By Gabriel Enogholase
FOR a free, fair and credible election in 2011, Nigerians have been told to demand for the full implementation of the Justice Muhammad Uwais Panel Report of Electoral Reforms.
The Senior Special Assistant to Governor Adams Oshiomhole on Policy and Strategy, Mr. Taiwo Akerele gave this advice in Benin Sunday at a press conference to herald the launching of one man one vote campaign in Akoko-Edo Local government Council this weekend.
He said only the qualified personnel and head of the Independent national Electoral Commission [INEC], appointed by National Judicial Council with input from the people can guarantee a free, fair and credible election next year.
Besides, Mr. Akerele added that the role of security agencies cannot be over emphasized, adding â€œif the police id corrupt or compromised, we cannot guarantee a credible poll. Nigerians must campaign for police reforms before electoral reforms.â€
â€œFor elections to be free and fair, the Nigerian Police must show leadership and non-partisan posture. If this is achieved, we would have recorded a milestone towards a credible electoral process in the country.â€
Mr. Akerele also called on Nigerians to be security conscious during and after elections in their voting domains, just as he called on the electorate to report strange, unauthorized movement of persons, suspected thugs, and illegal movement of arms among others to the police, traditional rulers and other security agencies.
Stressing that economic empowerment was the key to genuine elections, the Senior Special Assistant to Oshiomhole called on government at all levels to put in place strong macro and micro-economic framework for the empowerment of its citizens.
â€œIt is near impossible for Nigeria to achieve a corrupt free electoral process if our people do not have economic freedom. The tendency for people to collect token from politicians in Nigeria is high due to prevailing economic conditions. We must create employment for our young people; we must pay pension, gratuity and salaries as at when due among othersâ€.
On why Akoko-Edo was taking the led in the one man one vote rally, he said that since 1999, votes in the local government have never really counted as a result of the roles of godfathers and lack of awareness amongst the people.
He noted that it was in Akoko-Edo that godfatherism in Edo State was defeated during the August 2009 bye-election into the State House of Assembly, insisting that it therefore became imperative for the campaign to be flagged-off in the area.