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POLLS: INEC, security agencies’ actions more important than new electoral bill —Fagbenro-Byron



POLLS: INEC, security agencies’ actions more important than new electoral bill —Fagbenro-Byron

The Presidential candidate of KOWA Party, Sina Fagbenro-Byron has argued that the management of the 2019 general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and security agencies in the country is more important than the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to assent the new Electoral Bill sent to him by the National Assembly.

Fagbenro-Byron, said it would have been great if President Buhari had assented to the bill, believes that the actions and management of the 2019 electoral process by INEC and security agencies was more important than the signing of the new Electoral Bill.

According to him, Nigeria has been conducting elections before now and the major sore point has been the conduct of the electoral umpire and the security agencies.

“If INEC, that has repeatedly said it is ready for the election will do the needful and manage the elections in line with internationally known best practices, then we can still run with what we have as the Electoral Act.

“The problem with our nation and especially with our electoral process is management and not laws. The 1993 presidential election, which was widely till now adjudged as the freest and fairest election in this country was not conducted with the improved Electoral Act we are talking about but the electoral body at that time managed the election process well.

“What is important at this time is the management of the electoral process by INEC and the conduct of security agencies. If INEC can get things right and security agencies discharge their duties without partisanship and refuse to be pawns in the hands of politicians, then the refusal of President Buhari to sign the new Electoral Bill will become insignificant”, Fagbenro-Byron said.

The KOWA presidential candidate spoke at a press conference at the weekend in Lagos where candidates of the party for various elective positions in Lagos State were unveiled.

READ ALSO: 2019: Obasanjo denies neutrality, says only a fool will support Buhari’s govt

The party unveiled a veteran actor, Ayo Lijadu who is running for Senate, Lagos East, Tokunboh Akinbiyi, House of Representatives, Kosofe Federal Constituency, Siraj Akinbakin for Mushin State Constituency, Akan Imoh, for Ikeja 2 state constituency and Abang Emenyi for Mainland 2 state constituency.

Speaking on the much touted restructuring of the country, Fagbenro-Byron posited that his party believes strongly in the restructuring of the country and that his plan of action is predicated on decentralisation of power and responsibilities, resource control and increase in the power of the component states.

According to him, the party also has as part of its plan for the control the much touted state police, adding that it would not just stop there but introduce the concept of community policing into the country.

Speaking on the controversial adoption of the Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the consensus presidential candidate of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, Fagbenro-Byron argued that the process that threw up Atiku Abubakar as the coalition presidential candidate was flawed.

“It is a fact that Kowa Party belonged to the CUPP coalition and that’s not the only coalition we have been part of. We were part of PACT before we left due to irreconcilable differences and after that, we became a member of CUPP through another coalition.

“For the consensus presidential candidate issue, there was a process we agreed on to be followed and that involved filling of forms by the party and presentations by the candidates of all the parties making up the coalition before a selection committee.

“Unfortunately, nobody till now can say who the members of the selection committee are and I, as a person was never given an opportunity to make my presentation to the committee. The entire process was not transparent at all. And that is my grouse. We had an understanding on how this is to go but it was never followed”, he said.

Asked what becomes of his candidacy if the Kowa Party tag along with the CUPP decision, Fagbenro-Byron said it was still too early in the day to speculate on that or say this is what will happen.

“Honestly, it is too early to talk about what becomes of my candidacy because the relevant organs of the party will have to meet and deliberate on the CUPP consensus candidacy issue. What we have now is not final because there are organs of the party, especially the NWC, NEC and BoT that are still going to meet on the matter.

“When that’s done and a final position is taken, then I can tell you what becomes of my candidacy but for now, I am in the race and I am here to give Nigerians a credible alternative”.

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