INEC ready for 2015 polls
AS some Nigerians express doubt about the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a seamless exercise in the forthcoming poll, the electoral body has risen in stout defence of its preparations.
Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Segun Agbaje, while addressing a forum last weekend at the state capital said the commission is “prepared and ready in our efforts at conducting very peaceful, free, fair, credible and acceptable General Elections on 28th March and 11th April, 2015.”
The forum, a town hall meeting on non-violent election participation was organized by Say No Campaign-Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) as part of its contributions to the preparations for a free and fair 2015 elections.
Agbaje said that in the journey towards consolidating and deepening the country’s nascent democratic process, “the collaborative efforts of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have in no small measure assisted the commission especially in the areas of knowledge sharing workshops, voters and civic education among others.”
He disclosed that the commission has put a lot of measures in place and utilized several means to ensure that the forthcoming elections are adjudged the best in the history of the country and to even secure the same testimonial from the international community.
On voter education, the REC said that there had been series of meetings with several stakeholders and institutions to further complement the efforts of the State Inter-Agency Committee on Voter Education and Publicity (SICVEP).
And to foster effective security, he said “the commission had established the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) which is made up of all the heads of security agencies as well as the coordinator of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and they meet on regular basis to outline strategies for stemming the tide of insecurity in the polity.”
He disclosed further that the commission had also produced electoral maps that show polling units, registration areas, local government areas, flash points and difficult terrains, which would serve as guide to stakeholders on election days.
Agbaje also added that “an Election Operation Support Centre (EOSC) has been set up to directly monitor the activities of all Election Officials,” with the aim of providing prompt response and quick resolutions to emergencies.
And to dispel all doubts about the ineffectiveness and any technical shortcomings of the Smart Card Readers (SCR), the technical department of the commission displayed the use of the device to the satisfaction of the gathering that included coalition of civil society groups, NGOs and other critical stakeholders that are united against social vices and election rigging under the stables of Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
Speaking on the distribution of the Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in the state and its usage, the REC said “as at 25th February, 1, 073, 904 PVCs have been distributed, amounting to 71.87% while 420, 265 voters are yet to collected,” and on the discarded Temporary Voters Cards (TVCs) he simply declared, “No PVC, No Voting.”
While hinging the expected success of the coming elections on the achievements of the last two exercises in Ekiti and Osun states, Agbaje who was transferred from Kodi to Osun to conduct last year’s poll said, “the governorship elections conducted by the commission in the two states which were adjudged the best elections so far held in the history of elections in Nigeria attested to the fact that the commission is more than ever before determined towards ensuring that the 2015 elections and others are better in terms of credibility, transparency and acceptability.”
The South-West Coordinator of the organisation, Abiodun Ajijola, canvassed the need for the town hall meeting and the reasons why the people must be enlightened to forestall a recurrence of the ugly and violent incidents that marred past elections.
According to him, “the coalition has come to ensure that Nigerians rise up to challenge everything that is going to cause chaos and unrest in the society. And this is the motive behind the town hall meetings we are presently holding across the country. One was held in Owerri, Imo State capital, last week.”
He stated further that the goal of the interaction was to keep the people abreast of the development in the country, imbue them with adequate knowledge and information, which would empower them to say no to any enticement from any quarter to foment troubles.
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