AC FAULTS SENATE ON UWAIS REPORT
The Action Congress (AC) has called on Nigerians to ensure that the Senate's rejection of the Uwais recommendation on the appointment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman does not stand.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party also called on Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to take the shocking decision of the Senate as a challenge that he must tackle squarely, if he is to usher in a new era of electoral sanity, warning that he has little or no time to act on an issue that may well define his tenure.
'We call on all political parties, civil society organisations, professional bodies and concerned individuals, elder statesmen, among others, to take all necessary actions, within the ambit of the law and the realms of decency, to push the senators to change their decision and act in the interest of Nigerians.
'Such actions can take the form of peaceful protests to the Senate; letters from Nigerians to their senators as well as education of the senators on the dangers posed to the electoral reform by their actions and the dangers inherent in organising the 2011 general elections without a comprehensive electoral reform.
'In particular, we will like to remind all political parties preparing for the next general elections to rather channel their energies to fighting for electoral reform. Otherwise, all their preparations will only amount to a 'moonslide victory' for the PDP which, as things stand today, has the security agencies and INEC in its pocket as agents of rigging.
'The acting president must also use all the available political tools and muster all the authority provided by his high office to push through an electoral reform that must include a non-partisan means of appointing the nation's electoral chief,'' AC said.
The party queried whether indeed the senators who took that decision are truly representing Nigerians, saying if indeed they were, they would have known that the issue of the appointment of INEC chair ranks highest on the list of recommendations made by the Uwais panel. Simply put, it is the signature issue in the electoral reform debate.
It challenged the senators to call for an opinion poll on the issue, if they doubted the assertion that it is of utmost importance to Nigerians as far as electoral reform is concerned.
'We, in the AC, are at a loss as to why the Senate, comprising supposedly elected representatives of the people, decided to act against the interest of the same people who elected them. Or could it be that they are not in touch with the people they are supposed to be representing?
'Could the action have been dictated by the principle of self preservation? In other words, by shooting down the recommendation that will see the emergence of an unbiased, non-partisan, fair and courageous electoral umpire, could they have been rooting for the appointment of a party man who will dance to their tunes and ensure their 'selection' in 2011? Are they afraid of a free and fair elections because they cannot win under such circumstances?' the party asked.
'These are some of the questions agitating the minds of patriotic Nigerians, who are tired of enduring the ridicule to which our country and her people have been subjected by a succession of shoddily-organised, massively-rigged and violent-prone elections,'' AC said.
The party reminded the acting president that whatever may be his priorities in the few months remaining to the next elections, such priorities will sail or sink with electoral reform.
'The pillar on which Nigeria's democracy rests is electoral reform, not infrastructure – as important as that may be. It is because of this that countries don't fail because of lack of infrastructure, but they do because of electoral brigandage, which in turn fuels unbridled corruption (financial or otherwise) and ultimately, spiraling political violence – the end of which no one can ever predict.