BY CHRIS OCHAYI
ABUJA—With the general elections approaching, a group, National Youth Conscience, NYC, has faulted the present composition of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, noting that it did not reflect the federal character principle.
National President of NYC, Chief Festus Orji, who made the observation while speaking with newsmen yesterday, said Abdullahi Kaugama still holding sway as secretary of the commission violated Federal Character.
Chief Orji noted that the present Secretary of INEC should be replaced with a Southern candidate, since the Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, comes from the same Northern Nigeria.
According to him, “the practice has been that if the chairman is from the South, then the secretary comes from the North but unfortunately, the present composition has given the two very important positions to the north.”
He argued that the commission would not be lacking in getting a replacement for the present secretary, because even at the state levels and among the directors in INEC, there were competent hands to succeed him.
He said “you will recall that in the history of the hierarchy of the electoral body in Nigeria, each time the chairman comes from the South, the secretary will come from the North.”
“Now, each geo-political zone produces two Federal Commissioners, is the standard, and you have twelve Commissioners of the Commission, then you have the Chairman. So as it is now, the Chairman is coming from the North and the Secretary is coming from the North, then it doesn’t reflect the Federal Character.”
Chief Orji also called on the INEC Chairman; Prof. Jega to immediately effect the redeployment of all INEC Directors ahead of the conduct of the April general elections to ensure the elections are credible.
He was apprehensive that the Directors, if allowed to remain will jeopardise the fortune of credible elections, noting, “they have perfected the act of rigging or frustrating the system during the last dispensation.
According to him, “given their background, they may still dance to the whims and caprices of their paymaster and that would make it difficult for Jega to enjoy their loyalty.”