Activists petition Jega over INEC lawyer’s alleged breach of trust

Posted by News Express | 6 June 2015 | 3,195 times

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The  Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) has petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), demanding  debriefing and immediate removal of Dr Onyinyechi Ikpeazu, (SAN), from the list of the commission’s lawyers for disregarding its express directives, reducing them to mere instructions which anyone can either choose or refuse to comply with.

“This, in our opinion, diminishes the esteemed position of the commission in the discharge of its duties of ensuring a free, fair and credible election, and will also serve as a leeway for anyone to ride on the averments, and disregard the express directives of the commission now and in future elections,” the group stated.

It also stated this in its letter of petition addressed to the Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, dated June 2, and signed by the Chairman, Olarenwaju Suraju, copy of which was made available to the News Express. CSNAC

It would be recalled that on April 2, 2015 INEC issued a media statement notifying the public on the mandatory use of card readers for the April 11 Governorship and Houses of Assembly Elections.

The commission, it added, went further to state that the relaxation of its guideline on the strict usage of card readers on March 28 was only with respect to the Presidential and National Assembly Elections. “On April 8, 2015 the commission issued another directive to emphasise the mandatory use of the card readers for accreditation in the Governorship/House of Assembly Election.”

The group regretted that in flagrant disregard for these directives from INEC, Dr Ikpeazu, in a reply to a petition filed before the Delta State Governorship/Houses of Assembly Election Petition Tribunal, as counsel to the commission (sued as 3rd respondent),  averred in paragraphs 9-13 that the Approved Guidelines and Regulations for the conduct of the 2015 General Elections and the Manual for Election Officers are mere instructions /directives by the commission, which do not have the force of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), thereby undermining the instructions, which  paragraph 13 stated as follows:

“The 3rd respondent admits paragraph 16.4 to the extent that the use of card readers to read the permanent voters’ card (PVC) of a voter to authenticate it by scanning it and to verify the voter, but denies that 3rd respondent prescribed the mandatory use of electronic card readers for the accreditation of voters for the election held on 11th April, 2015 in each polling unit, in each local government area of Delta State.”      

 It reminded INEC of the commission’s resolve to deliver free, fair and credible elections to the Nigerian people, which led to the introduction of the PVCs and card readers to checkmate fraud and manipulation at the just concluded polls.

 It added: “It will now amount to a mockery of the efforts of the commission to dismiss the directives regarding this as mere instructions, especially coming from a seasoned legal practitioner in the person of Dr Ikpeazu and more importantly, counsel to the commission.”

The group noted that in pursuance of its election and tribunal monitoring project, CSNAC is, therefore, demanding that the commission debriefs Ikpeazu and also remove his name from the list of counsels to the INEC, to prevent further disregard of the commission’s directives, breach of trust and in order that it is accurately represented at all times.

•Photo shows Jega


Source: News Express

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