olisa agbakoba

Pulled From Global Village Extra

Olisa Agbakoba, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, has warned the federal government and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP against any attempt to forcefully evict Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
 In an interview with Daily Independent on Friday, Agbakoba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, urged the federal government to kill the idea of sending the INEC Chairman on terminal leave before the conduct of the general elections scheduled for 28 March and 11 April 11.
Agbakoba warned that any attempt to go ahead with the removal plot would be unfortunate and not right, because everything must be done at this crucial stage to make sure the polls are not only seen to be free and fair but must clearly be seen to be so.
He revealed that any attempt to remove Jega now would occasion the sowing of seeds of a major crisis, and that everything must be done to avoid it.
Agbakoba, who insisted that it would be appropriate to allow Jega conduct the polls before his tenure ends, also warned against any further shift of the general elections, noting that such an action would spell doom for the country.
The legal practitioner said Nigerians have a lot to thank the All Progressives Congress, APC for, especially for redeeming them from the impunity of the PDP, which had taken the people for granted for too long.
He noted also, that if it had not been for the emergence of a strong opposition party such as the APC, the PDP would have continued to treat Nigerian people with disdain.
The senior lawyer, however, berated the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, for choosing to speak at Chatham House in London while neglecting the debate that was organised here in Nigeria.
Agbakoba said it would have been better if Buhari had told Nigerians what he hoped to do and how he would go about his programmes rather than speaking to foreigners.
“I think both major political parties (PDP and APC) should stop all these twisting and all that. Let them go and face the people and account for their good and bad deeds. We the people are the ones that will determine whether they will get in or not and unfortunately, I have not seen that in clear terms other than the hate messages,” Agbakoba said.
Speaking on the deployment of the military for elections, the senior lawyer said it would be foolhardy for a country that had been fighting a civil war for the past six years to avoid the deployment of soldiers for elections, adding that the Constitution and the Geneva Convention, which Nigeria is a signatory to, allows the deployment of armed personnel to monitor elections, and that the uproar over the issue was unnecessary, especially considering the internal war going on in the country.
Agbakoba expressed shock that Nigerians were only talking about the inadequate distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), and not concentrating on other logistics issues as well as the manpower of the INEC.
According to him, “thank God, elections were postponed but the fact is that election on February 14 would have been a massive disaster. We are all talking of inadequate PVCs and no one is concerned about whether there is adequate ballot papers; whether there is adequate ballot boxes and whether there is adequate manpower and expertise to man all the polling boots across the country”.
He blamed the issues of internal democracy, which is fast disappearing in all the political parties, on INEC saying the electoral umpire has not been efficiently and effectively performing its regulatory role.
“I was a member of the Uwais Committee and part of our recommendations is the unbundling of INEC. The commission is saddled with too many roles aside conducting elections and that is why they are not doing so well in other areas,” Agbakoba added.

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here