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CATHOLIC CHURCH ADVOCATES A TRULY INDEPENDENT INEC
The Catholic Church, through its Justice, Development and Peace Centre, JDPC, on Tuesday called for the total independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, asking that the electoral umpire be detached from the apron-strings of serving politicians by fully implementing the recommendations of the Justice Muhammed Uwais Commission.
The JDPC executive director, Raymond Anoliefo, who is also a Catholic priest, gave this recommendation during a press conference held at Lagos.
Speaking under the theme: “State of the Nation: Political Logjam Trails Nigeria’s ‘First’ Election in the Fourth Republic”, Anoliefo frowned at the call by members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and its supporters for the sack of INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, for asserting the independence of the commission.
Noting that the call for the removal of an electoral chief was neither new nor strange, as “there had never been one since 1960 who was not handed a quit notice by politicians and their followers”, Anoliefo stated that the strange thing about the call for Jega’s removal “is that the calls are coming from the ruling party”.
The JDPC director who noted that the call from the employers of the INEC chief was the first of its kind in the nation’s political history stated that it was curious that unlike in Ghana, Sierra Leone and South Africa, in Nigeria, an electoral chief must be an obedient, pliant public servant, who must bend the rules to favour his employers or paymasters.
He called for the implementation of the recommendations made by the Uwais Commission to ensure a truly independent electoral umpire.
It would be recalled that the Mohammed Uwais Commission had recommended, among other things, that the chairman of INEC should be appointed by the judiciary rather than the President.