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INEC not ready for April polls –Sultan

Posted by By Kenny Ashaka, Kaduna. on 2007/03/16 | Views: 897 |

INEC not ready for April polls –Sultan


The Sultan of Sokoto, His eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday took a critical look at the preparation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the forthcoming general elections and concluded that the preparations were shoddy and capable of igniting crisis.

The Sultan of Sokoto, His eminence, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, yesterday took a critical look at the preparation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the forthcoming general elections and concluded that the preparations were shoddy and capable of igniting crisis.

He said danger looms but that INEC can avert violence by obeying all court rules relating to the April general election, adding that the commission must not allow itself to be used as a launch pad
“We cannot sit down, fold our arms and say everything is okay. Our people talk to us out of fraustration on how ready INEC is to conduct the elections because people are not seeing activities to show that election is holding on April 14, this year. We only see billboards and posters on the streets and towns but what is INEC is doing?” he queried.

The Sultan was speaking at a summit organised for Northern Traditional Rulers on The 2007 Election and the Role of Traditional Rulers by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Arewa House Kaduna.

Sultan Abubakar said that traditional rulers would refuse to be used as fire brigade operators in terms of crisis, which may arise as a result of the conduct of the commission.
He particularly noted the absence of the Chairman of INEC, Professor Maurice Iwu, at the summit, saying that the act demostrated the unseriousness of the commission.

The monarch said all candidates for the polls must be allowed to exercise their fundamental rights of voting and be voted for, adding that it was up to the electorate to choose who to govern them.
The Sultan said, as royal fathers, they are compelled to tell the bitter truth because of the importance of the polls to the country.

He said it was difficult to convince their subjects on the commission’s readiness to conduct a free, fair and violence-free elections because they were convinced that INEC is not ready for the polls.
“There must be something to show that the elections will hold on the said date in order for us, as custodians of the people and their values, to convince our subjects.

“I wish the INEC chairman himself were here to give this gathering the opportunity to ask him this question face-to-face. This will enable us to go back to our people and say yes, the INEC chairman has told us this and that as far as the election was concerned.

“Even the person (refering to Dr. Ishmael Igbani, who represented the INEC boss) sent as representative of the chairman has already left. They decided to put all the problem on my brother Makama and Makama is not an INEC man.

“We need an assurance from the INEC chairman that they are ready and then convince us, so that we can now confidently tell our people that elections are holding on the April 14. Meanwhile, we believe that it is very possible that it is going to hold.”

“We will pray to the Almighty Allah to make it work because we need to have this election; we need to see through this transition so that we will not be disgraced in the eyes of the world.
“We all know that elections involves huge logistic problems and that is why I said, we have not seen actions from INEC,” he submitted.

Sultan Abubakar called for the involvement of the military and other security agencies in the logistics arrangement for the elections, especially the provision of adequate security to safeguard ballot boxes and other election materials.
He wondered why INEC was yet to release the list of candidates barely a couple of weeks to the crucial elections.
The Sultan also called on the National Assembly to amend the nation’s constitution in such a way as to enable the royal fathers to contribute their quotas in the affairs of the country and “not only when there are problems that we are consulted.”

“I have made this point before and I will continue to make it and we all are going to make it until the National Assembly amends the constitution to involve traditional rulers in the affairs of this country because this country belongs to all of us.
“It is not when there is problem somewhere that the government will run to us to seek assistance and help. Of course, we will offer our help since we cannot sit down, fold our alms to see this country up in flames.

“The politicians live in their big masions, well protected -sercurity wise.We stay and live with this people more than the poiticians, so we know our people more than the politicians .Therefore, we must be given a constitutional role to play our big part for the development of Nigeria,” the Sultan contended further.
In his keynote address, the INEC boss, professor Maurice Iwu, represented by Dr. Ishmeal Igbani, INEC’s Federal Commissioner solicited for the support of the traditional rulers, particularly from the North for the smooth conduct of the 2007 elections.
Iwu argued that successful polls depended on the traditional rulers as they remain the closest to the grassroots.

He, however, asked the traditional rulers to appreciate the efforts of the commission in bringing in innovation, and reforms necessary for a quality electoral system.
The INEC boss explained that the introduction of the Direct Data Capture Machine(DDC) was to block all loopholes of the past through which fraudulent politicians rig.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.