Monday, March 23, 2009

Maurice Iwu became a Commissioner of the Independent National Election Committee (INEC) in 2003 but was soon appointed Chairman in 2005. Unfortunately, his appointment in 2005 was never confirmed by the National Assembly as required by Nigeria's constitution. Because his appointment was not confirmed, Iwu's stay in INEC should have ended in 2008, 5 years after he became a commissioner. According to Thisday newspaper,

"Iwu, who was appointed an INEC commissioner in August 2003, may have been retaining his position illegally contrary to the constitutional provision that commissioners can only serve for five years, except they are re-nominated...
"[T]he major problem is that Iwu did not return to the Senate for confirmation as chairman when he was appointed in 2005...
"If former President Olusegun Obasanjo had forwarded his name for confirmation and the man had taken a fresh oath of office, his tenure would have started counting from 2005 and not 2003."

Iwu represents just one more example of Obasanjo's dismissal of constitutional procedure. This was already illustrated in the Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala scandal when he circumvented the RMAFC in determining her salary as Minister of Fincance. But, more importantly than OBJ's goofs, being that Iwu was never confirmed as Chairman, his tenure was unconstitutional and therefore, illegal. This means that Nigeria's last elections, which were deemed flawed and have resulted in many results being thrown out by the Courts, were overseen by an individual who technically should not have been Chariman in the first place.

A senator told ThisDay that Iwu's issue will be considered by the National Assembly, but one has to wonder whether Iwu, who criticized the 2008 American elections,will simply be re-instated as Chairman of the Electoral Commission. This concern is of the highest order especially now that President Yar'Adua announced that he would retain the power to choose the INEC chairperson despite the advice that INEC should be independent for democracy to truly take root in Nigeria. If Nigeria is to become a country where the citizens control their future, elections will have to become verifiable and must express the true will of a majority of the people. Nigeria will not get there when the person in charge of elections has proven that he cannot successfully manage the electoral process, is not independent of the President and should never have been Chairman in the first place. Given that Nigeria's Senators did not honor their constitutional duty to work for a minimum of 181 days in 2008, the fact that the House of Representatives aims to follow in the Senate's footsteps and the House refused to debate the Power probe report, I have little hopes that legislators will create an appropriate remedy. Constitutionally, Maurice Iwu is not the Chairman of Nigeria's electoral body and only Nigerians, not their 'leaders', can do something about that.

UPDATE: Please read Is Yar'Adua Committed To Democrcacy? to learn about the recommendations of the Electoral reform Committee as they relate to INEC and of course, Maurice Iwu.

Related Articles of Interest:
- Is Yar'Adua Committed To Democrcacy?
- Yardy To Get A Third Term?
- Nigeria's New Kingmakers
- Nigerian Curiosity of 2008 (Fashola and the 2011 Election)

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NneomaMD said...

i guess this post might explain your most recent Tweet (Naija...where to begin)

Anonymous said...

My, my, my. It gets deeper by the hours. Or should I say: the truth reveals itself (albeit slowly and uncelebrated in Nigeria's case). Thank you for this bit of information.

So much for Nigeria's image 're-polishing'. If the politicians are putting their weight behind the image overhaul but the institution that installed them doesn't even retain any bit of credibility, then 'wetin we come dey talk?'

Anonymous said...

well..... read it the first time and decided to take sometime off to digest it.....Unfortunately it looks like a real ripe mess to say the least... Wonder what the law says as to the legality of all the other elections in view of the 'illegality' of the position of the Chairman.. Its more than likely tho that a politically correct descision will be reached for the mutual benefits of the powers that be..

io said...

im speechless. the evil that men do lives after them. hopefully all the evil these people through at us wont make us loose whats left of our minds.

Anonymous said...

There's no "little hopes" for remedy. The die is cast. Iwu stays as INEC chairman according to the Senate.

It appears you missed the media report of the Senate giving Iwu a clean bill:

AllAfrica: Nigeria: Iwu - Senate Okays Vote of Confidence (March 4, 2009).

mingus said...

i remain in my 'siddon-look' posture laughing my head off!

webround said...

I'm stil not clear so i'd really appreciate someone clearing this up for me?
he was appointed a commissioner in 2003 and then appointed in 2005 as a chairman? Is this correct? Is the commissionership and chairmainship position the same or different? Which of these did the tenure expire in August 2008? If the issue is that his tenure expired in 2008 (and not about his being the chairman), then can it still be said the elections he conducted in 2007 were illegal (the elections were in 2007)?

Meanwhile, doesn't INEC have an inhouse legal counsel? I would have thought that things like this would fall under their purview i.e advising INEC of any potential legal threats/embarrassments to the body. It would have been their job to point out to INEC the issue of Iwu's confirmation. Or did they point it out and it was not ignored?

