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Nigerian Elected Officials And Civil Society  Call For Election Chief Removal


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.

"My 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."

Chief 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."

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