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MORAL BURDEN WILL HUNT OLURODE TENURE AS INEC COMMISSIONER - GROUP

By Kazeem Adekunle

A Non Government Organisation in Ekiti State, the Elections Transparency Group (ETG) has said that Prof. Lai Olurode, one of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner designate will be hunted by the moral burden of his alleged affinity with the opposition Action Congress (AC), saying; “a man, who described the government of a Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) controlled State as a government with a stolen mandate is obviously partisan.”

Reacting to Olurode's clearance by the Senate, ETG, in a release signed by its National Chairman, Dr. Kazeem Adekunle and made available to journalists today, said; “Olurode's clearance by the Senate, in spite of his obvious partisan comments is a sign that it is not yet uhuru for those of us clamouring for credible elections in Nigeria.”

Olurode, a University of Lagos (UNILAG) professor was quoted to have described the Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola-led PDP government in Osun State as a government with a stolen mandate.

He made the comment on June 12, 2009 while the elections petitions tribunal was still sitting on the petition filed by the AC governorship candidate in Osun State, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola against the election of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of the PDP.

According to Dr. Adekunle; “Olurode's alleged partisanship is in the public domain and that cross he will continue to carry for the rest of his life.

“Even with his clearance by the Senate, we are happy that the issue of his alleged partisanship was raised during his screening and he

(Olurode) confessed that himself and his wife wept when they read the allegation in the newspapers. We are happy that we were able to touch Olurode's conscience and we are sure that his tenure in INEC will be hunted by the moral burden of his alleged affinity with the AC.

“However, it is our position that weeping on matters like this is not enough, he should purge himself of partisanship and join others in seeing Nigeria as a country that is bigger than the political expansionist agenda of an individual or group.”

“While congratulating the new INEC boss, Prof. Attahiru Jega, the group urged him to be mindful of the antics of self-appointed rights activists, whose only interest is the success of the political agenda of their paymasters.

The group said it would monitor activities of INEC top functionaries because; “Nigeria must be allowed to be purchased by those self appointed democrats and rights activists, whose anti-democracy records are worse than the people they daily seek to demonise.”