Written by Mohammed S. Shehu:
Professor Maurice Iwu’s controversial five-year tenure as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] will come to an end when he leaves office this week and the Presidency has indicated that it does not intend to reappoint him for a second term, a top government official said in Abuja last night.
The source said already, the Presidency has began compiling the names and CVs of competent and credible persons who could be appointed to Iwu’s chair in order to lay the foundation for credible elections next year. He however indicated that no decision has been arrived at yet over Iwu’s successor.
Last week, some youths staged a demonstration in Abuja urging the government to reappoint Iwu, who they said is the best person to deliver credible polls in Nigeria. However, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) together with several human rights and civil society groups staged a large counter demonstration urging the government to quickly sack Iwu.
Professor Iwu was appointed to a five-year term by the Obasanjo regime in 2005. Under him, INEC conducted the 2007 general and presidential elections, unanimously condemned by local and foreign observers as the worst in the world’s history.
According to the senior official, reforming this country’s electoral system is one of the three-point agenda that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has set for himself in the eleven months left before the administration’s tenure runs out in May next year. The other two, he said, are improved power supply and consolidation of the amnesty program in the restive Niger Delta region.
The top government source also indicated that the Federal Government has identified “leadership problem” as the source of the recurrent crises in Plateau State. He said “the day Governor Jonah Jang begins to see himself as the governor of all Plateau State and not just of the Beroms, the crises in Plateau State will end.”
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