There are growing
demands from prominent politicians, organized labor and student groups for the
removal of the head of the Nigerian Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).
The calls for the ouster of Chief Maurice Iwu come on the heels of court
reversals of several governorship electoral victories that analysts say
undermine the integrity of the commission. Chief Iwu says only an act of
parliament can remove him from office. His supporters say he is not to blame.
They say it's the fault of the electoral system as a whole.
Among those calling for his dismissal
is Anambra State governor Peter Obi. He
tells VOA English to Africa reporter Chinedu Offor that Nigeria cannot hold
free and fair polls with the present INEC leadership.
position is very simple, if we chose to be a democratic country, elections
should be free and fair. The peoples vote must count; that is the beauty of democracy.
People must be allowed to freely elect those who serve them and if an
organization conducts an election like the one…in 2007, and suddenly virtually
75 per cent of the election ended up in court in litigation, then that
organization should be dismantled immediately."
Obi says he is calling for the total reorganization of the agency to serve the
interest of the country and promote democracy among the people.
"I am not saying who will fire him or
who will not fire him, am not interested in that. You cannot put the country
into a mess…. We are still trying to unbundle the mess created by this
organization, look at the cost of setting up tribunals, the cost of running all
those courts. When you have a tribunal, the judges that are participating or
presiding actually abandon their regular courts and the cases there are being
delayed. That means the cases they are handling will be delayed for two years
at an enormous cost to the country, enormous distractions. Look at governors
being removed after years after the election."