By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY — MA-JORITY Leader of the Edo State House of Assembly, Mr. Philip Shuaibu, has asked Nigerians to blame the Federal Government and not the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, if the 2011 general elections failed to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
According to him, “the INEC former executive led by Prof. Maurice Iwu should have been dissolved long ago, because if Jega was allowed to work one full year, to study the system in INEC, that will at least enable him discover all the bad eggs in the system and flush them out. But as it is now, Jega is in a dilemma and if any thing goes wrong with the elections, the Federal Government should be blamed and not Jega.”
Shuaibu who spoke in an interview with Vanguard, in Benin City, expressed doubt over the feasibility of the 2011 elections being conducted in April, just as he expressed fears that the nation may be looking towards the suggestion made by some eminent Nigerians that the hand over date should be shifted to Ocober 1, to enable Jega have a enough time to conduct a free and fair election.
His words: “With the level of work I have seen so far, I actually pity Jega. He is a very progressive person that all of us believe he can do the job but he is now in a system where he does not understand much”.
He is surrendered with those that the court discovered they do not have business in INEC. All those federal commissioners that conducted elections that the tribunals have nullified those elections, such eople are still in INEC, if those characters are still in INEC it will be difficult for Jega to be able to do what he wants to do for this country.
“Again, I am not seeing April election feasible, there could be magic but the way it is now, the machines are not in the country and it is not under the control of Jega, it is under the control of contractors.
If those machines are not in the country by November, I do not see any magic. Even when the machines come, people need to study them and know how it is operated. So if you check the period the machines will be arriving the country and the period of training, I do not think January will be possible for registration.
And if January is not possible for registration, it means we will be having crisis in fixing election in April” he said.
On the call by some Nigerians that the hand over date should be moved to October 1, Shuaibu stated that “I am one of those that do not believe in tenure elongation because extending the hand over date amounted to tenure elongation. But looking at what is happening now, I strongly believe that we may have to think along that line.
But I think it will be criminal for any of us to elongate our tenure beyond May 29 and I hope it will not get to that”.