Posted by News Express | 10 January 2015 | 4,241 times
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not ready for the February general elections.
At a press conference in Lagos yesterday, Agbakoba, however, disagreed with calls for the postponement of the election, saying that would be against the dictates of the constitution, which stipulates that general elections in the country should hold every four years.
The former NBA boss noted that INEC lacks the fundamentals to conduct the polls, let alone conducting a free and fair election. He said although the electoral body has said it is going to use the permanent voter’s card for the election, a lot of eligible voters do not have the cards four weeks to the commencement.
“INEC does not have the fundamentals to conduct the election let alone a free and fair election, on the ground that the logistical framework to conduct the election is not there,” Agbakoba stated.
Speaking further, he said the campaigns between the two major political parties have been reduced to a personality contest, instead of a contest of ideas, also noted that the contending parties are not addressing the main issue plaguing the country,
Agbakoba, while stressing the need for a National Order to manage the nation’s diversity, stated that the key issue Nigerians would like to know is how the various political parties contesting the election would address the fundamental issue of how the various constituent parts of the country will like to live together.
According to him, “If we don’t address our political arrangement, if we do not have National Order, there is no way 2015 will be successful. How do we want to live? We need that abc agreement.”
He added, “The problem with this particular election is that it seems to be most volatile and the competition for power is very personalised and the impact it would have is what I think Bakare and others have spoken about. We need to be very careful about sliding into the abyss.”
Besides, former NBA boss stated that the bane of the country is that the political process has not thrown statesmen in the last 60 years.
Agbakoba, who explained that a statesman uses the opportunity of power to create a better society, expressed disappointment that past Nigerian leaders both military and civilian have to rise to the level where they could have used statecraft to create a better Nigeria.
“In the last 60 years, the political process has not thrown up statesmen. I am not interested in focusing on these two political contenders.
•Adapted from Saturday Sun. Photo shows Agbakoba.
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