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Causalities to mar 2011 elections -Okoye

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting organized by the Gender and Constitutional Reform Network (GECORN), on the ‘Challenges of Nigeria’s constitutional and electoral reforms’, he said…

Speaking during a stakeholders meeting organized by the Gender and Constitutional Reform Network (GECORN), on the ‘Challenges of Nigeria’s constitutional and electoral reforms’, he said Nigerians must irrespective of their political differences show the way and set the agenda for free, fair and transparent elections in 2011.

“Elections in Nigeria have been bedevilled by a myriad of problems that degenerate with each successive election. It is therefore clear that It is also given as taken that even if the legal and constitutional framework are cleaned up and the political elite continue to act and behave in ways and manner to corrupt the system, the 2011 elections may also come to grief’’ ,he said

Okoye, who is also the Executive Director Human Rights Monitor, urged President Yar’adua to withdraw the Bills he presented to the National Assembly and replace them with the ones drafted by the Electoral Reform Committee.  “This is based on the fact that some of the Bills presently pending in the National Assembly have serious constitutional and credibility challenges and may end up not seeing the light of day. Alternatively, civil society groups and organisations can adopt the Bills of the Electoral Reform Committee as their own and work with some members of the National Assembly towards placing the Bills in the House as private members Bills,’’ he added.

Okoye also advocated for the     Mass produce and mass circulation of the report of the Electoral Reform Committee especially the recommendations as a way of sensitising Nigerians on the imperatives of constitutional and electoral reform.   

“We must sustain the issues in the electoral reform process in the media through robust engagement with key players in the media and      build a single item coalition of the willing. Anybody or groups that agree with the intendments of the report of the Electoral Reform Committee is accommodated within this framework,’’ he said   

He also enjoined Nigerians to    sustain the pressure on the government and government functionaries to think of the national interest in the electoral reform process rather than the politics of the 2011 elections.