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Jonathan, Tambuwal differ on credibility of recent polls


President Goodluck Jonathan and the House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, on Monday differed on the credibility of recent governorship elections conducted in Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states.

While Tambuwal likened the polls to those conducted by the military regimes and maintained that they were not free, fair and credible, President Jonathan insisted that the elections were not only credible, but demonstrated that the electoral reforms embarked upon by his administration were working.

The two leaders spoke at the opening ceremony of the 54th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in Owerri, the Imo State capital, with the theme: “Nigeria, a hundred years after”.

According to Jonathan who was represented by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), his government focused on the reform of the country’s electoral processes to make them better and more responsive to the people’s yearnings.

Hear him, “The free, fair and credible elections conducted in Ondo, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states is a demonstration of the efficacy of the reforms this administration has instituted in our electoral processes.

“While there is room for improvement, the fact that politicians can now congratulate each other at the end of keenly contested elections is glowing testimony to the progress made and the evolving political culture that credible elections have engendered in the polity,” Adoke said.

But when it was his turn to speak, Tambuwal stressed that politics, which is supposed to be a pleasant routine for the common good, had become a source of “sickening stress” for the citizenry, categorically stating that elections so far conducted in some states had been characterised by intimidation, which is undemocratic, causing apprehension among voters.
He noted that instead of looking forward to 2015 election with joy and pleasant expectations, the average citizen is apprehensive.

His words, “When the complexion of election conducted by a civilian regime assumes the semblance of that conducted by a military junta, it is obvious that the nation needs help,” the Speaker said, adding that ”The nation craves for credible elections, which means elections that are free, fair, transparent and peaceful.

“Elections which are merely peaceful through the instrumentality of force and intimidation are neither democratic nor credible.”

Adoke further spoke about the fight against corruption, saying that the anti-graft agencies had reviewed their operational modalities to make them more effective.

He said that a national anti-corruption strategy had been articulated in line with Nigeria’s obligations under United Nations Convention against Corruption and would soon be presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval.

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