NBA Urges Jega To Overhaul INEC

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PHOTO: INEC CHAIR NOMINEE, PROFESSOR ATTAHIRU JEGA.
PHOTO: INEC CHAIR NOMINEE, PROFESSOR ATTAHIRU JEGA.
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ABUJA, June 12, (THEWILL) The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has urged the new INEC Chairman nominee, Professor Attahiru Jega, to clean the mess already existing at the commission to have a smooth sail if he must succeed in conducting credible general elections in the country next year.

While congratulating the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, on the appointment of Jega, the association notes with cautious optimism, the course which the current administration charts in its quest to confer credibility on its actions.

"The Bar must throw in a caveat to the new appointee who will be moving into an ambience already polluted by iniquitous acts. The Commission must be overhauled. Prof Jega must start on a clean slate", a statement from the NBA to THEWILL and signed by its President, Rotimi Akeredolu said.

The NBA said it will not be complacent in believing that the outstanding academic prowess of Professor Jega will perform miracles in the absence of institutional structures which must check any potential aberrant attitude adding that those who have no visible means of livelihood outside politics will be relentless in ensuring that the status quo remains.

Speaking on the recent attack on the House of Assembly in Oyo State by some hoodlums, the NBA said it was a litmus test for this administration stressing that it is treasonable to employ the force of arms to disrupt a legislative process as it is akin to waging a war against the people.

"Let no one reduce this act of brigandage to an untenable issue of political disagreement. Those responsible for this shameful act must be identified and punished. Those found to have participated in the mayhem and sponsors must be brought to justice", the statement said.

It further said that the test case for this administration lies in its ability to rein in the excesses of certain elements who commit crimes with impunity, while calling on the President on the need to adhere strictly to the tenets of rule of law, as there must be a marked departure from an attitude of transparent deceit adopted by government functionaries in the recent past.

"These political charlatans got away with all manner of atrocities under General Olusegun Obasanjo. Dr Jonathan must follow his words with deeds which give hope", the statement said in part.

Speaking on Senator Sani Yerima child-marriage saga, the NBA said without equivocation that the act of contracting any arrangement to satisfy the hedonistic urge of any individual is criminal.

"It becomes even more worrisome to note that these people strive to hide under a popular religion which preaches continence. It is rather curious that Senator Yerima is only clinging to a supposed aspect of his religion which allows a child barely out of cradle to warm his bed. The abiding injunctions on honesty, philanthropy and continence among others, on which all religions stand, are of little significance to this man," the statement said.

"The position of the Bar is that this man cannot continue to sit in the hallowed chamber of the Senate contributing in the making of laws he does not believe in. Characters like this man should not be allowed to hide under religion to perpetrate acts inimical to the well being of the citizens of this country, most especially children who must be protected by reasonable adults. The news that a former child-wife was divorced for him to marry a new child, as his fourth wife, in line with what he perceives as his religious obligation, must rile the sensibility of decent people" NBA said.

On the suitability of Mike Aondaaka, former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to hold public office after what he did to twist justice, the NBA said any petition received will be treated with dispatch, noting that without gloating, the Bar feels vindicated on its positions on national issues which certain political jobbers twisted to paint the association with the brush of partisanship undeservedly.