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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
President Obasanjo's Letter to INEC's Chairman;
And the Response
Office of the President
Aso Rock Abuja
April, 28 2003
To: INEC Chairman
Dear Dr. Guobadia:
I have the privilege of obtaining two copies of the final report of the Commonwealth Observer Group. I hereby forward a copy to you. Let me mention that the report is generally fair and commendatory to both INEC and the Federal Government. I note that although the group was only able to visit limited number of polling stations, the report draws attention to vital aspects of the electoral process. I am of the opinion that where the report raises issues about which administrative or legal actions are possible, such remedial actions should be promptly taken.
For instance, the report on page 45, cites parts of Enugu and Rivers states as areas where there were 'wide spread and serious irregularities and voting'. I understand that INEC, having declared results and issued certificates, may be limited in its administrative actions to redress. Nevertheless, it would be helpful if the commission can investigate such circumstances even if only to assist the Election Tribunals in expediting action to ensure some redress.
In another instance, the report on page 46, mentions that there were areas 'where elections did not take place.'
Kindly investigate and let me know if there were indeed such areas and what the commission intends to do about them, particularly with reference to the elections that are yet to come.
President and Commander-in-Chief
Office of the Chairman
May 8, 2003
I thank you for your letter with reference PRES/ 112 dated April, 28 2003 and the attached Report of the Commonwealth Observer Group which is being studied in detail by the commission.
I am writing to assure Your Excellency that even before the receipt of your letter, I directed that exhaustive investigations be commenced forthwith as to the reported lapses and allegations of irregularities and malpractices in the preceding elections. The reported lapses of the April 12, 2003 elections especially as they relate to logistics which could be corrected in the short term were of course addressed before the presidential and gubernatorial elections of April 19, as was evidenced in the early arrival of personnel and materials and preserving the integrity of secret ballots amongst others as reported by the Press and international as well as domestic observers.
Having taken remedial steps on the short run, the commission, in its usual practice, has set up the administrative machinery to inquire into the role played by its officials and ad-hoc staff in the alleged rigging and malpractices. Perhaps it is needless to add that identified cases of complicity will be dealt with administratively and where there are prima facie cases of criminal breach of any law, reference will be made to the law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution. Save for such measures and as rightly pointed out in yours under reference, having declared results, there is little else the commission can do by way of remedial action going by the provisions of the Electoral Act.
Mr. President, while investigations are continuing, the commission is not aware of any place based on reports received from the Resident Electoral Commissioners and our monitors, where elections did not take place and results were declared. However at the end of the investigations, appropriate actions will be taken. Admittedly, we have heard of and received reports of such from some politicians and observer groups. Where conditions were not conducive due to heightened tensions, seizure of balloting instruments by armed bandits or based on security reports, elections in such areas were postponed or rescheduled as required by law. The places included Udi and Igbo-Eze North local government areas of Enugu State, Warri-North, South and South-West local government areas of Delta State, Isiala-Ngwa local government area in Abia State, Abak in Akwa-Ibom State, Ida and Adavi Local Government Areas in Kogi State, Obebra Local Government Area in Cross River States Etc.
I cannot end this letter without drawing Your Excellency’s attention to the hazards which many staff of the commission have been subjected to since the commencement of the general elections while carrying out their lawful duties. Apart from serious physical assaults, some of which have resulted in grievous bodily harm to many, we have lost some permanent and ad-hoc staff in several states including Bayelsa and Bauchi, killed by armed hoodlums bent on manipulating or disturbing the electoral process. Some of our local government area offices in Delta, Katsina, Cross River, Bayelsa and Rivers states were burnt by persons wishing to destroy our voting materials so as to make polling impossible. These painful and disturbing incidents did not deter us from discharging our duties and responsibilities in accordance with extant laws.
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.