Posted by News Express | 9 November 2014 | 2,699 times
A group of Nigerians in the United States have once again urged the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, to redouble the efforts of the Commission towards achieving a smooth execution of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise and distribution of the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) rather than dissipating energy and resources on the discredited and lopsided creation of polling booths.
In an open letter to the INEC Chairman, jointly signed by Dechi. P. Dariye, Abayomi. F. Adeolu and Osahon Matthew, and available to Sunday Sun by email, the group said that the electoral body’s fixation on creation of new polling booths based on spurious data is an evident demonstration of “faulty priority-setting” and clear case of doing last things first and muddling the electoral management process.
Shedding light on its objection to creation of the polling units the group said: “We had hoped that our intervention, along with those of other individuals and institutions including the august body of the Nigerian Senate Committee overseeing electoral matters, will elicit a review of the new polling units creation process in such a way that your Electoral Management Body will prioritize its resources and endeavors to more pressing electoral matters, such as the implementation of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise and the issuance of the new Permanent Voters Card (PVCs) which will facilitate authentication of voters using the much publicized electronic card reader.
Without doubt the adaptation of information technology at that level of election management is a worthy innovation in Nigeria that ought to have been pursued with utmost attention, unfortunately, from recent events which we have observed in the Nigerian media reports, it is clear that this very important process, which has the potential to illuminate the actual data of eligible voters in Nigeria with more accurate evidence trail of how they presented for voting as traceable voters than previously, has been ruined by the distraction of trying to create new polling units with controversial data.” The group cautioned Jega not to lose sight of the fact that the rifts engendered by the spirited effort to create the controversial polling booths could seriously harm his “commendable and exemplary work, which has elevated election quality to new heights in Nigeria despite the many pitfalls that remain unaddressed.”
Against the background of protests that have trailed the launch of the PVC in several states, the group noted that it was disappointing that INEC failed to utilize the abundant tine it had to fine all issues associated with the PVC.
“It is therefore on a very disappointing note that we observe the recent protests by voters, which attended the attempted launching of the PVC distribution and CVR process in places such as Lagos. In truth we empathize with the angry voters, because four years was adequate to have put all that was required for the exercise in place, with enough time for piloting. We fail to see how polling units which will be used only after registered voters are authenticated will receive such muscular attention despite reservations on their creation by a diverse and significant cohort of electoral stakeholders, whereas processes which are conditions precedent, such as the registration of voters and the issuance of Permanent Voters Cards to the eligible voters receive such anemic efforts.
•Adapted from a Sunday Sun report. Photo shows Jega.
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