INEC Board Complete As Senate Clears Two More Commissioners

Source: EMMA UCHE -

ABUJA, July 27, (THEWILL) - The Senate today concluded the process of giving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) a complete board with the screening and confirmation of the nomination of Dr Mohammed Wali (Sokoto State, North West) and Dr Christopher Iyimoga (Nasarawa State, North Central) as National Commissioners.

The two brings the total number of INEC commissioners screened and cleared to eleven. The process marks the completion of re-constituting of the 13-member INEC board, as two commissioners -Solomon Soyebi and Philip Umeadi - are yet to complete their terms in office.

Soon after their confirmation, Senate President, Senator David Mark charged them to join their other colleagues and ensure that they deliver on their mandate of conducting free, fair and credible elections in the forthcoming polls.

"What this country wants now is a free, fair and credible elections and I enjoin the confirmed Commissioners to join their other colleagues to achieve this for Nigerians," he said.

Fielding questions from the senators during the screening exercise, the commissioners promised not to compromise on their given assignments and enjoined all stakeholders to cooperate with INEC to deliver satisfactorily.

Dr. Iyimoga expressed belief that, "election is the collective responsibility of everybody starting from the family, the schools, the churches, organizations and even the political parties; they should have the zeal to ensure that the rules guiding elections are followed".

He further asserted that the theatre and the media were powerful weapons to

effectively enlighten Nigerians especially those in the grassroots of the need to vote according to their conscience.

On the issue of women participation in politics, Iyimoga advocated 40 percent participation but added that every party has its rules and guidelines "which unfortunately, INEC cannot interfere with".

For Dr. Wali said, "there is deficit in the current voters' register" and that "it is possible to produce a new register to be able to have elections in January 2011." According to him, credible leaders could only emerge if the political parties produce credible candidates and the electorates in turn vote credible persons into office without prejudice".

However, Senate spokesman, Sen. Ayogu Eze has assured that the Senate is willing to treat INEC's request for more funds with dispatch, as soon as such request is made.

"The National Assembly is very willing once we have proposal for required funds we are ready to cooperate to glorify Nigeria in the January elections; by stating clearly that we want credible elections is to ensure that whatever impediment on the way of free and fair elections are removed.

"We are in close consultation with INEC on a time frame to conduct the elections; where we had 60 days they suggested 90 and we granted it in the Electoral Act; we are walking the road every inch with INEC", he assured.