Electoral reform: Groups seek Iwu

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Electoral reform: Groups seek Iwu’s removal

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By Musikilu Mojeed, Abuja

Published: Wednesday, 6 Feb 2008

The Electoral Reform Panel may have come under pressure to recommend the immediate removal of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Maurice Iwu

A reliable source close to the panel told our correspondent on Tuesday that many Nigerians and some groups had asked for the reconstitution of INEC under a new leadership.

He said while some made telephone calls to members of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais-led panel, others sent in memoranda to the committee.

Although the source did not name the people involved in the growing clamour for Iwu’s ouster, he said some of the groups had visited the committee to press home their demand.

One of the groups, he added, was the Civil Society Coordinating Committee which advised the committee to forward an interim report to the President, recommending Iwu’s immediate removal.

The group, led by Mrs. Oby Nwankwo, comprised notable human rights and labour activists like Mr. Innocent Chukwuma of the Transition Monitoring Group; Mr. Emma Eleazu of the Alliance for Credible Elections; Mr. Funto Akinduro of the Electoral Reform Network and Mr. Chris Uyot of the Nigerian Labour Congress.

It was gathered that a sub-committee of the Electoral Reform Panel made up of Alhaji Musiliu Smith, Maj. Gen Oladayo Popoola, Mrs. Olakunrin, Rev. Fr. Mathew Kukah, Prof. Phillip Ahiare and Hajia Dije Bala, met with the delegation.

During the meeting, the civil society delegation was said to have argued that a good starting point for the reform of the electoral system would be Iwu‘s removal and reconstitution of INEC.

It cited the poor conduct of the 2007 general elections by the commission as one of the reasons for its call.

Our source said, “The group submitted that the only way to restore credibility to the immensely discredited INEC was for the electoral body to be reconstituted.

“The fact remains that Nigerians no longer trust this INEC. Nigerians do not believe that anything good can come from an INEC under Iwu.

“And there is no other way to restore credibility to the commission than for Iwu and other top officials of the commission to be removed.”

He said when the sub-committee reported back to the reform panel in plenary, a decision was taken that the committee, rather than make specific recommendations on individuals, should propose ways of reforming INEC.

The source said, ”When the matter was debated, everybody agreed that Iwu should have resigned. But members also noted that the issue of the appointment and removal of INEC officials was in the domain of the President and the National Assembly.”

 

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