INEC Deserves Praise Not Scorn – Democracy Activist

INEC Report on the 2007 Election and Electoral Reform – INEC and Dr. IWU have facts and figures on ground.

Analysis from the INEC official Report on the Nigerian 2007 General election held in Washingon, DC on 12/18/2007 at the National press Club and at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC

Having listen to Dr. Maurice Iwu, the INEC Chairman at the World press conference and noted his points during the presentation of the official INEC report, I was suprised on how he was able to clarify and explain with good reason all his points to the audience. Nigerians, the press, candidates and members from different political parties in Nigeria, the oppositions and a lot of activists who came to the press presentation armed to the teeth to discredit him were all disarmed with his well thought out explanations, facts, figures and evidence. Infact all the press, the oppositions, members of political parties and activists in the press conference did not have their facts correct or any evidence to back up their claims – Almost all of them were quoting newspaper or internet reports and less then one percent were on ground in Nigeria during the election . Dr. Iwu and INEC officials on the other hand had all their facts and figures correct and had enough evidence to back them up. I was impressed indeed.

Importantly, when one looks at the problems with the elections in general, a large part of the problems were within the party machineries and the general attitude of Nigerian people and leaders to develop acceptable political culture and to learn to respect the law and order. That is where most of the issues of lawlessness lies and needs redressing; the problem is not with INEC or Dr. Iwu. I am appealing to all the Monday morning quarterbacks and armchair critics; that they should try to get hold of the INEC report and read it carefully, then try to have access to INEC with your facts, figures and evidence confront INEC with it. You can not be making wild accusations of what should be and what should not be based on what you read from the internet and Nigerian newspapers.

Further, INEC deserves praise so far on the April 2007 election work and the difficult situation it faced before, during and after the election in Nigeria, based on the official and professional manner it has trained and prepared its staff for the election of 2007. The official report on the 2007 General elections presented to the World press in London and Washington, DC ( At the National Press Club and at the Nigeria Embassy) proves that Nigerians have to look deeply at the prevailing Geo-political situation facing Nigeria both internally and externally; to appreciate the work of INEC. It has not been easy so far for Nigeria and INEC especially if one makes out time to read the official report like I have done. In the history of Nigeria, this is the only time an electoral body has a website for information, and have prepared a report on the outcomes of a general election.

The pressure and agitations from different groups like some political parties,the press, some powerful individuals, Nigerian civil society groups, external forces like European Unions, United States and others Foreign NGOS should in no way derail Nigeria determination from moving forward. We must not allow our nation to be blackmailed or for Nigeria to be transformed into a Banana Republic where external forces will take a strangehold of our national pride and dictate to us.

Though a lot of mistakes were made in the preparations and conduct of the election, but we must learn from it and try to do better next time. Right now Nigeria has no other option but to move forward and learn. We must keep our nation one and strong.

The legal and political fight with the political parties and politicians should not in no way diminish the good work and professionalism exhibited by INEC leadership and its Chairman Dr. Maurice Iwu which is evident on the ground all over Nigeria for those who want to appreciate Nigeria’s positive effort.

After the election and election tribunals have done their work and swearing in of elected winners is over, INEC should start to propose a new electoral and constitutional reform on how we should begin to elect our presidents in Nigeria for peace and stability in the future. Every tribe, religion or groups in Nigeria wants to be accommodated and feel safe and comfortable with the system in Nigeria, and that is why advanced democracies like the United States introduced and are using Affirmative action in employment and othe quota system like redistricting to give and empower minorities to be represented fairly and evenly in electoral districts.

Further, examining the problems and conflicts we have been having in electing, selecting or picking our executive president since the beginning of Nigeria, has lead to so many setbacks and it has deprived us of our quest for a stable nation. I think in choosing our President we have to try a new system, because of our diversity and the need to make everyone, every zone and every ethic group feel comfortable and to remove fear of domination; which will lead to a more stable political system. It will also make it more difficult for coup makers to find supporters or reason to set the country back.

No matter which zone that produces the next president in 2007 and beyond, we have to admit it Nigeria maybe in serious trouble looking at the situation of things right now. Infact breakup of Nigeria is seriously in the horizon and we do not have to let it happen, because it will be the bloodiest conflict Africans or the World can imagine. Lets reduce this tension now and move Nigeria forward by making meaningful changes in our constitution and electoral system.

My suggestion is Executive Presidential council which has also been suggested by prominent Nigerians like Senator Melford Okilo and others, in this case each of the Zones( South-South, South East, South West, North West, Middle Belt and North East) will elect a person or two into this Executive Presidential council and within this Presidential Council of Six persons or more whom will be replaced from his or her zone incase of death , health reasons or removal/impeachment etc.

This six or more members of the executive Presidential Council will pick a president and Vice- President among themselves, and the other remaining members will be working within this Council on different projects decided by the constitution like ministers positions in the powerful ministries like Defense, Petroleum, Finance, Agriculture, internal affairs etc on rotation basis, and still be members of the council till four or five year term limit or reelection; and the responsibility of Governing such an ethnic diverse country of 250 ethnic tribe can be manageable and every zone will feel represented at any given time. The president and the vice-president will have executive powers.

This Council will have sole responsibility to govern Nigeria as the executive branch and we will still have our senate, House of Representatives, State House and the local governments. We can try this to make Nigeria stable and take away this fight over sole Presidency and by this Nigeria will move forward politically and economically; and each zone will have a chance at the Presidency by gentleman agreement and working together in the council.

Democracy is good for our growth and diversity but we must not use only American or British System, we have to add some other dimension from Nigeria situation knowing fully well educationally, religiously , culturally and language we are so different from America or Britain. We need our own brand of democracy to fit and contain our explosive situation.

