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You are here:Home>>Emeka Chiakwelu>>Displaying items by tag: INEC
Displaying items by tag: INEC

Nigeria’s electoral agency on Wednesday approved the merger of three leading opposition parties ahead of presidential polls in 2015, potentially setting up a stiff challenge to the ruling party.


The electoral commission said the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) would now be known as the All Progressives Congress (APC).


It said the three parties “have met all statutory requirements for the merger, and has accordingly granted their request.”

The parties have been plotting the merger for months in a bid to win power from President Goodluck Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party. Jonathan is expected to seek another term in the 2015 vote, though he has not announced his intentions.


Previous attempts to rally the opposition against the PDP, which has won every presidential vote since a return to civilian rule in 1999, have failed amid infighting.

Picking a presidential ticket could prove to be a challenge for the opposition alliance, with its membership including a collection of varying interests.


While the PDP has controlled the presidency, opposition parties have had success on the state level in Nigeria, which includes 36 states.


The ACN, the biggest party in the merger, controls most of the southwest, including the economic capital Lagos.

Previous votes in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, have been marred by violence and irregularities, but the 2011 poll won by Jonathan was seen as a major improvement.

The Postponement of the Parliamentary Election by INEC is Troubling

Nigerians are going to the polls for the long awaited April election. But Electoral commission chief Attahiru Jega announced on television that the first parliamentary election will be delayed until April 4 "after voting materials failed to arrive in many areas, a major blow to hopes of a break with a history of chaotic polls in Africa's most populous nation, Voters had trooped early to polling stations across the country of 150 million, eager for a ballot less tainted by fraud and violence than 2007 elections that lacked credibility in the eyes of Nigerians and international observers," as reported by Reuters. But we must hold our judgment for now, but it is not good for the long awaited election.

This is no ordinary election in this West African powerhouse but rather an indicative election that will show to the whole wide world how serious Nigeria is with the emerging democratic dispensation. Nigeria’s last held election of 2007 according to domestic and international observers was marred with violence and irregularities that made it incredible and unacceptable.

Nigerian prestige this time is on the line, the civilized world will not accept anything short of free and fair election neither will Nigerian citizens accept election irregularities as business as usual. Everything at the moment is going right for Nigeria: The economy is getting stronger; Nigeria is regaining her confidence after being away from diplomatic circle and finally playing the significant role of the giant of Africa. For Nigeria to arrive and taking her distinguish seat among the comity of nations, she must first and foremost get the election thing right this time.

Let us be realistic, Nigeria is an emerging democratic nation and nobody expects to see everything work-out quickie clean. But what is expected of Nigeria is to organize and implement a free and fair election to the best of her knowledge. Of course there is no utopia in election; there maybe hiccups here and there. But the key issue is to produce a credible election results that are relatively fair and free, that majority of Nigerians can accept as a credible result. The election results must be correct with little or no mistake and should be self-evident to all the parties that the results are correct and right.

A credible election outcome will not only increase Nigeria’s diplomatic standing in diplomatic circle but it will also give a brand new image to a nation that badly needs to rebrand her image. This election can become a foundation for Nigeria to build solid blocks of good reputation that can make her attractive for domestic and foreign investors. When Nigeria gets her house in order investors cannot have double mind of investing their capitals and resources for a long duration. A such ambivalence among investors can result to capital flights and divestments.

In nation building and in growing an economy, political stability becomes the most paramount and imperative condiment for investors and tourists to stay put. Capitalists and investors do not put their money on nations that have weak political stability and risk losing their investments. An election is an indication that a democracy is working as it should, becoming an enabler and assurance that a nation is willing to do business. Political stability is an insurance that the risk of investing in a nation is limited and risk management is at the optimum level.

For a million times we have heard the phrase that Nigeria is potentially a great nation. Now the time has come for Nigeria to actualize it, this time Nigeria cannot afford to fumble the ball and fails to score a credible goal. The merits of free and fair election are numerous including a rising diplomatic standing and ascending self-assurance. Nigeria must truly take the lead in Africa be it economically or politically because Nigeria is the natural leader of Africa. The ascendency to a truly giant of Africa must come with a substantial improvement in the democratic standing and this can be achieved by holding a credible election this time.

