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Organised Crimes’: SIECs Accuse INEC Of Plans To Take Over Council Elections

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The Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria FOSIECON has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC of tactically attempting to take over the conduct of council elections in the country.

While briefing journalists, the forum on Thursday in Abuja said it is confronted with the similar challenges as INEC, explaining that the tenure of council chairmen differ from one state to the other.

The forum said that at present, local government elections in the 36 states are conducted by the various SIECs while INEC conducts elections into the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory FCT.

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The forum also took a swipe at a Resident Electoral Commissioner REC at the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Barr. Mike Igini for describing local government elections in Nigeria as “organised crimes”.

It said instead of scrutinizing the challenges and possible ways to strengthen SIECs through calls for constitutional amendments, Mr Igini is tactically positioning himself and others to take over a tacit “organized crime” at the local government level.

The forum made its position known at a briefing addressed by its Chairman Alh. Ibrahim Bako National Chairman and Publicity Secretary, Dr. Philip Dan Duwe.

The forum also called for financial autonomy for state Independent Electoral Commissions

“Instead of condemning SIEC’s, people should now focus attention on amending the constitution to allow for financial autonomy of the electoral bodies and also harmonise the tenure of local government bosses”, the forum demanded.

The forum said while it wants to believe that it was not an official position of INEC but the personal opinion of Mr. Igini, there is need to call the INEC official to order.

Continuing, the forum asked the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu to call Igini to order “and make him retract the statement because we feel it is indicting. It is a criminal allegation. If he did that in his official capacity, he should be called to order. We want him to retract it. Until he does so or otherwise, before we will know decided on our next course of action”.

According to the forum, “SIECs are a creation of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, section 197 as amended and not a product of callous and blind statement. It is worrisome when one starts casting aspersions on others just to deviate attention from whatever he hopes to gain by these subtle distractions.

“That we are all aware that INEC before now was considered and seen in the same light with SIEC before it was granted full financial autonomy having been placed on first line charge funding.

“That the personalities at SIECs level are not in any way inferior to those at INEC as SIECs leadership includes notable retired technocrats, Judges, academicians and some retired Resident Electoral Commissioners of INEC who served the Commission and Nation faithfully before Mr Mike Igini in question.

“That the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria (FOSIECON) takes exceptions to such careless, unreasonable and unguarded statement by Mr Mike Igini and therefore calls for an unreserved apology to FOSIECON and a formal retraction of his statement.

“We therefore request the Honourable Chairman of INEC to call Mr Mike Igini to order and cause him to retract his statement and apologize to FOSIECON in the same medium where he made the statement and in at least two national dailies in the spirit of the existing relationship between INEC and FOSIECON”, the forum added.

Dr Mike Ushie, the SIEC chairman from Cross River State said the forum has made representations to the National Assembly Constitutional Review Committee to guarantee financial autonomy for the electoral umpires at the state level.

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