2003 POLLS WILL MAKE OR BREAK NATION - HARRY AKANDEAll Peoples Party (APP) stalwart, Chief Harry Akande has called for a global alertness to Nigeria's general elections holding in 2003, warning that the elections would either "make and break the country".
"The political terrain is full of mines, and the issues are many and controversial," he
said weekend at a party organised in his
honour by Chicago-based Committee for New Leadership
in Nigeria. Akande
listed nearly 20 major issues of concern, which he
said were factors that would determine the fate of Nigeria in 2003.
They are ethnic violence, a flawed constitution, corruption, security and the rule of law, controversy over the Sharia, unresolved electoral issues and lack of efforts to convene a national conference for Nigerian groups to discuss how to live together.Akande
, who has mobilised Nigerians in America over the past two years to become politically interested in their country, also listed certain conditions that must be met for the elections in 2003 to be free, fair and credible.
"Radio and television," he
said, "should be run by an all-party body, while the electoral commission should be an all-party commission." He
also called for the engagement of international bodies in the conduct of the elections, including the UN
, the Commonwealth and joint committees of the US National Democratic Institute
Also to be involved, he
said, were the International Republican Institute and the International Federation of Electoral Systems
. Saying that the elections in Zimbabwe in March should serve as a lesson for Nigeria, Akande called for close monitoring of Nigeria's 2003 elections, beginning with pre-election activities, to the elections themselves and post-election activities.
Many of the pre-election activities that he
said should be taken care of include the enactment of an acceptable electoral law, the registration of political parties and allowing for independent candidates.
is such a person who can bring needed change."Good enough, he
said, many Nigerians in the US are running for one political office or another in Nigeria.