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ABUJA LAWYERS BACK ELECTORAL REFORM

By NBF NEWS
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By Gowon Emakpe
March 25, 2010 03:49AM
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Abuja branch has said that for the country to achieve a credible and lasting democracy, the electoral commission should be apolitical, independent and non-aligned. It therefore called for the removal of Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Maurice Iwu to pave the way for a free and fair election in the country.

The call is coming ahead of the planned protest by the Nigerian Labour Congress for the removal of the Mr. Iwu.

Surgical electoral operation Abdul Ibrahim, the Chairman of the Abuja chapter of the NBA, in his address at the first annual law lecture series in honour of the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lawal Gummi said, “in our quest, desire and aspirations to enthrone democracy, it is the position of the Unity Bar that very proactive step and measures be taken which amongst others include: a holistic electoral reform not only to reflect the popular mood of Nigerians but to avoid the mistakes of the past which has inevitably led to calls for a change of guard of the national umpire. We also demand that the Justice Muhammadu Uwais report on electoral reform be implemented.” Speaking on the Jos crisis, the NBA called on the federal government to bring to book, perpetrators of all the sectarian killings that have plagued the country in recent times.

It also condemned the recent attack on officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Owerri that led to the death of one of them.

The association praised Justice Gummi for what it described as his “ambitious commitment and proclivity for excellence to the practice of law which has remained unparalleled.” In his paper Lateef Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, also supported the call for the removal of Mr. Iwu.

According to him, it was not proper for a man who has performed so badly in the past to preside over another election. He scored INEC very low in terms of performance saying it was the most criticised organ of government.

“Since its inception, almost all the political parties with the exception, of course, of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] have called for a total overhaul of INEC's operation,” he said.