Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nigeria: Fate of electoral body chair unknown

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is not in a position to say if or when its chairman, Attahiru Jega, will be removed.

Chris Iyimoga, an INEC commissioner, who made the statement on Wednesday at a press conference in Abuja, also said the commission took full advantage of the postponement to rev up distribution of permanent voter cards, and 80 percent of the cards have now been distributed.

“It is an endorsement from the national assembly, the commission is not in position to say when or how the chairman will be removed from office,” he said. “I am delighted to report that we have achieved 80 percent distribution of PVC. [In all], 55,232,875 PVCs have been collected. I am also delighted to report that we have taken delivery of ballot papers and boxes.

“We have intensified our civic education efforts. The commission has collaborated with national council of arts to disseminate messages to grassroots.” Iyimoga also allayed the fears of Nigerians about speculations making the round about the reliability of card readers, saying they would be tested prior elections.

“The commission has conducted rigorous testing of card readers to test its functionality before election day. Field testing of card readers will be done in different geopolitical zones ahead of 2015 polls,” he explained.

“For all 150,000 Polling Units (PUs) and voting points, card readers have been sent down to these areas ahead of the polls.” He revealed that INEC would meet with state officials and representatives of political parties next week to witness them such programs in about 2015. “The commission will meet with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and political parties next week to brief on INEC’s readiness,” he said.

“The commission will meet accredited observers on the 19th to discuss the best practices for 2015 polls.” Since the announcement of the election postponement on February 7, INEC has distributed more than 3 million voter cards.


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