Ms. emmotions said...

i know i shuldnt be sayin this but really, i think we keep at this for half a decade more, nigeria surely would be doomed unless we seek and get GOD's direct intervention.

if Yaradua retains the power to choose the INEC chairperson, am wondering if it will ever be possible to achieve a transparent election.

the other day i read in 'NEXT' solude's assets scared all over, his country home, his family and their life style abroad, his hime abraod and other properties worth millions of dollars then my next question was how is it that solude that earns just about a million a month maintains this sudden affuluence?

now same goes for okonjo-iweala, how much of our country's wealth have gone down into these pockets?

okay say we have one or two credible people out there who are say 40% honest, will this statistics be able to sustain us(nigerians) in the nearest future?

my take on this Maurice saga is this,
these guys in power am sure are aware of all these u ve said but how many of them can stand up and fight for something to be done about it?

yardy is even a bad case, ifd am asked to mention his achievements u know i cant really say this and this are wat he is done since he assummed office?

its scary.....

well done ma'm, hope u n urs are gr8?

Geebee said...

Indeed, only Nigerians can do something about this especially since the so-called leaders got to their positions courtesy of the same illegality so what do we expect? Thanks for this information as regards Iwu been illegally in his office as at date. This just shows to show how much corruption and inappropriate practices are continually condoned in our country. And how dare Iwu criticize the American elections when the elections he organized here is globally acknowledged as one of the worst in Nigeria’s history. Sometimes, I wonder if that man thinks at all. Meanwhile, I agree yet again that only Nigerians can actually remedy this situation and I’m pondering seriously on how we’re going to go about this especially since time seems to be running out. The biggest mistake the country would make is to allow Iwu remain in that seat during the 2011 elections.


@ nneoma: yup, unfortunately, this post and a couple others I am trying to work on are the reason for the tweet. Like Fela said, "Confusion break bone..."

@ Plastiq: You hit the nail on the head. Credibility. I have been working on posts regarding the re-branding issue, and even though I feel that re-branding has some potential, I cannot ignore the sever problems that are of far more significance. Thank you so much for stopping by. BTW, your site WErunthings is looking very good! Keep up the good work. I think I will send you an email...

@ Dany: "Wonder what the law says as to the legality of all the other elections in view of the 'illegality' of the position of the Chairman.."

And, therein lies the question. What i can't believe is that the various lawyers that worked on appealing the last presidential and various state and national assembly elections missed this! Congrats to ThisDay for doing some real journalism.

I wouldn't count on the constitution given much help on this one, Danny. I have read that constitution far too many times, and I don't like it at all.

@ 9ja_kuti: Ol'boy, we have lost our minds already. naija wahala is so much that it is hard to focus on any one issue for a long enough to get a solid grasp on it. Just when you think you can, something stinks up the milk. How far?

@ Imnakoya: Thanks for pointing that out. I read that report some time ago and shook my head. however, that was before this revelation about Iwu's tenure. What remains to be seen is if Nigerians themselves will take up this matter. I know NVS tried their hardest before, this could be additional ammunition, but when the House won't even debate the power probe report, what can we expect?

I just wonder if this is the right battle to take up at this time in the war against naija wahala. Any thoughts?

@ Stanis: I don't blame you. But when you are done laughing and can digest this issue, I hope you will get raving mad and will want some change enough to do something about it, my broda. How you dey?

@ webround: Iwu's commissioner tenure ended in 2008. His Chairmanship was never confirmed by the NASS as is required by the COnstitution to make it legal. Therefore, Iwu's Chairmanship is unconstitutional, illegal and should cast an even greater shadow on the election of Yardy.

The issue is will this simple issue be explained to the Nigerian public and will they get mad, being that they have been duped AGAIN? Anyone have any thoughts?

@ Ms. emmotions: For years, people have been saying that Nigeria is hanging on a precipice. I personally believe that we are hanging anymore. We are more likely grabbing on to the edge with our finger nails.

I have advocated repeatedly that we Nigerians have to wake up. The games being played at our expense are inexcusable. I know someone will read this and misinterpret my meaning and intentions - but, when are Nigerians going to get upset? I can't be upset for the whole country, nor can you or any other person. When will Nigerians say they have had enough? I am still waiting,. And, I am hoping that the anger will happen early and in a way that allows for relatively peaceful remedy because if not....

wellsbaba said...

iwu...iwu??? who is iwu..mcheew...he is nothin but a farce,fraud....anywais thanx4d insight... didnt even know that his tenure is unconstitutional....n he has the audacity to say the us elections were flawed....

Anonymous said...

Iwu is by no means under any consideration by me or anyone i know as 1st a human being...much less INEC chairman


Dojaa said...

"but one has to wonder whether Iwu, who criticized the 2008 American elections,"

He was probably just having a laugh, how can he seriously criticise the American elections when ours were beyond worse?

L-VII said...

I have the opportunity to watch some of the assembly members being questioned and they all hem and haw when the INEC question is posed, no one wants to speak the truth because they fear for their re election prospects. The whole thing is a joke, another set of flawed elections might just mean civil war to be honest, I really do believe that Maurice Iwu is a criminal that needs to be tried ASAP.

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