Ap­point­ments will le­gal­ize Kogi, Bayelsa elec­tions – Falana

Daily Trust - - NEWS - From Ab­dul­la­teef Aliyu & Ya­haya Ibrahim, Lagos

The ap­point­ment of Pro­fes­sor Mah­mood Yakubu as the sub­stan­tive chair­man of the In­de­pen­dent Na­tional Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (INEC) by Pres­i­dent Mo­ham­madu Buhari is a good de­vel­op­ment, Lagos-based lawyer and hu­man rights ac­tivist, Femi Falana has said.

The Se­nior Ad­vo­cate of Nige­ria (SAN), told Daily Trust in an in­ter­view that with a sub­stan­tive INEC lead­er­ship now in place, the forth­com­ing Kogi and Bayelsa gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions will be le­gal.

It would be re­called that Falana had con­sis­tently ad­vo­cated for the ap­point­ment of a sub­stan­tive INEC chair­man, in­sist­ing that the gov­er­nor­ship elec­tions in Bayelsa and Kogi states would be il­le­gal with­out a sub­stan­tive INEC lead­er­ship.

He had said in a state­ment on Sun­day that the elec­toral com­mis­sion is cur­rently con­sti­tuted by two na­tional com­mis­sion­ers and there­fore can­not take any valid de­ci­sion.

How­ever, Falana in a brief chat with Daily Trust said that the Pres­i­dent had hear­kened to the call for a sub­stan­tive chair­man which is a good de­vel­op­ment. He noted that the Pres­i­dent had only nom­i­nated the chair­man and five other na­tional com­mis­sion­ers who would be con­firmed by the Sen­ate.

He said, “That the Pres­i­dent has nom­i­nated the chair­man and com­mis­sion­ers is a good de­vel­op­ment so that th­ese elec­tions (Kogi and Bayelsa’s) would not be de­clared il­le­gal on the ground of lack of mem­ber­ship of INEC. I think it is a good de­vel­op­ment”.

Mean­while, speak­ing to Daily Trust on the ap­point­ment of Prof Yakub, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Civil So­ci­ety Leg­isla­tive Ad­vo­cacy Cen­tre (CISLAC), Awwal Musa Raf­san­jani, said the ap­point­ment of the new INEC chair­man was “purely based on merit and in­tegrity.”

Raf­san­jani, who spoke in a tele­phone chat, said: “Given the fact that the man has in­tegrity and does not have any record of neg­li­gence of duty or cor­rup­tion, we be­lieve he will add value to INEC and con­sol­i­date on the achieve­ments of Jega. INEC needs peo­ple with track records.”

“We want him to make sure that some of the lapses ob­served by dif­fer­ent mon­i­tors dur­ing the elec­tions are cor­rected. Also, let INEC be an in­de­pen­dent or­ga­ni­za­tion in which ev­ery Nige­rian, ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal party, will have con­fi­dence. We also want proper fund­ing for INEC.”

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