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Suspend constitution amendment until ... –Kalu tells Senate

Posted by By GEOFFREY ANYANWU, Awka on 2008/06/19 | Views: 2193 |

Suspend constitution amendment until ... –Kalu tells Senate


Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Kalu, has advised the Senate to suspend its moves to amend the constitution until the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) has completed its work.

Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Kalu, has advised the Senate to suspend its moves to amend the constitution until the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) has completed its work.

Kalu, who made the call in a paper entitled: Electoral Reform as the Basis of Nigeria’s Democratic Transformation, at the ERC public sitting in Owerri, said the call became necessary in order to effect all the committee’s recommendations as they concern the constitution and the Electoral Act 2006.

"To do otherwise, will be to place the cart before the horse, because if the Senate completes its work before the ERC recommendations were ready, it is bound to affect its whole effort, especially as it concerns those recommendations that will strengthen our electoral system," Kalu added.

Kalu said the constitutional amendment process must be completed before the 2011 general elections.
"This is because Nigerians and other political stakeholders will not accept the conduct of that elections on the basis of the existing laws," He argued.
He called for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution to make it possible to hold all elections, six months before the date of the hand-over of power to the newly elected government.

The former governor said the Electoral Act 2006 should be amended to provide for a five-year jail term with no option of fine for any security or electoral personnel caught engaging in electoral fraud.
Kalu said politicians and political parties who also use and sponsor thugs in their political or electioneering campaigns should be banned for life and have their certificates of registration cancelled.

He suggested that anybody convicted of a serious electoral offence should be imprisoned without an option of fine and banned from holding public office for 10 years.
"Security agents and INEC officials who assist in rigging election should also be imprisoned for five years and dismissed from service," he also said.
He suggested that political parties must sign a Code of Conduct, pledging to ensure a non-violent, free, fair elections and must be held responsible for such pledges.

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