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INEC: Jonathan To Drop Nominated Commissioners

Source: EWACHE AJEFU, ABUJA BUREAU CHIEF. - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN.
PHOTO: PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN.
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ABUJA, JAUNE 17, (THEWILL) - President Goodluck Jonathan has declared his intention to drop some nominees as Commissioners in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in response to several outcries that certain names were purely members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

Jonathan dropped this hint at the just concluded National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today in Abuja.

President Jonathan said he was going ahead to withdraw names mentioned in the media, particularly PDP card-carrying members even though there was no legislation preventing political party members from being appointed into INEC, just to ensure a free, fair and transparent 2011 elections.

Both Action Congress (AC) and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana faulted President Jonathan’s nominations citing several names that were PDP card-carrying members.

Some of the names the AC questioned include; Ambassador Z. Anka who contested the governorship of Zamfara on the platform of the PDP in 1999; General A B Mamman, member of the Board of Trustees of the PDP and Alhaji Yakubu Shehu, who contested the Senatorial elections in 2003 and 2007 on the platform of the PDP in Kaduna and also serves as the Chairman of PDP stakeholders in Giwa LG area of Kaduna state.

Hear Jonathan: "If we follow media publications you will notice that they come with clear evidence of some people that are clear members of political parties. The constitution does not say that if you are a member of a political party, you should not be in INEC. No, that is very clear.

"You can be a member of a political party. We can decide to make the Acting Chairman (of PDP) the chairman of INEC if we chose to do so, if we believe that he can conduct elections free and fair. I am not saying that he is going to rig election for PDP.

"In fact the law emphasized that to be in INEC you must qualify to contest election in the House of Representatives. For you to contest election into the House of Representatives, you must be a member of a political party. So if you follow the law to the latter you can appoint people in political parties to be in INEC.

"Active members of political parties will feel, wrongly or rightly, that we will be biased. If today I make the acting chairman as the INEC Chairman, they will say PDP has taken over the place. But for that reason I promised Nigerians and the whole world that come 2011, we are going to conduct free and fair elections, for that reason any body that will be in INEC should be somebody that should be above board", he said.

"People should have confidence in him because perception is one thing and reality is another. If they perceive that he will do the wrong thing even if he does the right thing, and somebody fails election they will believe that he was manipulated out, and for that reason, those people that have been linked to have played key roles in political parties, I am withdrawing them," Jonathan said.