Sunday, December 14, 2008
OPTION A 4, IBB'S GIFT TO NIGERIA!
Hurray! some men of wisdom have finally acknowledged, that Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida's wondrous gift to the Nigerian electoral process Option A4, was the panacea for the ever crowded Nigeria political arena problems. The former Chief Justice Mohammed Uwais pictured here right, chaired Electoral Reform Committee just recommended exactly what the evil-genius doctor IBB ordered! Option A4, the modified open ballot system which involves a series of party caucuses and voting, progressing from council to state and national levels was accredited with producing Nigeria's first freest and fairest election in 1993. It is now being touted as the best guarantee for future polls that would, once and for all, stop embedded rigging of elections in Nigeria. Icheoku says that the committee would have taken a step further to acknowledge the author of Option A4, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, smiling here left in the picture!
The committee also advocated for taking away of the appointment of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman from Aso Rock and handing it over to the National Judicial Council (NJC) which is presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria. Such appointment of the INEC Chairman should be confirmed by the Senate and that he/she should not be removed from office except by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. The committee wants funding for the INEC to be by first line charge not subject to the whims and caprices of Aso Rock. This would remove the control of the INEC from the President who could use his powers to fund it to serve his personal political motive. Another recommendation is the creation of an Electoral Offences Commission (EOC), headed by a retired Judge, which will prosecute electoral offenders in the manner financial crime is prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Also recommended is that results of elections be immediately announced at the polling booths soon after casting and counting of ballots.
Nigerians were unanimous in expressing their concern on the deficiencies and lack of independence of the electoral commissions at both the federal and state levels," Uwais had told him. "Accordingly, we are drawing detailed recommendations to address the focal issues of the composition, the administrative autonomy and funding of the electoral commissions." With the conclusion of the work of the ERC the hope looks bright for free and fair elections, and a transparent Electoral Commission.
Icheoku says that these recommendations were well thought-through and is in tandem with majority of opinions in Nigeria which Icheoku correctly articulated in some of our previous commentaries herein. All that is needed now is the strength of character to issue a white paper on the recommendations; but regrettably, if the recommendations follows a known trend in Nigeria, it might never see the daylight again. Peradventure, Umaru Yar'Adua may want to prove his mettle and Icheoku challenges him to accept and implement the Justice Uwais recommendations as they will truly bring to an end, the trauma which elections has since become in Nigeria.
See also an article/comment titled: the evil genius has spoken !