No one is saying that democracy is all about election but in actuality election is the chief component of democracy thus buttressing the wellbeing of democracy and its political actors. Nigeria has come at a crossroad and she must make the right decision to seize the opportunity and make good of her promise. Nigeria can make this work in her country by proving to herself in particular and to friends including her foes that this is a new and improve Nigeria that is ready and willing to assume and reclaim her mantle as the largest democracy in Africa.

The global village is watching and Reuters wrote recently, "The African giant, home to more people than Russia, won an unprecedented third term as chairman of West African regional bloc ECOWAS last week and sees itself as a prime contender for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. But its credibility as a regional leader at a critical time, with Ivory Coast plunging back into war and the international community striving for a common voice on North Africa, hinges on the success of elections which begin on Saturday. Polls as flawed as the last ones in 2007 -- marred by ballot stuffing and intimidation -- could easily erode the goodwill President Goodluck Jonathan has built up since inheriting power last year when his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua died in office." Nigeria cannot afford to make the mistake of yesteryears.

Terence McCulley, U.S. ambassador said, "Nigerian leadership in ECOWAS, at the African Union, and at the United Nations has been impressive and commendable, particularly with regard to the crises in Cote d'Ivoire and in Libya, The quality of these elections will certainly be important as to how the U.S. and other nations view Nigeria, and how effectively Nigeria can exercise leadership internationally," as he commented on this April election to Reuters.


Nigeria needs credible election for her survival


This is a sign that the world is rooting for Nigeria to do it right this time. Subsequently empowering and gaining more confidence comes with a credible election outcomes, as Nigeria deliberate on the issues of Ivory Coast, Libya and other hot spots in Africa.

Nigerians cannot abandon the whole issue of election credibility to INEC and the government. The citizens of the country must see themselves as stakeholders in making this work for the country. The citizens can play the critical role as watch dogs, not by being forceful and violent rather by being responsible and voting without causing fracas and attracting undesirable attention.

Nigeria cannot afford to mess things up for so many things are at stake: Nigeria’s prestige and future will not be thrown into the mud. Nigeria must understand that a culture of free and fair elections is not made in the sky or in stars but are made when men and women of goodwill seize the opportunity and transform their country. The culture of credible election will nurture a socialization that can be smoothly and naturally passed to the next generation and posterity. This time around we all hope that Nigeria will do it right!



  Waiting for election materials


INEC staff




 INEC Staff stranded


Nabbed over election materials

Monday, 27 September 2010 13:06


Appeal to the National Assembly to extend the ElectionTime Table


In the recent past, the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver a fresh Voter’s Register for the 2011 elections and to conduct the elections proper within the timeframe established by the Constitution and the Electoral Act 2010 has dominated discussions in official circles, the development community, the mass media and the general public. INEC is not oblivious of the genuine concerns being expressed, yet the Commission also sees these discussions as an indication of the continued public goodwill towards the Commission in this collective task of delivering free, fair and credible elections in 2011 and beyond.

In my maiden Press Conference on July 22, 2010, I stated the two most immediate challenges facing the Commission, having decided that the existing Voter’s Register is inadequate to support the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, and hence the urgent need to compile a fresh one. These challenges were availability of funds and the limited time within which the Commission has to conduct the voter registration exercise and elections. I also emphasized at that conference that the possibility of compiling the new Voter’s Register rests largely on meeting the following timelines:


Deliverables Timelines

(i)     Identification of equipment suppliers Early August 2010


(ii)   Award of contract Early August 2010


(iii)     Delivery of 15,000 units of equipment for training Early September 2010


(iv)      Delivery of balance of equipment for registration exercise Mid October 2010


(v)        Training Early to  Mid September 2010


(vi)       Completion of deployment of equipment to polling units Mid October 2010


(vii)       Registration exercise Late Oct. – Early Nov. 2010


(viii)       Printing of Voters’ Register for display Early November 2010


(ix)        Display of Voters’ Register Mid November 2010


(x)   Verification, correction and certification Mid Nov. – Early Dec. 2010


It has since become clear that due to a combination of legal, administrative and practical reasons, among them delays in bringing the new electoral legal framework into operation, we have missed some of these timelines by up to one month. Fortunately, the major issue of funding has been settled with the passage of the supplementary appropriation by the National Assembly and the agreement we reached with the Federal Ministry of Finance on a schedule for releasing the funds. I wish to express the appreciation of the Commission to both the Executive and Legislative arms of government for their abiding support and tireless efforts in this regard.

