March 10, 2009

Electoral Reforms: Buhari raises alarm …they want to kill Uwais report

Former Military Head of State and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Presidential candidate during the April, 2007 general election, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) has expressed doubt over the Federal Government’s sincerity as regards the much expected electoral reforms, saying the way the report of the exercise was being treated, right now, has shown that the whole efforts might, at the end of the day, become an exercise in futility.

Buhari, spoke in Lagos on Monday at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), where a book; Who really is General Muhammadu Buhari written on him by the former Petroleum Minister, Professor Tam David-West was launched.

He expressed apprehension that the way the white paper on the report was being tossed around, the government was set to reject the committee’s report and that Nigeria might return to status quo ante, regretting that the cynics might be proved right at the end of the day about the insincerity of the government.

The former Head of State, who, though lamented that the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Law were violated with reckless abandon during the 2007 elections, however, saw no need for any reform of the country’s law when the laws had not been properly tested and practised, insisting that it was the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and the people in government that needed to be reformed.

Speaking further, Buhari berated the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) intolerance of opposition with their “crush the opposition” attitude, saying, “PDP leadership are ignorant of the tenets of democracy.”
“It is not a crime to be in opposition, but it is a crime to threaten the opposition,” he pointed out, just as he charged the people that, “we have a duty to preserve peace and work for democracy,” saying, “if we cannot build on the legacies of our past leaders, we should be able to preserve them.”

And to make democracy work in Nigeria, Buhari said, “INEC must be independent and impartial, the Armed Forces/Police should be neutral, while the Judiciary should shun corruption and professional misconduct.”
Speaking in the same vein earlier, the chairman on the occasion and the Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole advised the President to set up a committee of representatives of all the political parties that would chart a new electoral path for the country. He said it should not be the agenda of the President alone.

According to him, the reform should be the type that, “all of us can buy into, take it over and drive it,” stating that, “in 2011, people expect that elections would be finalised at the ballot box.”
“This is the time for action,” Oshiomhole charged Nigerians, while describing Buhari as, “an epitome of discipline, a patriot, accomplished soldier and complete gentleman.” “If Buhari was allowed to continue the crusade of cleansing Nigeria in 1985, the country would have been better for it because under Buhari, all Nigeria’s refineries were working,” he stressed.

According to Oshiomhole, something must be done to those who give government advice on which unworkable policies are made, warning that, if nothing is done to them, Nigeria would continue to be in crisis.
Former governor of Abia State and the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Progresssive Peoples Alliance, (PPA), Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, described both the author and the subject of the book as people of strong character, regretting that Buhari was a misunderstood personality simply because he wanted things to be done the right way.

While commending Buhari for resorting to the judicial settlement of the last election, he warned that, “when justice fails, what happen after that is violence,” just as he sermonised that, “What the nation requires now is collective oneness.”

Former minister of sports, Chief Alex Akinyele in his own comments assured Buhari that his admirers abound, saying he should not be discouraged by his critics.
Akinyele therefore seized the opportunity to regret that the war against corruption had not been won because everybody was guilty, saying until everybody agreed to change for the better the monster would continue to be with us.

While former River State military governor, General Zamani Lekwot urged writers to bring out people like Buhari to be recorded to serve as role model to other people, the publisher of the book, Mr. Agbo Areo advised the National Assembly to quickly pass the Freedom Of Information Bill if they had nothing to hide, saying it would minimize the tendency to write speculative stories by newsmen.

The overwhelmed author, Professor Tam David-West thanked those who made the occasion a huge success.
At the well attended event were former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi 111. Amanayanabo of Grand Bonny Kingdom and of Opobo, Kings Edward Asimin William Dappa Pepple 111 and Dandeson Douglas Jaja respectively, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs, Dr. Lateef Adegbite, Alhaji Balarabe Musa and representatives of both serving and past states governors as well as representatives of the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri among others.

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