By Danlami Nmodu
The National Human Rights Commission,NHRC has launched its initiative against electoral impunity in Abuja today.On the occasion, the commission also unveiled a Technical Working Group which is saddled with the task of exposing all electoral fraudsters between 2003 and 2013 .The TWG is expected to review official government records and make its findings available to the commission.
Spearheading this initiative with support from Ford Foundation, OSIWA among others ,Professor Chidi Anselm Odinkalu ,chairman , governing council of NHRC said Nigeria has oft remained a country with potential simply because some people can conspire to steal the people’s will .
Odinkalu noted also that official reports, not NGO reports, have repeatedly indicated the fact that the possibility to steal votes has not been addressed, adding that if people rely on structures, instead of people’s votes to capture power, they will never report back to the people.
“There is evidence of those who have done this to us and we are going to start naming names based on official records”,chairman governing council of NHRC said.
Continuing he said, “We have a will to name names and we will.If it is the only thing we achieve as NHRC.. we will name names of those who have been officially indicted in electoral impunity in our country” , adding that this is a fight for the future of this country.
Professor Nsongurua Udombana,chairman of the Technical Working Group saddled with this historic task said “ the project undertakes an independent review of evidence of crime in election petition cases in Nigeria.It will document barefaced assault”. Other members of the TWG include Professors Mustapha Akambi,Oluyemisi Bamgbose,Ifeoma Pamela and Taofik Ladan.The TWG also includes Dr Abubakar Muazu and Dr Solomon Okuebe.
An interim report is expected soon while the final report will be made available in 2014,Odinkalu said.
Among the dignitaries at the launch of the initiative were Senator Umaru Dahiru,chairman Senate committee on human rights,former Minister FCT,Mallam Nasir el Rufai,representatives of OSIWA,Embassies, NBA,EU,UNDP and political parties among others.
Senator Umaru called for more internal party democracy.He said when a party allows a candidate not captured through the party process, it always results in crisis.He pledged support to the TWG and in fact, urged the group to expedite its work.
By Danlami Nmodu