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JONATHAN NOT SERIOUS ABOUT ELECTORAL REFORM – AC

By NBF News
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The Action Congress (AC) has said President Goodluck Jonathan is not seriousabout electoral reform, despite insisting that his administration will organise free and fair elections in 2011. In a statement issued in Accra, Ghana on Sunday by its National Publicity

Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Nigerians should not be deceived by the president's assurances, and should instead judge him by his efforts so far in that direction (electoral reform).

The party said from all indications, all the recommendations made to Jonathan by the sub-committee on electoral reforms of the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) had been jettisoned by him. AC said the highlights of the recommendations, made to the president on May 19, include that he should invite governors elected on the platform of opposition parties as well as all opposition presidential candidates in the 2007 general elections to make recommendations on appointment into INEC, in line with how other countries like Bangladesh, Kenya under Arap Moi and Guyana in the grip of mutual distrust between the ruling party and the opposition resolved such issues.

The President was also advised to read the riot act to the security agencies concerning their role before, during and after elections; vigorous enlightenment campaigns by the government using the National Orientation Agency and the media on why every vote must count and ensuring that electoral materials are ready long before elections to avoid delay in voting and ensure all voters vote simultaneously.

'None of these recommendations has been implemented by the president, with just a few months to the next elections,' AC said, urging the PAC members to resign if they are not part of what is like a deliberate effort to stifle the success of the 2011 elections. 'The general feeling is that the president is following PAC's recommendations in carrying out the decisions he has made so far, especially in the appointments into INEC. If this is not so, it is better for the members to quit instead of soiling whatever reputation they have built over the years,' the party said.

It said if president Jonathan is truly committed to electoral reforms and wants to guarantee free and fair polls in 2011, as he has been telling the whole world, he should adopt the recommendations of the Uwais panel, especially relating to appointments into INEC.