2015: Nigerians in US warn Jega

Posted by News Express | 9 November 2014 | 2,699 times

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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.

Source: News Express

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