Nigeria leader Jonathan tells election chief to step down


Nigeria's Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has sacked the country's elections chief, following concern that next year’s vote would not be credible under his leadership.


Maurice Iwu, the chairman of the Independent National Election Commission, has faced widespread criticism since overseeing the 2007 elections, widely seen as fraudulent, which brought President Umaru Yar'Adua to power.

The president's office said in a statement that Iwu would leave with immediate effect. His term as chairman had been due to end in June this year.

Jonathan has made overhauling the electoral system a top priority, and reform legislation is before parliament.

Critics said the reforms would be toothless unless Iwu himself was replaced by someone more credible who can better organise the next polls. They are due by April 2011.

The US, Nigeria's biggest trade partner, has said it doubts Iwu could organise a credible election next year, suggesting he be replaced.

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the headquarters of INEC last month to demand Iwu's removal.

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