By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITYâ€”Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has faulted the law which empowers the President to appoint chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The Governor, who was guest speaker at a forum organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, with theme: â€œ2011 General Elections: Issues and Challengesâ€ in Abuja, said the president should not be allowed to exercise the power of appointing INEC chairman.
According to him, â€œit is simply unfair to ask the other party to trust the judgment of an opponent.â€
He maintained that the senate should let Nigerians know the specifics of the electoral reforms they were embarking on, insisting that the clause empowering the president to appoint INEC chairman must be removed.
He said the senate should rather adopt the Uwais report which sought to transfer the power to appoint INEC chairman to the National Judicial Commission.
Oshiomhole also faulted the power of the President to appoint INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners for the state where the Presidentâ€™s party is also a contestant, stressing that â€œif you allow the president to have these powers, you are not reforming but deforming.â€
The Governor, who noted that another problem facing the nationâ€™s election was the use of votersâ€™ register, said any INEC staff found to have doctored the voters register should spend some time in prison.
He challenged INEC and the judiciary not to allow anyone assume office until he had dispensed with all election petitions.
He said: â€œAs we speak, there are Assemblymen whose elections are still in court. Today, they will hear Prof. Iwu announcing the next election date and they will ask, â€˜the last election, they are still counting my vote and now another one is here.â€™
â€œFor me, therefore, nothing justifies the excuse that the man and woman with a stolen mandate is sworn-in either in the executive or in the legislative house. All matters must be resolved before someone is sworn in. â€œUnder the Nigerian legal system, if you are accused of stealing a car, they donâ€™t allow you to continue driving the car while the matter is still in court. The car is usually left at the police station and used as an exhibit.