The president started well by recognizing that there were errors in the electoral process that brought him to the office as he set up a National Electoral Reform Committee led by Justice Muhammadu Uwais (a former Chief Justice of Nigeria) and promised the nation that he would stop at nothing to make the required reforms. This is a path of honor expected of a president who has made ‘rule of law’ a chorus.
After a thorough work of the eminent members of the committee, a white paper was submitted to the presidency. Expectedly, in the Nigerian way, the president of Nigeria – a nation where the leaders make promises and break promises with the least consideration for integrity – hastily set up two different committees (one after the other) to doctor the report to suite his cause and thereby removing the most salient recommendation of the report that would have made INEC to be truly independent as the name suggests. The white paper committee on the Uwais report headed by Defense Minister Shettima Mustapha was set up by the president and due to their failure to read the body language of Mr. President, they came up with an unsatisfactory endorsement of Uwais report and this prompted the President to set up yet another review committee now headed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Michael Aondoakaa to get the deed done by ensuring that the power to appoint the INEC Chairman is retained by the President as against the recommendation that it should be transferred to the Judicial Commission.
Accepting the recommendation of the committee to cede the power to select the INEC chairman would have genuinely proved the sincerity of the President in breaking with the status quo and making up a little bit for the illegitimacy of his government rather he is bent on appointing a judge that would judge his case. This may not really be a big problem in some societies especially where the law rules but because of the peculiarity of our polities where nothing goes for nothing, it is a dangerous place to be. I pretty much have difficulties believing the sincerity of the government in this reform.
Regarding Prof. Maurice Iwu’s continuing stay at the helm of INEC, I personally subscribe to the fact that he has to go for us to have a credible election taking into account the reasons stated below:
It is time for
Considering responsibility, Prof Iwu was appointed as the chairman of INEC saddled with the responsibilities (among others) of registering voters for the elections and conducting free and fair elections. The voters registration processes was messed up showing that INEC was grossly ill-prepared and the whole process was marred with so many irregularities like inadequate equipments and stealing of data capturing machines found in the houses of some political party chiefs.
Regarding the elections, Iwu conducted what is adjudged by Nigerians and international observers as the worst election ever conducted since the history of election as the whole processes were flawed with all (in)conceivable irregularities.
When you consider accountability, as a public officer, Prof. Iwu has failed to transparently report his discharge of duty and responsibility and also fail to account for the huge public resources entrusted in his care.
As bad as the 2007 elections were, Iwu is about the only one (and perhaps Senator Adeleke and a few of his colleagues) who believed the elections were credible. He even swanked that
He also made the whole country to believe that the voting materials were printed in South Africa and brought into the country the days preceding the election days only to retract this many months later that they were actually printed in Nigeria. How can a man be so deceitful even in official matters. Another instance was cooking up stories of hijacked materials without being specific. He only said this to justify the stuffed ballot boxes that would ensue later.
Looking at the finance of INEC, with the tons of billions of naira budgeted, allocated and expended by INEC, there was no reason on earth for INEC not to have adequate number of machines and enough hands during the registration process and the elections.
If not for the Nigerian factor, the Professor supposed to have resigned long before the 2007 elections because there was the celebrated case of financial misappropriation in INEC that involved the late financial director – one
God Bless Nigeria!
Nigeria Go Better!