18th June, 2010
The National Chairman of Progressive Action Congress (PAC), Chief Charles Nwodo, said in Abuja on Thursday that a comprehensive overhaul was necessary in INEC towards the conductÂ free and fair electionsÂ in 2011.
Nwodo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the overhaul should be in the Commissionâ€™s mode of operation and work force.
He argued that although Prof. Attahiru Jega was a man of integrity, he could find it difficult to conduct free and fair elections if he was surrounded by politicians who “areÂ not interested in moving the country forward.â€™â€™
“Some of the national and state resident commissioners are politicians, some have contested elections before, and one was a member of Board of Trustees ofÂ a party,â€™â€™ he noted.
Nwodo wondered how such people could be expected to provide a level-playing field when as seasoned politicians, they would want to work for their interest and not that of the nation.
“It is a known fact worldwide that Maurice Iwu conducted the worst elections in 2007, but he alone is not to blame, all the state resident commissioners are also to share in the blame.
“This is why I said Jega, as good as he is, the calibre of people around him will not allow him to deliver.
“Left to us, there was a need to probe the activities and the conduct of the 2007 general elections and make sure culprits are brought to book, andÂ if that had been done, it would have served as a deterrent to others.
“We still believe that if there is a political will among the people and the government, elections will be conducted and all votes will count.â€™â€™
Nwodo also faulted the votersâ€™ register, claiming thatÂ it contained many names ofÂ voters “who are not even from this countryâ€™â€™.
He expressed the need for INEC to organise a fresh votersâ€™ registration exercise before the 2011 elections.