Oshiomhole Cautions Jonathan On Choice Of INEC Chairman

Source: BABATOLA MICHAEL - thewillnigeria.com
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LAGOS, May 24, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was today urged to give the power to appoint the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman and 12 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to the National Judicial Council (NJC) as the report of Justice Mohammed Uwais Electoral Reforms Commission recommended.

Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole expressed this view at a business luncheon lecture organized in Lagos where the governor insisted that President Jonathan should ensure full implementation of all recommendations contained in the Uwais report.

Oshiomhole, who was a guest lecturer at the lecture organized by Lagos Island Club, said Jonathan should look into the pro-democracy or human right community to appoint the INEC umpire considering its impartiality and unbiased campaign for a stable democratic order that can guarantee rapid growth and development.

Speaking on "Good Governance as a Prelude to Economic Development," the governor advocated a legislation that will limit the founding and proliferation of political parties in the country and explained that the country’s political parties are too many and should be pruned down to a sizable number to allow discipline and focus.

According to him, the Uwais report recommends that the president should not exercise power to appoint INEC Chairman and RECs. I insist that the power to appoint the INEC chiefs should be exercised by the National Judicial Council (NJC) as the Uwais report has it."

He explained that if President Jonathan should exercise the power to appoint INEC Chairman, he should not appoint a card-carrying member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), stating that a credible Nigerian with no political affiliation should be appointed.

He cautioned that if President Jonathan "therefore differs and appoints a card-carrying member of the ruling party, he should not expect us to believe in his leadership. No person is too good to nominate an umpire in a game that he is a participant."

Oshiomhole tasked Jonathan not to listen those who argued that the people of Nigeria should trust the decision of President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and therefore can exercise the power to appoint the INEC Chairman and RECs.

"It is dangerous to take decisions on the basis of faces. Jonathan can lay the foundation of solid and stable democracy within six months. Jonathan has a rare opportunity to make history. If he must do so, he must not listen to those who cannot do without rigging elections.

"The position of INEC Chairmanship should be given to the pro-democracy or human rights communities who have no stake in the polity. The communities of human right and pro-democracy activists played strategic roles in the fight for democratic governance. They have been impartial, unbiased and critical of the political leaders in the country irrespective of their political affiliations," Oshiomhole said.

He called for a change of attitude and basis on which the political leaders take decisions, tasking all political leaders in the country to abide by the letter and spirit of the Oath of Office and making case for a stronger and more robust opposition parties.

He said it "is about having a stable democracy. The opposition is not sure of how to respond. There is an urgent need to limit the number of political parties in the country. Nigeria is our common heritage. It will not fail if will continue in the spirit of one man one vote."