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INEC should be unbundled, says Agbakoba

Maritime and Human Rights lawyer, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, a
Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and lead partner, Olisa Agbakoba Legal (OAL)
has called for the unbundling of the Independent National Electoral
Commission (INEC).

Agbakoba made the call on Friday during a media chat
organised by OAL in Lagos, on the discourse of the 2015 general elections and
the state of the nation.

Agbakoba noted that it could be difficult for the INEC
to give its optimal effective service considering that it had been saddled with
too many critical responsibilities.

He said that the Justice Uwais Panel Committee, in
which he was a member, recommended for the unbundling of the INEC when it saw
the challenges of INEC handling too many things.

“INEC is doing far too many things; INEC is like the
biggest printer in Nigeria, they register political parties, they prosecute
electoral offences.

“INEC does the most crucial, which is conducting the
election and declaring the winner.

“What I notice is that INEC does not really play that
regulatory role, which is why at the Uwais Panel Committee, we recommended that
INEC ought to be unbundled and I still think that should happen,” Agbakoba

He said INEC must act as a March referee who is
powerful enough to be in control, adding that INEC must be present in every
primary election and make its observations.

“If you liken it to a football match, am assigned to
be the referee between Nigeria and Ghana, I have to procure the field, mark the
field, put up the goal post and the lines, I won’t be efficient.

“My job is to come with the whistle, which should be
INEC’s new job. It should come with a whistle. Everything around INEC that is
not central to that function should be removed.

“Therefore, we recommended the political parties registration
agency, it is their function to determine what political party qualify to be on
the book. INEC has no capacity for that,” Agbakoba stated.
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