INEC PVC Distribution ‘Abysmal’ – Ahmed

Ismail AhmedA youth leader in an opposition party in Nigeria, the All Progressives Congress, Ismail Ahmed, on Wednesday, described INEC’s distribution of the Permanent Voters Card  (PVC) as “abysmal”, noting that “there’s a general feeling that there is a deliberate attempt to sabotage this effort”.

“I think it was a very poor distribution exercise,” he said while giving his opinion on the PVC distribution on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television’s programme.

He stated that some other states asides Lagos had experienced poor service from the electoral umpire.

“Of about the 484 wards we have in Kano, I don’t think there’s been distribution in up to about 200 wards (which is very low),” he said.

He noted that there were all kinds of excuses by INEC officials concerning the delay in distribution, including cases of stolen and burnt voter cards.

“If a bank can give you an ATM card and cash at the same time. You can use an ATM card to withdraw within specific days after it was issued. Why can’t a government institution like INEC, with all the resources at its disposal, do it in four year?” he questioned.

He highlighted that the constitution permits every Nigerian that is up to 18 years and above to vote, noting that since INEC is aware of the legal implications of the issues, it should allow voters with either temporary or permanent voters cards to carry out their civic duty.

“If INEC knows they are going to have a problem with these Permanent Voters Card, I think the best way to go about it is to allow anybody (whether with the temporary card – because they issue the temporary cards) or the Permanent Voters Card to vote on election day

“Then we can take care of the Permanent Voters Card (issue) as and when due; But you cannot have it from 2010 to 2014 and it’s still at this abysmal level.

He was not hopeful about INECs ability to deliver within four days, insisting that the agency had not performed so well in four years.

You Cannot Legislate A National Conversation – Legal Practitioner

A Legal practitioner, Ismail Ahmed, has said that he does not think the National Conference, as proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan, should hold as it is not possible to legislate a conversation which has been on-going for many years, in public places.

“I don’t think we should have it,” Ahmed said. “Personally, I think this government has made a reputation out of creating unnecessary committees. About 70 committees so far in the last 3 years and nothing has come out of it.”

Ahmed, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, was of the opinion that a conversation which Nigerians have had in their homes and schools for many years cannot be made into law.

He raised doubts that the Goodluck Jonathan Confab would make any difference from the last Conference initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Echoing the opinion of a public affairs analyst, Mr Bola Bakare, who was on Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, Mr Ahmed stressed that the Conference timing was inappropriate. He said that it was too close to the 2015 elections.

The legal practitioner posited that President Jonathan should have added the idea as part of his transformation agenda in 2011.

The time at which the initiative is coming to reality is wrong, he stressed.

Although many have criticised President Jonathan’s clause which mandates that recommendations from the National Conference would be verified by the National Assembly, Mr Ahmed opined that it is reasonable since “we are running a constitutional democracy”.

“The President cannot do as he pleases, even though most times, he does, but in this case he can’t. So, it would still have to go back to the National Assembly.”

He supported the argument raised by Mr Bakare that the time given to the advisory committee to present a report to the president is too short.

He said it would be better if the committee would begin work after the 2015 elections with a new government in place.