The main Problem in Choosing a President in Nigeria is fear of domination from each of these zones, ethnicity and tribal fears of domination . By this we are removing fear of domination religiously , economically and educationally by having an executive Presidential Council fully empowered to lead Nigeria and I think all these tension in Nigeria will be reduced if this system can be adopted.

We will still have our National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) in place. This Presidential council will have to be empowered fully and totally to govern Nigeria with all the executive power and constitutional responsibility to lead Nigeria. It will reduce the desire for toppling/Coup against the Government and all these tension by every zone claiming right for the presidency in 2007 and beyond will be reduced or removed.

If this system is adopted then every zone and every culture is fully represented and all the talk of war, hell and confusion will be removed from our political system.

Send this suggestion if you can to the Presidency, National Assemby,Governors,State House members, religious leaders, Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigerian Bar Association, Ohanaeze Leadership, Afanifere Leadership, Arewa Leadership, Ijaw Congress, Urhobo Union, Middle Belt union etc and the leadership of other tribes and groups I did not mention here.

It may not be the best suggestion, but we need all the good ideas and suggestion to keep the most influencial black nation on earth together.

This is my contribution to the new constitutional and electoral reform needed in Nigeria urgently.

Ugo Harris Ukandu
Nigeria Democracy and Justice Project
Washington, DC



One response to “INEC Deserves Praise Not Scorn – Democracy Activist

  1. Dr. Richard Ngwu

    Worldwide Headquarters: 12705 Willow Marsh Lane Bowie Maryland 20720 USA


    Conscious of our vital role as the umbrella and independent organization for Nigerians resident in the Diaspora;

    Recognizing the controversies attending the 2007 general election in Nigeria, especially as it relates to the presidential election;

    Having reviewed the contents of ‘The Official Report On The 2007 General Elections’ and presentations made by INEC Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu in the UK and US.

    Committed to the objectives of defending the integrity of Nigeria, promotion of Nigeria’s image abroad, and support for any efforts aimed at stabilizing Nigeria and advancing her democracy;

    Now Therefore, we issue the following statements on the 2007 General Elections Report:

    1. We agree with the positive opinions and praises for INEC’s/Iwu’s efforts expressed by a vast majority of Nigerians in attendance in London and Washington DC where Professor Maurice Iwu presented the Report to international media and Nigerians in Diaspora.

    2. We join all patriotic Nigerians who have recognized the difficult conditions under which Professor Iwu and INEC had to function and conduct an election that was so crucial to the survival and unity of Nigeria. That INEC and Professor Iwu delivered an election and a transition overshadows any imperfections that might have been present.

    3. We praise Professor Maurice Iwu and INEC for their consistency and courage, and we agree that the result of the election reflected the intent of the Nigerian voter and was in substantial compliance with the Nigerian Electoral Act and the Constitution. We agree that parties and their candidates won where they were generally expected and predicted by the strength of their numbers and structures to hold better chances than their opponents.

    4. We noted that all the complaining political parties and candidates condemned the election wherever they lost and praised it wherever they won – meaning that the election was in truth free and fair even if it failed to meet the highest standards seen only in countries that have operated democracies and elections for more than two centuries. While Nigeria should strive to attain the same standard, we should not be enslaved by it.

    5. We condemn the interference of some of the foreign Election Monitors or Observers who sought to sow discord amongst brethrens in contest for office and seemed to have gone too far by demanding the data base of Nigerians compiled by INEC and which contained sensitive information such as biometrics of more than sixty million Nigerians including our leaders and national security personnel. We praise Professor Iwu’s refusal to comply.

    6. We call on our brothers and sisters back home to recall two events that nearly scuttled the presidential election and almost gave Nigeria another June 12. The first was the brazen attempt to crash an inflammable heavy vehicle into the headquarters of INEC in Abuja on the eve of the presidential election. The second was the desperate moves to obtain an injunction against the release of the results of the presidential election. We are convinced that these two events, amongst so many others were aimed at frustrating Nigeria’s efforts to transit from one civilian regime to another, and we praise Professor Iwu and INEC for overcoming these conspiracies.

    7. We agree that the elections were not perfect and may have been made more difficult by so many logistics problems but we also recognize that most of those problems came from the political parties in addition to inadequacy of our institutions and legal climate, and not any deliberate act on the part of Professor Iwu or INEC to derelict their duty.

    8. We condemn the attempt by litigants to bribe members of the election tribunals and we call on all stakeholders to avoid any temptation to exert undue influence on the proceedings before the tribunals. Further, we call on President Yar’Adua to investigate and expose those responsible for attempting to bribe the tribunals and bring them to account.

    9. We praise Orji Kalu and the PPA for conceding the election to President Yar’Adua and joining in the efforts to heal Nigeria and move her forward. We call on Alhaji Atiku and General Buhari to see President Yar’Adua as their brother and recognize the damage their continued challenge of his victory is doing to Nigeria and efforts at stabilizing the polity.

    10. We praise President Yar’Adua’s efforts at reforming our electoral system and call on all Nigerians to recognize the pivotal role to be played by Professor Maurice Iwu in the electoral reform process as someone with personal and intimate knowledge of the systemic problems, and one who has demonstrated an uncommon courage that Nigeria requires for the difficult task of delivering on elections.

    11. In conclusion, we accept the contents of ‘The Official Report On The 2007 General Elections’ and we agree that the Report is a true and accurate depiction of events that occurred; and we call on President Yar’Adua to adopt the Report as the Master Blueprint for reforming Nigeria’s electoral process.

    Dr. Richard Ngwu – President
    Tola Mabogunje – Secretary
    Yakubu Kazaure – Vice Presient

    Dated: December 19, 2007
    Issued at Washington DC United States *******************************************

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