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INEC Boss Must Be Probed

by on27 January 2007 17415 times
Media reports that the Indepedent Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu lied about his academic credentials is troubling. An electoral commission is a sensitive institution expected to be led by people with the highest degree of integrity and honesty. This is the reason why allegations that Professor Iwu lied about part of his academic qualifications must be urgently unravelled. The elections cannot be supervised by someone who is generally perceived as a dishonest person.

The Citizens for Nigeria has not assumed that Professor Iwu is a dishonest official. However, if he does not come foward quickly to vigorously defend himself against these serious allegations of forgery, and the Obasanjo administration sits by idly in sympathy, it would amount to setting Nigeria up for rapid political failure. Any elections the INEC Chairman may be in charge of conducting will be regarded as a product of fraud.

Simply put, the INEC boss owes Nigeria an immediate answer to allegations that he had lied about his education.

The alleged "certificate scam" against a body as sensitive as the electoral commission would only help to worsen matters for Nigeria. Our deepest hope is that Professor Iwu does not have a "secret pact" with President Obasanjo to rig the 2007 elections for the People's Democratic Party (PDP) just as it happened in Ogun and Anambra states, among other contested states, in 2003. If the present administration is determined to rig the 2007 elections, then any public outcry may not really matter at all at this point in time, as the Presidency may not want to replace an "assured accomplice," so to say. However, if the government has any interest in the credibility and outcome of election results in Nigeria, this matter will be addressed as one of critical national interest.

The CFN can not watch this matter with aloofness.  If we fail to make a public stand, we would be failing the people because we have already resolved to campaign for a "Safe Transition in 2007."  Even if the whole nation is willing to keep quiet about this scandal,  the CFN cannot fail to address this very important development, right now. It is at the heart of an already heated 2007 general elections, whose success cannot be guaranteed even if Iwu was a saint.

If the allegations are found to be true, Iwu should be immediately made to resign his commissionership from INEC, and tried for forgery. This kind of revelation will forever cast a shadow of doubt on election results that are inevitably already deemed suspect in the first place, since no election in Nigeria (with the exception of the June 12, 1993 election that was annuled by Ibrahim Babangida) has ever been accepted as free and fair. In addition, the respect for public office suffers irreparable damage each time a dishonest person's cover is blown as a result of certificate deception, which has become one of the major problems in Nigeria today.

We demand  that the Presidency and the National Assembly should immediately launch a credible investigation of this potentially embarrassing revelation. Iwu is not just another regular appointee of the Federal Government.  The INEC Chairman should be someone with an impeccable character and unquestionable integrity. These two qualities can no longer be said to be attributable to Iwu, until the truth of the allegations against him is known.

The public must know right now, not later, if Iwu has lied to the nation. INEC is an important democratic organ as well as a public trust, which makes Iwu's job central to the success or failure of democracy in Nigeria. His job is, perhaps, more central to the success of democracy than any other pubic position in the nation. If the President and the National Assembly have any respect for democracy, honesty, and integrity in public office, they would not wait one day further to unravel the qualifications of the INEC Chairman.

News:  INEC Boss, Iwu In Certificate Scam
Last modified on 28 January 2007
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