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 Nigerians’ll have credible elections, Jega insists

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PostSubject: Nigerians’ll have credible elections, Jega insists   2015-03-12, 04:54

The Independent National
Electoral Commission Chairman,
Attahiru Jega, on Wednesday
lamented that a “lot of things”
were designed to distract INEC
from making the March 28 and
April 11 general elections a success.
Jega, at a meeting with the 37
Resident Electoral Commissioners
in Abuja, however gave an
assurance that Nigerians’ aspiration
for free, fair and credible elections,
would be met.
His comment came a day after the
Peoples Democratic Party
governors said that the commission
was ill-prepared for the polls.
Critics of INEC’s card readers,
including the PDP governors and
the national leaders of the ruling
party had claimed that the device
could result in the
disenfranchisement of eligible
voters on the days of the elections.
Jega, who spoke before the
meeting went into closed-door
session, said that the commission
would examine every gap in its
preparations for the elections in
the next few weeks.
Facing the RECs, he said, “This is a
very challenging time for all of you
as we put final finishing touches to
our preparations for the 2015
general elections.
“This meeting is very important
because it is an opportunity for us
to have a final review and
updating of the extent of our
preparations for the elections.
“It is important that we also remain
focused in terms of delivering the
best elections for our country.
There are a lot of things to distract
us but we need to remain focused
and resilient.
“We need to do everything
possible to make sure that the
elections scheduled for March 28
and April 11 are indeed
substantially much better than
those we conducted in 2011 and
the subsequent by-elections in
some states.”
He called on the electoral officers
to continue to engage all
stakeholders, by giving them
information, enlightening them
and carrying them along in all their
The chief electoral empire said this
was necessary because, according
to him, the contribution and
support of everybody were
necessary in order to have the best
elections that Nigerians want.
On the agenda of the meeting, he
said, “I want to say that at today’s
(Wednesday) meeting, we will
review outstanding matters
relating to the distribution of
Permanent Voter Cards, relating to
the relocation of polling units and
relating to the field testing or mock
demonstration of card readers that
we did last Saturday.
“And of course, it will be an
opportunity for us to examine
closely whether there are still gaps
in the final things that we need to
do within the next two weeks to
keep on adding value to the
While giving an assurance that the
commission was doing its best to
conduct free, fair and credible
elections, Jega added that all
Nigerians must be ready to
contribute their quota.
He called on political parties and
their candidates to abide by the
peace accord they entered into,
which is meant to avoid violence by
their supporters.
Jega said, “I want to use this
opportunity to reassure all
Nigerians that we are doing our
best and our best will be good
enough in terms of meeting their
aspirations and in terms of free, fair
and credible elections.
“But as we have said constantly,
everybody has a role to play in
ensuring free, fair, credible and
peaceful elections. In particular, we
want to urge the candidates and
their political parties to contribute
and engage in the process, within
the legal framework and in the
context and code of conduct which
they have all signed.
“In particular, they also need to
respect the peace accord which the
leading candidates in the
presidential race have signed, as
well as many governorship
candidates in the states have
“We all need to ensure that the
elections are peaceful, because
peaceful elections are what will
promote the stability of our country
and what will lay a solid foundation
that is required for development.”
The commission is expected to
meet with representatives of all
registered political parties on
Thursday (today) over issues like
the use of card readers and the
distribution of PVCs.
Meanwhile, as the Wednesday
meeting was ongoing, a group of
protesters gathered outside the
commission’s premises to kick
against the use of the card readers
for the elections.
The protesters, who are under the
aegis of the Middle Belt Concerned
Youths, were however restricted
from gaining access to INEC
headquarters’ gate by security
The leader of the group, Yusuf
Amodu, told journalists that the
mock election conducted by INEC
revealed that the card readers
were prone to fraud and capable of
causing problems on election
PDP plotting to stop elections
Imo State Governor and Chairman,
the Progressives Governors’ Forum,
has accused the PDP of plotting to
stop the conduct of the general
elections on March 28 and April 11.
Okorocha, who spoke through his
Commissioner for Information,
Chinedu Offor, on Wednesday,
faulted the claim by the PDP
Governors’ Forum on Tuesday that
INEC was ill- prepared for the polls.
He said, “They (PDP) want to do
everything to stop the elections.
They have come up with all manner
of excuses. The PDP is on a fishing
expedition. If they are not talking
about card readers, they are talking
about insecurity.
“How can they be talking of INEC
not being prepared? They know
they have lost the confidence of
the Nigerian electorate. They have
seen the handwriting on the wall.
“The questions to ask are: Is INEC
ready? The answer is yes. Are
Nigerians ready? The answer is yes.
Is the APC ready? The answer is yes.
Have people collected their PVCs?
The answer is yes.
“All over the world, not all eligible
voters vote in an election. The
international community is ready
and watching.”
Also, Okorocha’s Senior Special
Assistant on Media, Sam
Onwuemedo, said the PDP
governors’ position reflected that
the leadership of the ruling party
was afraid of defeat.
Onwuemedo, in a telephone
interview with one of our
correspondents, said the APC
governors would meet over the
issue of card readers.
“The PDP is afraid of the imminent
defeat staring it in the face. APC
governors will soon meet and
adopt a common position on the
use of the card reader,” he said.
Also, the APC has said that the PDP
and its governors are opposed to
the use of card readers because
they are afraid of losing the
The party, through its National
Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed,
added that it had been “vindicated
that the six-week postponement of
the elections was to buy PDP time
to avert certain electoral defeat
and perfect their rigging plan.
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