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Nigeria: INEC advised to adopt Iwu’s voter’s register

Lagos lawyer, Mr. Bamidele Aturu, has advised the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, to adopt the voters register bequeathed by his predecessor, Prof. Maurice Iwu, given the time constraints and the inability of the commission to conclude the contracts for the supply of the equipment for the election.

While positing that it would save the country both money and time, the human rights activist contended that it was doubtful that the commission can produce a flawless register in the time available, adding that even if that was achievable, it will not be a sufficient condition for free and fair elections.

Aturu charged Nigerians to hold the National Assembly responsible if the 2011 general elections fail.

Aturu maintained that the constitutional amendment carried out by the lawmakers was faulty and unconstitutional, adding that it would have been lawful to conduct the 2011 elections in April.

“We have made the point repeatedly that the National Assembly for reasons best known only to its members approached the constitutional amendment in an unconstitutional manner.

“As matters on this issue are before the court, we will reserve further comments. However, it is our position that but for the controversial amendment to the Constitution, it would have been lawful to conduct the 2011 elections in April 2011.

“It would therefore appear that the National Assembly has imposed on all of us an urgency that is unwarranted having regard to our circumstances. It must take the blame if the elections are truncated by any means. They were adequately warned.

“The sensible position, in our view, is for the controversial amendment to be jettisoned and we revert to status quo, that is, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (un-amended). “This they can do by passing a Bill containing just a provision, namely: ‘The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (First Amendment) is hereby repealed’. In the interest of peace we would not challenge in court the obvious illegality of repealing an illegal Act.”