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AC faults Jonathan on INEC

LAGOS—The Action Congress, AC, has accused Acting President Goodluck Jonathan of sending wrong signals to Nigerians and the international community with his unbridled comments over some successful elections organised by the Professor Maurice Iwu-led Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,  in recent times.

In a statement issued in Lagos, yesterday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party argued that the Acting President’s comments amounted to a contempt of court, as the Anambra Governorship Election Tribunal is due to begin proceedings on Monday.

“The elections which Dr. Jonathan referred to during his interview with CNN are apparently those in Akoko- Edo, Anambra and the FCT, all held under his watch.

“In the first instance, saying the Anambra governorship election was well conducted, a few days before the Tribunal on that election is to open its proceedings, is capable of biasing the mind of the judges. This is very unfortunate, coming from the Ag. President.”

“Second, how can the leader of a democratic nation say that an election in which over 83 per cent of voters were disenfranchised – as was the case in the Anambra election – was well conducted? That statement is wrong in fact and in law,’’ AC said.

The party also disagreed that the FCT election last weekend was well organised, saying it suffered from the same INEC-perfected booby traps – like voters not finding their names on the register and election materials arriving late – as in other polls.

It said praising Iwu, at a time that Nigerians and the whole world are unanimous that he must be removed as part of an anticipated electoral reform, is a bad judgement, whatever the reason behind the undeserved praise.

AC reminded Dr. Jonathan that the best impact he can make in the few months remaining to the end of the tenure of the present administration is in the area of electoral reform, warning: “Making the kind of comments attributed to him on some successful elections does not reassure Nigerians that they can look up to the Acting President to rescue them from the scourge of election malpractices.

“There is a thin line between perception and reality. The moment Nigerians begin to feel that Dr. Jonathan is not committed to electoral reform, he would have succeeded in shooting himself in the foot, even before he acts on the reform,’’ it said.

The party said  the simple questions Nigerians want Dr. Jonathan to answer are: When will Iwu, who has become a metaphor for electoral malfeasance, be removed from office? When are we going to see concrete actions on the electoral reform? And will the Acting President deliver on his promise to organise free and fair polls in 2011?

“Anything else, like saying INEC has organised successful elections in  recent times, is an unnecessary distraction,’’ AC said.


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