’’
According to him, the 2007 experience should be enough for people to know that it is better to prevent rigging than to be challenging election results before election petition tribunals.
Falana urged the Federal Government to recognise and immortalise Abiola“so that Nigeria can be at peace’’.
According to Odumakin, all the accolades being showered on the late Abiola are well-deserved as he laid down his life for the entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria.
Pastor Bakare, who was represented by Mr Dipo Famakinwa, stressed the need for one man, one vote in the forthcoming general elections “so as to change Nigeria for the better’’.
Bakare urged all progressives to come together, irrespective of their party leanings, to work for the success of the 2011 elections.
CUPP Cautions NASS On Party Primaries
The Coalition for United Political Parties (CUPP) has said that direct or indirect primaries should be left at the discretion of the leadership of political parties.
A statement on Wednesday by CUPP’s National Secretary, Chief Peter Ameh, said the All Progressives Congress (APC) should not use its majority in the National Assembly to manipulate the Constitution in its favour and force its decision down the throat of other parties.
Ameh added that “this authoritarian will of APC majority is not good for our democracy.”
He further stated, “Why should the method of selecting/electing political party representatives be forced down their throat? It is totally absurd and uncalled for.
“This direct primaries is a direct assault on parties to freely determine the most suitable means of conducting its internal affairs.
“This is interference in the affairs of the parties by taking away the right of party organs to make decisions for the smooth running of party activities. What party ‘A’ wants is different from party ‘B’.
“APC is using it’s majority in the National Assembly to manipulate the constitution in their favour and force the decision of APC down the throat of other parties, this authoritarian will of APC majority is not good for our democracy.
“They can’t dictate for political parties their means of party nomination. Do they give political parties grant? No!, So they should allow political parties to look for the most cost effective ways to manage internal issues as it relates to the conduct of party primaries.
The CUPP scribe urged them to use their legislative powers “to approve ‘Option A4’ as the means of voting in an election, if truly they want things to work in Nigeria.” .
“As for the approval of electronic transmission of election results, we should not applaud the Senate for doing the right thing after so much public outcry, this is why I have insisted that only mass action from citizens can give our democratic process needed growth..
“Citizens must continue to engage the process to protect our democracy or else those elected to serve their interest will remain self serving senators..
“The hallubaloo over the amendment of Section 53 to give INEC the rights to determine the rightful mode for the transmission of election results was expected but unnecessary because if not that the senators were to be clouded by their own need for self-preservation, this wouldn’t have dragged for so long..
“It was wrong to have reduced the independence of the commission to that of consultation commission when the former amendment required that the commission seek approval from NCC before applying technology that will aid the improvement of our elections.”
State Congress: Kano Announces Drug Test For APC Contestants
The Kano State Government, has announced that all contestants vying for positions in the All Progressive Congress (APC)’s executive council position must undergo a mandatory drug test.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Muhammad Garba, on Wednesday in Kano.
According to Garba, interested persons should report to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in the state for the screening.
“The directive is part of government’s policy to rid Kano of illicit substances,” he said.
He warned that no contestant would be screened without undergoing the mandatory drug test ahead of the October 16 state congress of the ruling party.
“Similar tests were carried out for contestants into local government election, as well as political appointees including members of the state executive council before offering them a portfolio,” Garba said.
He further noted that Governor Abdullahi Ganduje mandated the state office of the NDLEA to ensure thorough conduct of the tests.
The commissioner reaffirmed Ganduje’s commitment to riddle drug abuse among political leaders.
“The government will not hesitate to issue necessary disciplinary measures against anyone found with the trace of illicit substances, including a compulsory recommendation for rehabilitation,” the commissioner said.
PDP Mocks APC On Bad Governance
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the All Progressives Congress (APC) to accept their mass failures in party management and governance and stop bothering Nigerians with their regular lamentations.
The PDP said that its position was predicated on a statement by the APC in which it claimed to have improved on electoral process in the country, whereas what abounds in the nation is a painful story of how the APC has destroyed the economy, the electoral process and the national unity, to the extent that life has become despondent to the average Nigerian.
The party, in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan said, “we accept the fact that the APC lacks the capacity for feedback mechanism, however, the PDP wishes to bring to the attention of the APC that all Nigerians today would wish this administration had come to its end.
“Notwithstanding, our party counsel is that the APC should begin to prepare their handover notes because Nigerians are not ready to endure this anguish beyond May 29, 2023.”
The PDP urged Nigerians to continue to rally with PDP as “we collectively prepare to rescue our nation from this incompetent, divisive and thoughtless APC and its administration.”
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