Published On: Wed, Mar 12th, 2014


0902F15.Attahiru-Jega.jpg - 0902F15.Attahiru-Jega.jpg

 INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega
• Election results to stream online

Roland Ogbonnaya

As political parties trade allegations over who has breached the law in embarking on pre-emptive political campaigns ahead of the 2015 elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared that all the political parties are guilty of the offence.

Speaking with journalists in Lagos Monday, the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the commission had found out that almost all the parties were guilty of the offence and had been warned about the consequences of breaching the electoral regulations.

He noted that across the country, one finds campaign posters littering everywhere asking for votes when the law states that campaigns should commence 90 days to the election and this must be when the parties have done their primaries and a candidate has emerged.

“So anybody coming out now to say vote for me in 2015 is breaching the electoral laws. You can hold a rally as a party, but you don’t turn it into a campaign,” Jega warned.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) have been criticised for allegedly engaging in early campaigns for the 2015 general election when the Electoral Act 2010 as amended states clearly the time frame required by political parties and their candidates to begin election campaign.

Jega, who was speaking on the commission’s readiness for the elections in Ekiti and Osun States this year and the 2015 general election, decried the blanket condemnation of the commission’s conduct of the Anambra governorship election because of just one error made in Idemili North Local Government only.

Putting the Anambra election behind him, Jega said having repositioned the commission, the 2015 polls would be the best general election in the history of the country in terms of deployment of technology and transparency.

He said with the aide of technology, INEC had been able to reduce to its barest minimum the issue of multiple registration, adding that ballot papers, unlike before, are now serially numbered for the sake of transparency, auditing and litigation purposes.

“We have also ensured that since after 2011 elections that the ballot papers are serially numbered including the ballot boxes and result sheets. We have gone ahead to even customise the result sheets for a particular result sheet for a polling unit and booths. So no two polling units will have similar result sheets.

“In furtherance of the commission’s efforts to conduct transparent elections, we have also colour-coded the ballot papers and boxes. So, you cannot take a ballot box from one local government or state to another.
There are also more features that have been introduced on our ballot papers with infrared marks that will be easily detected if politicians decide to go and print theirs”, stressing that  “it is difficult to fake”.

“We are doing all these believing that we are adding credibility to our election materials. Even when our materials come in, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) takes delivery of them and they (materials) remain in their custody until the eve of the election,” Jega said.

Asked if the outcome of the National Conference will affect the 2015 elections, Jega said that the commission has an act that governs its activities and not the report of a national conference.

He explained that INEC, over the years, had made use of the services of vice-chancellors and lecturers in the universities as well as youth corps members as electoral officers (EOs) in order to raise the level of credibility of elections.

He said the commission was considering approaching other professionals like the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), engineers and even media professionals for their credible members to be part of the electoral process.

The INEC boss told the journalists that after the 2011 elections, “we engaged the services of a consulting firm for the restructuring of the commission and they gave us the report which we had implemented to make the organisation work more effectively as we move towards 2015. We have done a lot of restructuring. We adopt the reward-and-punish style within the law.”

With the understanding that to organise transparent and credible elections is not about technology only, the INEC chairman said staff had been constantly trained and retrained, including the ad hoc staff and volunteers used during election.

“Our development partners have assisted in some of these bridge trainings and this will continue as we go to 2015 elections,” he emphasised.

Speaking on the permanent voters’ card, Jega said it contains a chip that has all the details of the voter and helps to eliminate double registration, adding that the commission does not need any amendment to the electoral law to use the permanent voters’ card and the battery-powered card reader for election.
He therefore called on those that have not registered to use the window offered by the continuous voters registration (CVR) to do so.

“You can go and buy all the cards for your supporters as a politician, you cannot use those cards on election day because of its security details. It was used in Ghana while we where there and we saw the challenges. We have to meet with the parties and agree because the whole intention is to improve elections in this country,” Jega said.

On the criticisms that the 2015 elections should have been made to hold in a day, the INEC chairman said that the country is not ready for such exercise and when the time is ripe it will be done.

He believes that despite all the challenges, the 2015 election would be the best election ever held in this country.

In an effort to make the results credible, he said there would be the streaming of election results online as the results are turned out for all to follow, while calling on the stakeholders to be part of this new orientation as it would take all to have a fair and transparent elections.


708 total views, 6 views today

About the Author


Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>