Another Electoral Reform Committee Not Necessary – Dele Ashiru

Dele-AshiruA lecturer at the University of Lagos Political Science Department, Dele Ashiru, has berated the Nigerian government for its refusal to implement the recommendations of past committees that have been set up to review the country’s electoral system.

He was a guest of Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, October 4, the day the Federal Government had fixed to inaugurate the electoral reform committee to be headed by former Senate President, Ken Nnamani.

Ashiru wondered to what extent the recommendations of past electoral committees have been implemented in Nigeria, particularly the Justice Mohammed Uwais’ panel.

“This is a panel instituted by government to look at grey areas within the electoral process and I dare say that the panel had done a commendable job, at least according to all those who have assessed the report of the Uwais’ panel.

“So, one is surprised that another panel is being instituted when critical recommendations by the Uwais panel are yet to be implemented,” he said.

He described the Nnamani panel as diversionary and unnecessary as he also wondered what area of the electoral system had not been covered by the Justice Uwais report.

Mr Ashiru highlighted some of the recommendations of the Justice Uwais panel which he believed if implemented would provide solutions to many challenges faced during elections in Nigeria.

He mentioned the need for the Electoral Offences Commission and the exemption of INEC from the internal affairs of political parties, as key recommendations that should be implemented.

“What this government should be doing, which I think should represent the ‘change’ upon which they campaigned is to take the bold step in implementing these recommendations,” he maintained.

He also condemned the choice of Senator Ken Nnamani as the head of the committee, saying he is a “known partisan politician”.

“What manner of reform do you expect from a panel composed of purely politicians?” he asked.

Obasanjo sues for peaceful election process in Ghana

As Ghanaians go to the polls on Friday to elect their President and Parliament members, the Head of ECOWAS Observation Mission for the election, former Nigeria’s President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has urged politicians and their followers to avoid bitterness and violence to ensure a peaceful, free and fair, transparent and credible elections.

“We are here as witnesses because Ghana matters to Ghanaians, Ghana is important to West Africa, Africa and the world at large,” Chief Obasanjo said on Ghana National Television on the eve of the election, which is being observed by a 250-strong ECOWAS Observer team.

Repeating the same theme on a programme on national radio, he urged the country’s politicians and their followers to trust established institutions – the judicial, electoral and security systems – and build on the blocks and reputation of peaceful elections in Ghana.

The head of mission, who has interacted with various stakeholder institutions, including political parties and personalities since his arrival on Monday, said his delegation “is reasonably satisfied,” with the level of preparation for Friday’s balloting.

There are 14.7 million biometric-registered voters, who will be electing the nation’s leader and members of the 275-seat Parliament.

As with most elections, Chief Obasanjo said the country might be going through “an election fever,” which is expected, but he expressed the hope that Ghanaians would live up to the country’s reputation.

ECOWAS observers have been deployed to the 10 administrative regions of Ghana to cover much of the 26,000 polling stations on polling day.

The regional Observation Mission will issue a Preliminary Declaration on Saturday on the conduct of the elections on Friday.