Search Site: OnlineNigeria

Close






April polls: Atiku canít stop INEC Ė Iwu

Posted by By Chidi Obineche on 2007/03/22 | Views: 652 |

April polls: Atiku canít stop INEC Ė Iwu


Smarting from allegations of tardy preparations for next monthís general polls and likely disruption on account of the disqualification of Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu, on Wednesday vowed that the polls must hold. He spoke in an interview in Abuja.

Smarting from allegations of tardy preparations for next monthís general polls and likely disruption on account of the disqualification of Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Maurice Iwu, on Wednesday vowed that the polls must hold. He spoke in an interview in Abuja.

For the umpteenth time, the INEC chairman distanced the commission from the disqualification of Atiku, saying that the constitution precluded him and that INEC would contest any court judgment arising from that to the end.

"We didnít disqualify Atiku. Any court judgment that starts on that premise, weíll challenge it. If you play soccer and earned a red card, it means you canít participate in the next game," he declared.
Reviewing recent court judgment on the vexatious matter, Iwu explained that section 137 (1) of the constitution, which the vice presidentís supporters have relied on, was restricted only to those whose claims forms to INEC were questionable.

"They sought six reliefs in the last court case, which they are celebrating and lost five. They got a partial one, and that is why they went on cross appeal," he said.
He appraised the state of readiness of INEC and gave the organisation a clean bill of health.

"Elections must take place in the interest of our country. Contrary to widely held beliefs, the constitution does not give us room for manouevres. I have been assured by the executive branch of government and the National Assembly that they will continue to support us. As at today, there is nothing I know thatíll prevent us from organising the elections," he vowed.
Continuing, the chairman observed that there were no perfect elections anywhere.

"We are on course. We have already exceeded what was on ground by this time in 2003. We have gone far. There are certain aspects of our function we have delayed because of the Nigerian factor, namely the deployment of staff. Weíll do that early in April. If people bribe permanent staff, you can now understand whatíll happen if we make the list of ad-hoc staff known early."

Iwu observed that politics has overshadowed the modest strides of the organisation. He emphasized that voting will be by paper ballots, with instant tabulation of results before declaration, at the various collation centres.
He further added that there would be an electronic transmission of the same result as a shadow to shut out those planning to play games.

Iwu regretted that in spite of his commitment to free and fair polls, he has been inundated with blackmail letters, some of which threaten to kill him and his children. He also dismissed allegation of improprieties in his academic qualification as diversionary, promising to sue his alleged defamers in due course.
He foreclosed unforeseen problems that may arise from court orders, especially in the printing of ballot papers that will include all the contestantsí pictures.

"If the Supreme Court says include it, that wonít affect the timing of the elections. If there is a need to do something on the ballot papers, we will find a way to do it.

Thereís a timetable, which we are following."
On the disqualification of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), governorship standard bearer in Anambra State, Prince Nicholas Ukachukwu, Iwu revealed that there was no going back as the court judgment will not only be challenged but the aspect of criminality in the filing of papers to the commission by the person he sought to replace will be referred to the police.

He also spoke on the crisis in the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the disqualification of former governor, Chris Ngige. He washed the commissionís hands off partisanship in the APGA crisis.
"A factional leader, Chekwas Okorie obtained a court order and we obeyed. If we follow it strictly, APGA will not have candidates nationwide. If we had done that, it means we are excluding the entire South-East," Iwu said.

The INEC boss lambasted Ngige for his flawed nomination process, saying that the former governor obtained his affidavit from a foreign Notary Public, which was against "our constitution."

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :



Add Comment

* Required information
1000
Captcha Image

Comments (1)

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.