2019: Okowa advocates alternative source of funding for INEC

As the conference of Nigerian Guild of Editors brainstormed on how to
achieve a credible general elections in 2019, Delta State Governor,
Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa has advocated for alternative sources of
funding for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to
ensure the umpire is truly independent.
The governor spoke in Asaba at the executive session of Day 3 of the
14th All Nigeria Editor’s Conference (ANEC), which had as its theme,
‘Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy and the Role of the
Media,’.
Governor Okowa queried if INEC which is expected to be an unbiased
umpire could be truly said to be unbiased, when its source of funding
is solely from the federal government.
“How will they work on their process of appointments? These and more
questions are what we are supposed to address and they have to be
dealt with in such a manner that we can give them enough power, make
them truly independent in such a manner that they do not walk cap in
hand to the executive to ask for funding, because when you know that
somebody controls the funds, you will definitely not be in a position
to be truly independent”, Senator Okowa opined.
He went on: “It will be hard to say, no when such individuals in
charge of the funds make certain request and I believe that INEC is
gradually moving, I still believe that there is a lot to be done which
means that our legislations must be in such a manner that will truly
make INEC independent and if they are going to be answerable to
anybody at all, they should be answerable to the Legislature and not
any other arm of government…” Governor Okowa proffered.
The Delta state governor and chairman of the PDP Special Convention
Committee used the occasion to disclose why the Peoples Democratic
Party’s Special Convention Planning Committee was able to organise a
free, credible and acceptable presidential primary election of the
PDP.
“We did our best to conduct the primaries that one can truly say that
we did things, the way they ought to be because we had to extract from
our National Executive Council that we would be allowed to do what is
right otherwise, we will not accept the nominations to conduct the
primaries.
“I thank God that they allowed us do what is right and once we do
things right, it becomes easier for one to move forward and the press
is very important in trying to turn things around for our country.
“If all of us work together and that means that the press must be able
to report appropriately, they must be in the position to advise us the
politicians appropriately and they must be in a position to fully
inform the people and beyond the information, they must put us,
politicians, under pressure and it is very important that we must
realise that not just the Guild of Editors, but the entire press need
to play the role it ought to play if we are able to do things better
that will gradually improve the situation, so that we can conduct
elections that are credible,” Governor Okowa added.
He stressed the need for voter education and civic enlightenment to
ensure that the citizenry come out of the poverty level, while
motivating the electorates to improve on the electoral process, adding
that “as long as our people continue to remain in the poverty bracket,
there will be no integrity.”
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