The presidential candidate of the Citizens Popular Party (CPP) in the last April elections, Chief Maxi Okwu has said that the electoral problems of Nigeria which President Umaru Yar’Adua is trying to reform are completely beyond the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Maurice Iwu.
Okwu in an exclusive interview with Saturday Independent argued that rather than blame an individual for the lapses and shortcomings experienced during the last election, the system should take the blame because since the days of the late Chief Michael Ani till now, the same problems of fraud, rigging, violence and manipulation of the electoral system have continued to plague the country.
According to Okwu: “The problem has gone beyond lwu; to me – and that is my party’s view – Iwu is not the problem. Going through Michael Ani of Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) to Humphrey Nwosu of National Electoral Commission (NEC), you see that the story has been the same. Remember it was June 12 that salvaged Nwosu so to speak because before then, they were calling him Nwosu nwuru-nwuru. You also talk about Ephraim Akpata and down to Iwu, you see that each of them, according to the vocal media has conducted the worst election in the country. You find out that the problem is not the personality involved. If you bring another person there tomorrow, the story will remain the same.
The problem is the system. The system is totally useless”, he stressed.
Iwu has been roundly blamed and condemned for conducting the worst election in the history of the country since independence. President Yar’Adua in his maiden address to the nation as leader acknowledged openly on May 29, 2007 that the April elections were flawed but advised that all aggrieved individuals should seek redress in the court of law as provided for by the Electoral Act.
He subsequently announced his intention to reform the electoral process, a promise he has moved to keep by setting up a 22-man electoral reform committee headed by former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Muhammed Uwais.
Maxi who doubles as leader and national chairman of the party backed out from that election at the 11th hour for reasons he gave as grand ploy by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to tactically “exclude” other candidates to pave way for the incumbent President, Umar Musa Yar’Adua, through endorsed electoral fraud.
The lawyer turned politician maintained that the only way out of the present electoral quagmire in the country is a radical reform in the electoral system that will remove power and over-bearing influence on the electoral body from the executive arm.
– Daily Independent