* Writes Jonathan
* Wants leading parties involved in picking new chairman
By Jide Ajani, Deputy Editor
The General T.Y. Danjuma-led Presidential Advisory Committee, PAC, is pushing for a restructured Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the most fundamental change being the involvement of the five or six leading parties in the appointment of its new chairman.
The Commission currently has an acting chairman in Mr. Solomon Soyebi, pending the appointment of a substantive head to replace Prof. Maurice Iwu.
The immediate task of the incoming chairman is the conduct of next yearâ€™s presidential , governorship, national assembly and state assembly elections.
The PAC believes a chairman acceptable to the countryâ€™s main political parties and their presidential flag bearers is crucial to the elections.
The parties are, Action Congress, AC; All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP; All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Labour Party, LP; Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, and All Progressive Grand Alliance,
APGA, each of which won a minimum of one governorship slot in the 2007 elections.
The committee has already made its position on the issue known to the President.
Presidency sources said the issue was now receiving the attention of President Goodluck Jonathan which is partly responsible for the delay in sending the name of his nominee for the INEC chair to the Senate for confirmation.
â€œIt is true that the PAC made a very strong presentation n the urgent need for electoral reforms anchored on the basis of one man, one voteâ€, said one source.
â€œIt was one of the issues that were strongly debated at one of the sessions of the PAC and because of the importance of electoral reforms in the country, members were able to build and reach a consensus on the matter.
â€œOne is that the political parties with strong representation in the polity should be involved in the composition of the board of INEC.
â€œBy strong representation, we mean political parties with state governors.
â€œOur belief is that if these key stakeholders are carried along, the transparency of the processes will be open to them and it would reduce tensionâ€.
The PAC recommendation is different from that made by the Uwais Committee which prescribed that:
The National Judicial Council should:
(a) Advertise for the positions of INEC chairman and commissioners, spelling out the requisite qualifications.
(b) Receive applications / nominations from the general public.
(c) Shortlist three persons for each position.
(d) Send the nominations to the National Council of State to select one for each position and forward to the Senate for confirmation.