13th July, 2010
Prof. Ukachukwu Awuzie, the National Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday expressed doubts on the possibility of a free and fair election in 2011.
Awuzie, who expressed this view at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), near Umuahia, said that â€œthe environment for free and fair election has not been created.
â€œUntil the countryâ€™s values system is changed, it is not possible to have an acceptable election in Nigeria, Awuzie said, while fielding questions from newsmen at the end of ASUU National Executive Council meeting (NEC).
He said that the failure of academicians appointed as chairmen of INEC to perform was because lack of enlightenment of the people and federal government putting the political structure in place.
The ASUU president further criticized the mode of appointing the academicians, and opined that â€œmost of them compromise their integrity.â€
He said ASUU welcomed the appointment of Prof. Attahiru Jega as chairman of INEC, noting that as a social critic and past chairman of ASUU,Â he had the â€œpersonal credibility and integrity for the job.”
While expressing the hope that Jega would rise to his calling, he reminded â€œNigerians that free and fair election is not based on the man or the policies.â€
He said that ASUU-NEC took into consideration the political-cultural values and the character of Nigeriaâ€™s ruling class as major task that would militate against the conduct of free polls in 2011.
Awuzie urged INEC to seek the cooperation of labour, academia, students, professionals, women organisation and credible civil society organisation in carrying out its assignment.
He stressed the need for a peopleâ€™s political organisation to contend for power, enthrone true popular democracy and end the ruling class politics of accumulation.
The ASUU national president claimed that genuine constitutional amendment had not started, adding: â€œwe need to have the people constitution as against the protectionist constitution now in place.â€
On the forthcoming 50th anniversary, he said that it should afford the country the opportunity for nation-wide and mass-based stock taking of the under-development of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jega had at his inauguration pledged to work towards a free and fair election in 2011.
President Goodluck Jonathan in his latest posting on facebook vouched for the integrity of the INEC chairman, who he said, will conduct a free and fair election.