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Iwu would not conduct 2011 elections, says Ojo Maduekwe

“Mr. President himself in his acceptance speech during his inauguration ceremony publicly accepted that the process that brought him to power was flawed, so, Nigerians would be shocked if the same President goes ahead to re-appoint the same man to conduct the 2011 general elections.’

These are the words of  Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, during an audience he granted a delegation led by the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie Carson, in New York

“As at present, the President has demonstrated that he is a great respecter of the rule of law, by not sacking the Chairman as soon as may people expected.

“He has simply waited for the tenure to expire so that some other people who can conduct a transparent general election are appointed.

“What the government is doing now is that we are taking steps to reform the electoral process so that the mistakes of the past would not be repeated.

“We have conducted so many elections in the country, and we can say that judging with the results, some of the results are better than the others, and we are committed to getting everything right with the opportunity of the 2011 elections.

“We note your concerns about the electoral process in our country, and I assure you that the process that would lead to the elections in 2011 is being put in place,” the Minister stated.

He also assured investors in the country as well as those who might wish to invest to make the move and because that the amnesty declared for militants in the Niger Delta region is the first among the several plans being explored to solve security problems in the region.

According to him, “the amnesty declared by government for militants in the Niger Delta region is the first among many other plans to proffer political solutions to the developmental problems in the region.

“Government has always identified the imbalance in the development of the region which produced the greater percentage of the wealth of the land, but all along, the militancy was the problem that made developing the place difficult for government as so many contractors had to abandon their projects for the fear for life.

“But as we speak here now, many more young men and women who hitherto were hidden in the creeks to forcefully take some of the crude oil and sell illegally to even sometimes build infrastructure in the villages now have started surrendering.

“The Ministry of Niger Delta Development which was established as a direct response to the agitation in the region has also gone very far to draw up a road map for the region after the youths turn in their arms.”

Speaking earlier as the leader of a four-man delegation, United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie Carson expressed concerns over the lull in political activities in the country in less than two years to general elections.

“We are concerned that in less than two years to the elections, the political arena is not taking any particular shape.

“We were shocked to learn that the Chairman of your electoral body stated that the failure of the elections in 2007 was due to a third term project, but our view is that if he was not bold enough to have resigned his appointment then over undue influence from his employers, he will bend again this time if allowed to conduct the elections.

“Nigeria has always been seen as a great ally of the United States and as much as we would wish to assist Nigeria to attain very great heights, we can do very little if the political leaders are not taking steps towards developing the country.”

Source: Vanguard