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Akala: We’re awaiting white paper – Iwu

Posted by From FRANCIS AWOWOLE-BROWNE, Abuja on 2007/03/28 | Views: 648 |

Akala: We’re awaiting white paper – Iwu


The governorship ambition of Deputy Governor of Oyo State and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in April 14 election, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, is hanging in the balance as the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, said his commission was awaiting the state government’s white paper which indicted and barred Akala from holding public office.

The governorship ambition of Deputy Governor of Oyo State and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in April 14 election, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, is hanging in the balance as the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, said his commission was awaiting the state government’s white paper which indicted and barred Akala from holding public office.

This is coming at a time the INEC said it had taken delivery of the ballot papers as well as ballot boxes for both governorship and presidential election.

The INEC boss had said that names of the cleared candidates for the forthcoming general elections could be removed on account of fresh evidences of wrong doing against them. He, however, said that such affected candidates cannot be substituted.

Speaking to newsmen on Tuesday, during the opening of the INEC’s media centre for the elections, Prof. Iwu stated that he was yet to obtain a copy of the white paper indicting Akala, adding that when it comes, the commission would study it and take appropriate action.

Iwu explained that when the commission gets the white paper, "we will see if we can act on it and if not, then every aggrieved party would have to wait for the election petition tribunals to channel their grievances to them."

He also spoke on the eligibility of a cleared candidate for the House of Representatives in Imo State, said to have been convicted in the United States but who escaped justice.
Iwu disclosed that his commission had crosschecked the information at the embassy and discovered that the candidate was actually convicted but ran away from justice, pointing out that in that situation such a candidate, even when cleared, was not qualified to contest.

Apparently bowing to public pressures, Iwu said the commission has decided to redisplay the voters’ registers and had therefore, instructed the State Resident Electoral commissioners to do so at the polling centres in the states from April 2 till the election day to afford prospective voters the opportunity of having a second look at their names and to also remind them where they registered.

In all, the chairman disclosed that 61.5 million persons were registered to vote, while one million ad-hoc staff, as against former 500,000, are being recruited for electoral duties during the exercise
"We are set for the elections. If the election should come next Saturday, we are prepared. The ballot papers are ready, the ballot boxes are ready. In fact, our materials came earlier than we expected. We have taken delivery of the forms and other papers. All is set," Iwu said.

The INEC chairman noted that the commission would have the last meeting with all the States Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) soon, adding: "After that, the National Electoral Commissioners will visit the states to ascertain their level of preparedness, and supervise the recruitment of the ad-hoc staff."
The INEC boss said: "In summary, I will like to reemphasize that we are on top of things. By God’s grace, election 2007 will be on time, that even if it comes early, we will be able to conduct the elections."
He noted the fears of the people over the non-availability of voters card for the election, pointing out that the temporary cards provided the voters would be accepted for voting.

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