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|Buhari, Atiku Warn On Possible Revolt By The People by fekwenugo2: 8:01am On Oct 16, 2009|
Buhari, Atiku Warn on Possible Revolt by the People
Former head of state and presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the 2003 and 2007 elections, General Muhammadu Buhari, said yesterday that a thorough amendment of the nation’s electoral laws prior to the 2011 general elections was “absolutely necessary for the nation not to be destabilized.”
Former vice-president Atiku Abubakar also cautioned the powers-that-be not to take “our people’s apparent docility for granted,” saying “as people elsewhere in the world have demonstrated repeatedly, patience and endurance have limits.”
“When those limits are breached,” he said, “the unfolding events are often beyond anyone’s control and we must act now to save this country from that fate,” he added.
Also former presidential candidate of the defunct All Peoples Party (APP)/Alliance for Democracy (AD) alliance in the 1999 election and facilitator of the Mega Summit Movement (MSM), Chief Olu Falae, has underscored the imperative of credible electoral reform.
He said credible election would continue to be elusive without genuine reform of the 1999 Constitution.
Buhari, Atiku and Falae spoke on the last day of the three-day National Public Hearing on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution organised by the Senator Ike Ekweremadu-led Senate Committee on the Review of the Constitution (SCRC).
Buhari, who said he was invited to the hearing by Falae, stated that he adopted the positions of the MSM as articulated by Falae at the hearing, pointing out that “I cannot afford to contradict MSM’s presentations.”
He expressed hope that the National Assembly would adopt the positions of MSM, the centrality of which is to reform and strengthen the nation’s electoral system.
According to him, “The selection and funding of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are important and that is why INEC must truly be independent.”
Buhari said a truly independent INEC would make the jobs of the police, judiciary and civil society easier.
But moments after he stepped out of the venue of the hearing, the former head of state expressed scepticism on the electoral reform agenda, saying in response to question on his expectations that “I do not trust anything again and I will rather wait and see.”
This scepticism was shared by presidential candidate of the AC in the 2007 elections and former vice-president Atiku, in the presentation made on his behalf by his former running mate, Senator Ben Obi.
In the eight-page presentation, he told the Senators thus: “I sincerely hope that we are not embarking on another process of deceiving ourselves and our friends.
“If we are not, then the reform of Nigeria’s electoral process must, in broad terms, be in line with the recommendations of the Electoral Reform Committee headed by Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais.
“That committee painstakingly gathered the opinions of Nigerians from across this country from all walks of life and from across the political spectrum.”
He, however, observed that so far, the government had shown little enthusiasm towards implementing the recommendations of the committee.
According to him, “This is obviously contrary to what was promised Nigerians and the world at the inauguration of this administration,” adding, “It is also contrary to what we were promised at the inauguration of the Electoral Reform Committee-that ERC report must be implemented if we are to have genuine elections where the votes of our people actually count.”
He said that a meaningful electoral reform for this country must contain the following among other important elements, to wit: it must guarantee the independence and impartiality of the electoral umpire, the INEC.
He said: “Therefore, the appointment of the Chairman and Members of INEC must be insulated from the government of the day; and funding for the INEC must be a first line charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CFR).
“We have heard arguments that the appointment of Chairman and Members of INEC is an executive function. This argument is not only childish but it is also, quite clearly, self-serving. It sounds like the argument of a child trying to cling to its lollipop.
“If this argument were true, Justice Uwais, whose Committee made the recommendation would, most certainly, know. He was the Chief Justice of Nigeria and a Justice of the Supreme Court. And he has debunked that argument before this Committee. The truth of the matter is that there is nothing inherently executive about the appointment of the chairman and members of INEC.
“If anything, it runs against the grain of natural justice that a party to an election would appoint the umpire to preside over the same election. This does not happen even in recreational games where the stakes are not nearly as high.”
He said Nigerians could and must be allowed to decide how they want the leadership of INEC to be appointed and no one must be allowed to stand in the way.
He declared: “We must put back the independence in the Independent National Electoral Commission otherwise this whole exercise will be a huge joke.
“In the same vein, the practice of INEC waiting for a President to ‘release’ money for its activities or to direct the security agencies to assist it in protecting voters and the ballot is not the mark of an independent agency.
“A truly independent INEC should be able to directly seek the assistance of security agencies on election matters, the same way that citizens in genuine democracy can seek the lawful assistance and protection of security agencies.”
He said he supported the ERC’s recommendation that the INEC be unbundled into three separate entities, adding, however, that the appointment of the heads of those three agencies should be in line with the recommendations of the ERC report regarding the appointment of the chairman and members of INEC.
Abubakar stated that “in the future, we should explore further improvements of our electoral system. This would include transforming the INEC into a purely regulatory agency so that States Independent Electoral Commissions and their equivalents at the local government level, when properly reformed, should handle all elections.”
He added, “I believe that efforts at making INEC independent should be extended to the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) so as to improve their performance.
“To abolish the State Independent Electoral Commissions and to centralize the conduct of all elections, as the ERC Report and Government White Paper recommend, would not only amount to an erosion of our federal structure but would also make it easier for a ruling party to coordinate electoral malpractice across the country.”
He continued: “We must stop making a mockery of elections by ensuring that disputes arising from the elections are resolved before the eventual winner takes office. This will help put an end to impunity.”
Abubakar told the hearing that election petitions should be expedited, pointing out that “One way of expediting election disputes before the tribunals is to reassign the burden of proof as recommended in the ERC report.
“If a party to an election challenges the outcome of that election, INEC must be made to prove that it has conducted the election according to the rules.
The MSM, in its presentation by Falae, said: “After two post-military elections, there should be no further excuses for the magnitude of electoral manipulation witnessed during the 2007 general election.
“The expectation of MSM is that current effort at reforming electoral system will achieve desired results through necessary amendments to the 1999 Constitution.”
Falae said that the Movement endorsed key elements of the recommendations of the ERC, maintaining that the reform of the Electoral Act 2006 and the 1999 Constitution should revolve around the composition and roles of the INEC, its independence and funding, among others.
|Re: Buhari, Atiku Warn On Possible Revolt By The People by bibiking1(m): 8:32am On Oct 16, 2009|
The demagogues are all scam artistes! They cause the problems and when they are no longer in favor they become activists!
|Re: Buhari, Atiku Warn On Possible Revolt By The People by Marymos: 8:41am On Oct 16, 2009|
@bibiking1,you are correct.
|Re: Buhari, Atiku Warn On Possible Revolt By The People by nex(m): 9:00am On Oct 16, 2009|
When that dictator Buhari was ruling this country like an animal farm, flogging men like beasts, I wonder why he didn't give an official statement that Nigerians would soon revolt.
When atiku (I don't even think that coward's name should be spelt with a capital letter anymore) was sitting atop PTDF with a bamboo straw between his lips, sucking this country dry, I wonder why he didn't give an official statement that the 1999 electoral laws with which he came into power would cause a revolution.
Olu Falae, that one eyed goat, did he not read the electoral laws before competing in the 1999 elections? So in other words, we'll begin the revolution with those that show so much belief in the system that disenfranchises the people.
Buhari, atiku, Falae, keep inciting a revolution, but know that we've got you on our radar; your names tattooed on our cutlass.
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