11 November 2012

Nigeria: Rivers Wants States Electoral Commission Abolished

Port Harcourt — For participants in yesterday's public hearing on the review of 1999 constitution in Port Harcourt, Eleme/Tai/Oyigbo and Obio Akpor Federal constituencies, the issue that threw the house in a rowdy session is the Second Schedule Part I of the 1999 constitution. The proponents of the that particular session of the constitution had wanted some part of items contained such as fingerprints, identification, criminals records, prisons, bankruptcy, labour, holidays and insolvency to move from both exclusive and legislative list to concurrent list, but participants in the three federal constituencies rejected it outright. In Port Harcourt constituency 1 that particular issue caused a rowdy session. It took the intervention of Hon Ken Chikere, member representing the constituency, and Igo Aguma, a former House of Representatives member to bring the house to other. The item was later put to vote and a little majority voted in favour of it after much appeal and persuasions that the constituents should support it. Those against argued that if the item is moved to concurrent list it will be abused by the state governor.

Participants in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor wanted all the state electoral commissions be abolished while the Independent National Electoral Commission should be the only body that should conduct elections.

Participants agreed that the state assemblies be granted autonomy. They also rejected the proposal that a provision should be inserted in the constitution for rotation of the office of the president between North and South. The participants rejected the proposal that Sections 135 and 180 [2] be amended to create a single tenure of 5, 6 and 7 years for the office of the president and governors.

The participant rejected the proposal that the office of the president or governor be filled on zoning instead of merit. The participants proposed that the constitution should provide an insertion where the allocation of any governor that fails to conduct local government election be withhold.

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