Why govs, others are losing at tribunals - Iwu
Dotun Oladipo, Washington - 20.12.2007
CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, has said the lack of internal democracy in political parties caused the upturning of the results of some of the April 2007 elections.
Iwu, speaking on Tuesday during the presentation of a report of the commission on the April elections to Nigerians resident in the United States of America at the Press Club in Washington D.C, said that none of the elections upturned so far had been as a result of rigging or any deficiency in the conduct of the election on the part of INEC.
He said as such, no one could say the upturning of some of the elections was an indictment of INEC.
"No, far from it. It is actually a work in progress in the sense that those governors whose elections are being questioned arose mainly from internal party democracy.
"That's part of the lessons we learnt. It is not an indictment on the commission.
"If the elections were annulled based on rigging, then we'll take that seriously.
"But as of now, out of 36 governors, none has been fully upturned because they are still undergoing appeals. "So we can't even say that any has been really upturned."
He also faulted the reported call by the security agency in the United States of America, the Homeland Security, for the reconstitution of INEC, adding, "I have not heard of the message.
"But I will be surprised because I don't know what INEC's reconstitution has to do with Homeland Security in America.
"If they said that, that must be something happening based on the lobby people are making here, which is a one sided lobby.
"How can someone be talking about something happening in Nigeria that they know little about?
"INEC is reconstituted periodically based on our constitution and I think our constitution will be obeyed when the time comes."
Iwu said he was also not bothered by the call for his resignation, adding, "I am not an angry man at all.
"What I am is somebody who is so passionate about our country. "I am passionate about Nigeria in the sense that we have made such tremendous stride.
"We should not allow people to allow their bickering to affect the fortunes of 140 million people.
"I am passionate in the sense that we want the bigger interest of our people to prevail."
However, two prominent Nigerians residing in the United States, Professor Mobolaji Aluko, and Mr. Lanre Banjo, disagreed with Iwu that INEC did a good job.
Aluko said that INEC was biased in its handling of the election. Speaking during the briefing, Aluko said INEC went beyond its brief by taking sides in some cases.
He said that INEC could have performed better. Banjo, who met Iwu outside the venue of the briefing, said INEC gave undue advantage and support to some candidates.
Banjo said that the officials of INEC were not accessible to candidates not favoured by the powers that be.
Though Banjo admitted he did not even know the name of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in his state, Ogun State, when challenged by Iwu to substantiate his claim, he said it was obvious the REC was acting on orders from above.
He said even when the REC was subpoenaed by the election petition tribunal, he refused to heed the call.
He also faulted Iwu on his briefing in London, the United Kingdom, that it was impossible for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and General Muhammadu Buhari to have won the presidential election because they did not campaign enough and had party disputes to contend with.
He said that both men were popular enough to stand for election even at short notice.
Iwu gains recognition in US
Idowu Samuel, Abuja - 20.12.2007
CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Maurice Iwu, may have won the hearts of Nigerians in the United States during his last visit to Washington where he formally presented the official report on the 2007 general elections to the US government and Nigerians in the country.
Indications to this emerged following an official endorsement of his presentation on the 2007 elections in Nigeria by a US-based Organisation of Nigerian Lawyers in the Diaspora (ONLID) and the recommendation by the lawyers to the government of Nigeria to allow him remain in office to conduct subsequent elections in the country.
The lawyers said they had forwarded their position to the government of Nigeria on the outcome of the 2007 general elections and the need to stabilise the political system in Nigeria in the ongoing dispensation by allowing Iwu remain as INEC chairman.
The position of the US-based Nigerian lawyers contained in a press statement was ,however, a contrast to the impression held generally about the INEC boss in Nigeria following allegations that he compromised in the conduct of the April polls in the country.
According to a statement singed by the Convener/Executive Director of the ONLD based in Washington DC, United States, Mr. Aloy Ejimaker, the presentation by Iwu was lucid and explanatory, adding that "every Nigerian who listened to Iwu agreed that he tried his best to make the April elections hold in Nigeria in spite of the landmines planted around the conduct of the elections.