Supreme Court nominee and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), has affirmed the position of President Muhammadu Buhari that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has so far conducted credible elections.
While reacting to the comments made by the president during his New Year message, the legal luminary however faulted Buhari for saying that the country does not need restructuring to overcome her challenges.
“INEC has not done badly at all,” he said, “I give INEC kudos for conducting elections in a credible way, in spite of difficult circumstances. So I agree with President Buhari on this, that INEC has conducted credible elections in the past few years.
“I give INEC strong commendations for the work it has done. The electoral process has also been strengthened, especially with the inclusion of electronic voting in the Electoral Act. INEC has really shown capacity to organise a credible election, so I think they will be able to deliver well in 2019.”
Agbakoba said that the president was “too diffusive on the issue of restructuring”, which he said has “become a political hot potato”.
“But there is no running away from the fact that Nigeria is in disarray and it’s a country in dire need of reform, restitution,” he said.
“If restructuring is a word that makes people afraid, then let us say that we got to confront the fact that we have national disorder and no peace.
“I just came from Tanzania and just marvelled at the kind of peace and stability they have there. It occurred to me that peace and stability is very vital to national development.
“So the president was too diffusive of how Nigeria can move along – the issue of Fulani herdsmen, the issue of the militants, the issue of Biafra, and so many other things that is retarding Nigeria from growth.”
He illustrated Nigeria’s situation with a “dying patient” being taken “to the hospital on an emergency”.
“You don’t subject him to process such as filling a form,” he said. “Rather, you take him to the intensive care unit immediately and start to treat. So Nigeria’s problem is not process.
“Nigeria’s problem is more fundamental. The problem is about who are we? Where do we want to be? How do we want to live together? Those are the issues. These are not processes. He (President Buhari) completely undermined Nigeria’s problems by saying it is process. What is process? I don’t understand.”
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