A notable civil society group, Human Right Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to submit to a compulsory tutorial on how to conduct a free, fair and credible election in 2019.
National Coordinator of the group, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, stated this in Abuja, Monday, while receiving Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Delta State on Civil Society, Comrade Felix Ofou, who paid the HURIWA boss a courtesy visit in his office.
Comrade Onwubiko observed that the leadership of INEC as presently constituted has failed, and would require tutorials from Dr Okowa, in order to meet the expectations of Nigerians in the forthcoming 2019 elections.
Making reference to what he termed as the obviously below average performances of the electoral body in recent major engagements in Ekiti and Osun, the HURIWA argued that INEC needs to consult the Delta State Governor to learn how to conduct credible and acceptable elections.
Onwubiko poured encomiums on the capacity of Dr Okowa to deliver on free and fair election on the recently conducted presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in which former Vice President; the Alhaji Atiku Abubakar emerged victorious.
“Dr Okowa did a marvelous job out of the highly anticipated Primaries. He did not only make the process to be transparent, but it was seen by all to have been transparently free and fair, more so that at the end, even the losers were happy and are currently working with the person that emerged. I think Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, the INEC National Chairman and his team require some lessons from your governor, if we Nigerians are to expect a free and fair deal in 2019″, he declared.
Speaking further, the human right activist further commended Okowa for appointing Ofou, also a renowned journalist and activist, as a Senior Special Assistant on Civil Society and expressed the hope that the Governor would sustain the office even after the 2019 election, when he would have been returned for a deserving second term, while noting that Delta is a very vibrant state, with a huge number of community based organizations.
Speaking earlier, Comrade Ofou, said the visit was to familiarize with HURIWA , as a foremost human rights group and to seek partnerships with other civil society organizations in the country with a view to help provide capacity building for similar groups based in Delta State.
The Governor’s aide noted that Delta State is about the only state in Nigeria to have recognized the civil society for the purpose of effective partnership with government.
He also informed the HURIWA boss that the governor created an enviable standard in Delta, during the last PDP primary election, by not endorsing any candidate for any position, and ensuring that the umpires conducted a free, fair and transparent election in the state, a stand he argued was unprecedented.
The SSA revealed that during the recently concluded PDP presidential primaries, in Port Harcourt, which Okowa supervised, the latter took steps and made several personal sacrifices to ensure that the process was credible, one of which was by ensuring that he never interfered with the personal choices of all the over 150 delegates from Delta State, adding that the Governor refused to vote, to show he had no preferred candidate for the position of a presidential candidate.