9th August, 2011
The Lagos State chapter of the Action Congress of Nigeria has called for the full implementation of the reports of the Justice Muhammed Uwais Electoral Reform Panel as a way of sanitising the countryâ€™s electoral system and entrench a free and credible electoral system in the country.
The party is making this demand in the light of alleged clandestine moves by the Presidency to recruit card carrying PDP members as Resident Electoral Commissioners to replace the RECs whose terms have expired.
In a release in Lagos, signed by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of the ACN, Joe Igbokwe, the party says that burying the landmark reports of the Uwais Reform Panel under the carpet and continuing subjecting the electoral process to the influence of politicians will surely breed bad faith in the electoral process as the system will always to susceptible to manipulation. It urged President Jonathan to start the process of full implementation of the reports to chart the way to a more stable democracy for the country.
â€œWe are shocked that some card carrying members of the PDP and some RECs that have been friendly to the PDP are allegedly being recruited as RECS to oversee electoral conducts in many states where the tenure of sitting RECS have expired. We note that this will not be the case if the report of the Uwais Panel, which was well-received is implemented. We state that it is not the duty of interested politicians, warming various elective positions to appoint umpires in elections they are active participants.
â€œThis would not be the case if the reports of the Uwais Panel is implemented and the issue of appointment of INEC leadership is central in that report, as it is central to the conduct of elections in this country. We insist that, in line with the recommendations of the panel, appointment of INEC leaders must be left to the National Judicial Commission.â€
The party added: â€œWe also want to point out some of the remarkable recommendations of the panel, which if allowed to hold, will sanitise the present murky electoral system and these include, the time limit for adjudication in electoral disputes, the granting of financial independence to INEC, and many other lofty recommendations of that panel. We urge President Jonathan to have the courage to adopt the recommendations and allow the countryâ€™s electoral process the unhindered free hand to lead the process of leadership recruitment for the country.
â€œLagos ACN wants to alert Nigerians of the need to pressure the Presidency to let go of the electoral system so that it will serve the needs of Nigerians for a credible system that will assist in recruiting good and competent leaders to take the country out of the woods it is presently stranded in. We see the wholesome adoption of the Uwais Panel report as the starting point towards a free, fair and credible electoral process in Nigeria and we urge all Nigerians to insist that the reports of the panel be fully implemented.â€