The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has revealed its intention to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to showcase its improved processes and rigour.
This was disclosed yesterday by the acting Chairman of INEC, Hajiya Amina Bala Zakari, while delivering a keynote address at the public presentation of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room report on 2015 general election, with support from British Department for International Development (DFID) in Abuja.
Disclosing that the electoral body would apply lessons learnt from previous elections in raising the bar during the Kogi and Bayelsa exercise, she said: “In conducting elections in both states, the Commission will apply lessons learnt from the previous elections beginning with the stand alone governorship elections in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States, and the general elections.”
Zakari, noted that the commission will continue to encourage participation in the electoral process, pointing out that INEC will carry out Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise in both states. She said that those who registered will have their cards printed in timely fashion and voters’ transfers will also be supported for those two states.
She called for continued support from development partners and civil society organisations towards improving the electoral process, even as she assured Nigerians that: “INEC in partnership with the key stakeholders in the political parties, security and civic organisations will strive to ensure that both elections in Kogi and Bayelsa are transparent and well run.”
The acting chairperson warned that electoral malpractice would not be tolerated, as the commission would continue to drive transparency and effectiveness.
“Any INEC official found wanting in the tribunals will be punished to the full extent of the law,” she said, explaining that the commission’s transitional plans needed to lay the foundation for the future.
The key areas she mentioned include, continued drive for improvement of internal processes, staff re-orientation and training, push for recommendations to the National Assembly on electoral reforms such as ballot access restrictions to reduce voter confusion and diaspora voting, increased use of technology building on the card reader and e-track processes introduced in 2015.
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She listed other areas of improvement to include internal and external communications which would drive improved awareness with the public and staff and most importantly, a continued inclusive process with all stakeholders (political parties, civic organizations, security personnel, the NYSC.
-Daily Post Online