Let Judiciary Appoint INEC Chief – Atiku

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PDP's Atiku Abubakar

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general election, Atiku Abubakar has suggested on Monday that one way of addressing the lapses in the nation’s electoral system was to implement the salient recommendations of the National Electoral Reform Committee (NERC) headed by former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais.

Aligning himself with Uwais’ recommendations, he said the power to appoint the chairman and board of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) be taken away from the president and given to the judiciary.

He pointed out that the second way of addressing the lapses was the creation of an Electoral Crimes Commission.
The former vice president, in a statement, pointed out that the 2019 elections were several steps down from the 2015 elections in terms of credibility.

He said as a democrat he was challenging the result of that election in the right arena, the court.

He added: “However, leadership does not just entail getting justice for the past. A real leader knows that in terms of justice, prevention is better than cure.

“I have been pondering on the question, how can Nigeria have credible elections. Our electoral system needs not just to be brought up to date, by the acceptance of the amendments to the Electoral Act passed by the eight National Assembly, we also need to be up to tomorrow, by taking steps today to ensure that the lapses that made it possible for the 2019 elections to be manipulated or rigged are addressed.

“One way of addressing these lapses is to implement the salient recommendations of the National Electoral Reform Committee (NERC) headed by former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Lawal Uwais. The second is the creation of an Electoral Crimes Commission.”
Atiku explained that “one of such recommendations, which will enhance the independence of the supposedly Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), was the recommendation that the power to appoint the chairman and board of the INEC be taken away from the president and given to the judiciary”.

He added that of all three arms of government, the judiciary was the least affected by elections, “meaning that it has the highest objectivity in matters relating to the INEC”.

According to him, “It is, therefore, in the best position of the three arms to appoint a chairman and board members for the electoral body that are impartial, competent, and patriotic.

“This recommendation may seem like a small change, but my experience in life has taught me never to underestimate the big difference small changes can make.

“Nigeria today faces a lot of challenges, chief of which are security and economic revival. To effectively tackle these problems, a government must have an honest and indisputable mandate.

“Where you have an administration whose mandate is considered tainted, such a government will lack sufficient moral authority to tackle the myriad of problems this great nation currently faces.

“I conclude by saying that I do not believe in blaming. Leadership must be solution-oriented, not blame focused. This is why I proffer this patriotic advice. Nigeria must be great again and all hands must be on deck to achieve that.”

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