Press statement by the Transition Monitoring Group
The decision to seek and embark on ways to hasten the removal of Prof. Maurice Iwu is not that of the NLC alone.
The decision to seek and embark on ways to hasten the removal of Prof. Maurice Iwu is not that of the NLC alone. It is of great concern to all progressively minded Nigerians political parties and civil society having emanated from the fallout of the 2007 elections, which was badly managed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the leadership of Prof. Maurice Iwu.
The position of NANS, Senate and other beneficiaries of the 2007 elections, contradict that of the millions of independent voters in Nigeria and cannot be correct in the face of local and international observer’s reports and condemnation by the country’s assertive judiciary that the election was unfairly conducted and represented the worst that ever happen in Nigeria.
The TMG, NLC, TUC, NBA, UDA and NANS have differently expressed opposition to Iwu’s leadership of INEC and have for many times called for his removal, except that the federal government has been indifferent. Â We still stand on our calls that Prof. Iwus exist should be hastened. The battle to make Prof. Iwu yield position will not be restricted to press releases but will soon assume a new dimension, as it will now be fought on other fronts, politically and judicially.
As a civil society coalition in the forefront of election monitoring, the TMG will mobilize its over 360 NGO members nationwide and 36 states branches to join hands with Nigeria Labour Congress, TUC, NBA and other pro-democracy groups in Nigeria to legally express our discomfiture for Prof Iwus Continuation in Office and politically press for his removal.
President YarAdua will be risking the fragile goodwill he presently enjoys among Nigerians. If he fails to sack Prof. Iwu in collaboration with the senate through an address supported by two-third majority in accordance with section 157(1).
Prof. Iwus continued stay in office is a direct hard slap on the faces of Nigerians whose votes were made not to count during the 2007 elections while President Yar’Aduas indifference to the clarion calls of Nigerians on Iwus removal may become an open threat to the implementation of the recommendation of the electoral reforms committee currently being processed into a white paper.
TMG will advise President Yar’Adua to listen to the loud voice of Nigerians and resist retaining Iwu in office at the expense of the Nigeria project because election rigging in Nigeria would not be tolerated by Nigerian independent voters, anymore and its re-occurrence could bring unsavoury consequences that may position the masses against election riggers and their backers.
The Nigeria constitution does not give license to misconduct, inefficiency and the kind of fraudulent election conducted by Iwu, hence he should be recalled according to the constitution.
As for some Senators backing Iwu on the strength that the call for his removal is unconstitutional, it is strange coming from our law makers, it is saying, Nigerians or citizens have no right to express themselves over any issue. If the Senators are true expression of the mandate of their people why will it be difficult to secure the two-third support required by the President to remove Iwu?
The Senators by their action have shown their ignorance of the law and jettison their status before the electorate that they can be representatives through which peoples concerns could be voiced in the governing of the country. There is therefore little wonder why the legislative branch of government in Nigeria have failed to be the principal representative branch of a country’s governing institutions.
If various sections of the public have asked the President to remove Iwu, we wonder which section, these Senators represent and where they derived their powers and authorities from?
If the constitution is the basic law and provide for the removal of Prof. Iwu based on global condemnation of election discreditably conducted under his leadership, why are these Senators perverting the course of justice for self preservation?
Nigeria will not stop putting pressure on the President and the National Assembly until the President act wisely and the legislators become the electorates’ mouthpiece and serve as the medium by which peoples concerns are voiced.
We therefore call on the membership of the National Assembly to reverse it and move above selfish posturing to become the principal representative branch of government. The role of parliament is not only to enact laws, but include mediating differing constituency interest.
Comrade Mashood Erubami , Chair, TMG
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Publicity Secretary, TMG