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ACN Backs Jega To Complete Electoral Process

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
INEC CHAIRMAN, PROFESSOR ATTAHIRU JEGA.
INEC CHAIRMAN, PROFESSOR ATTAHIRU JEGA.
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ABUJA, April 04, (THEWILL) - The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that while it is not surprised at the calls in certain quarters for INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega to resign or be sacked, following the failure of last Saturday's National Assembly election, his sack or resignation at this time will have a more negative effect on the electoral process and put democracy in jeopardy.

In a statement issued in Ilorin, Kwara State, today by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said while it was shocked at the poor preparations by INEC for the 2011 general elections, as reflected in Saturday's setback, it believes that the one-week postponement should give the commission enough time to rectify the problems identified during the ill-fated poll and still give Nigerians free, fair and credible elections.

''We do not believe that any excuse can justify the embarrassment to which the nation was subjected to on Saturday. In fact, we were among the first to condemn the failure and also reject the move to hold the National Assembly election today (Monday). However, we align with those who said it requires a lot of courage on the part of Prof. Jega to stop the process when it became obvious things were not going well, and to also personally take responsibility for the failure. That is rare in these climes.

''In fact, we will like to note that if what happened on Saturday had occurred under Prof. Maurice Iwu, the election would have continued and the results would have been collated and announced, with or without result sheets.

''Therefore, unfortunate and inexcusable as the failure of last Saturday's National Assembly election may be, it not translate to calls for Prof. Jega to resign or be sacked. Some of those instigating the calls are not even doing so for patriotic reasons. In fact, we have it on good authority that die-hard election riggers are not comfortable with Jega as INEC chairman, since they see him as a stumbling block to their fraudulent plans, hence would not mind getting rid of him by all means.

''We also know that massive pressure is being mounted on INEC to jettison the Modified Open Ballot system and replace it with the Secret Ballot system which some unscrupulous parties see as a better system for them to perpetrate their rigging plans. We say no to this, and warn that any attempt to get rid of Jega and replace him with a pliable INEC Chairman will be resisted,'' ACN said.

The party however challenged Prof. Jega to rise up to the occasion and work hard to meet the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians for a successful election.

In particular, it said, the INEC Chairman must provide answers to the following posers in order to engender more confidence in his commission's ability to recover from Saturday's false start and give Nigeria a credible election:

'How will INEC rectify the problems of multiple symbols, like those of AC and the ACN appearing side by side on the same ballot? What about parties whose symbols were not even on the ballot?

'Has INEC been able to fully retrieve the ballot papers sent out on Saturday for the National Assembly elections? Can INEC assure Nigerians that the ballots have neither fallen into wrong hands nor been printed by unscrupulous politicians?

'Will INEC use the same ballot as the one deployed for Saturday's ill-fated poll? If so, how does INEC rectify a situation in which some of those ballots have found their way into some government houses, as being alleged in certain quarters?

ACN urged Prof. Jega to keep Nigerians abreast of the efforts being made by INEC to prevent a recurrence of Saturday's electoral fiasco, possible by providing daily briefings for the media in the run-up to Saturday's National Assembly election.