But the challenge of time persists. As a Commission, we have repeatedly insisted that we shall work within the existing legal framework as contained in the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and the Electoral Act 2010. We have also consistently said that the more time we have, the better the outcome of both the registration of voters and the 2011 elections. These positions have been informed by at least two considerations, which answer the much-asked question why we had not pushed decisively on the issue of time before now:

First, it is not the Constitutional responsibility of INEC to establish or change the legal framework, including timelines for electoral activities. Consequently, to canvass change in the legal framework or Constitutional provisions on election dates would not only be inappropriate, but could open the Commission to public suspicion, given the well known recent electoral history of Nigeria.

Second, the question of fixing and changing election dates has been one of the major sore points of our electoral experience in Nigeria. The degree of partisanship that usually informs discussions of these issues is legendary. Consequently, we decided as a Commission that direct involvement in such debates could undermine the independence of INEC in the eye of the public.

Yet, we fully understand the position within the relevant arms of government that INEC is in the best position to indicate if it needs more time to carry out its Constitutional roles effectively. Certainly, he who wears the shoe should know exactly where it pinches and what is worth doing is worth doing well.

The foregoing clearly shows the dilemma that the Commission has been grappling with in the past few weeks. At a retreat of National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) of INEC in Calabar from September 16 – 19, 2010, these issues were exhaustively discussed, weighing all the implications for the Commission, the electoral process and the Nigerian people.  That retreat resolved, among other things, to engage relevant stakeholders in consultations on this critical outstanding issue of constricting time frame. Indeed, this problem is not peculiar to INEC. As you are well aware, our consultation last week with the leadership of all the registered political parties clearly showed that it is a problem these critical players in the process also face.

I have already notified relevant political authorities of this development and we are profoundly encouraged by the patriotic response we are getting not only from political parties, but also from the general public. I must particularly place on record our profound appreciation of the resolve of the Legislature to urgently attend to this issue and, hopefully, find a way out within the ambit of the law. In addition, on behalf of the Independent National Electoral Commission, I would like to inform the relevant organs of government and the Nigerian public as follows:

1.     We wish to reiterate our belief that the conduct of free, fair and credible elections is the collective charge of all Nigerians, not just INEC.

2.     While we remain unflinching believers in the rule and sanctity of law, it is also clear that conducting free, fair and credible elections has become central to securing the future of Nigeria as a nation. Given that the Constitution and Electoral Act must remain sacrosanct, still there is no point in delivering an electoral process the outcome of which will again be controversial and incredible.

3.     We appeal to the National Assembly, as it reconvenes from recess, to explore all possible ways within the ambit of the law to extend the time available to INEC to conduct the voter registration exercise and the 2011 elections. We also restate that should this happen, the May 29 inauguration date must remain sacrosanct.

4.     We request all stakeholders and the wider Nigerian public to support the relevant organs of government in taking appropriate steps to adjust the existing timeframe, so that INEC could give strong guarantees on delivering a flawless Voters’ Register as well as free, fair and credible elections in 2011. Specifically, it is no time for the blame game or politicization of this crucial phase of our experience as a nation.

In conclusion, we, as a Commission, remain humbled by the enormous goodwill and understanding extended to us by civil society organizations, government officials, development partners, political parties, professional associations, labour organizations, the mass media and the general public in the past two months, in spite of their genuine concerns about the electoral timelines. We look forward to their continued support in the months ahead.

Thank you.

Professor Attahiru Jega, OFR


Chairman of INEC