We have no role in amended electoral act controversy, says INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that it has no role to play in the ongoing crisis over the recent bill amending the electoral act, 2010 at the National Assembly.
The National Assembly had on February 14 passed the controversial bill, which reordered the sequence of next year’s general elections as issued by INEC making the National Assembly election to be held before the presidential poll. President Muhammadu Buhari had withheld his assent to the bill, saying it was contrary to the constitutional provision that gave full autonomy to INEC.
Reacting to the controversy, INEC’s National Commissioner, Professor Ibeanu Okechukwu, stated that the commission was not involved in the making of laws guiding the conduct of elections in the country, but was only empowered to implement any law relating to its functions.He said the commission would watch and hope that an amicable resolution would be reached on the matter soon, explaining however that, despite the controversy, it was focused on conducting free and fair elections next year.
Speaking in Enugu, at the commissioning of an ICT/Continuous Voters Registration (VR) Centre and Creche at the commission’s office, Okechukwu stated that the centre was part of the effort to ensure that staff of the commission were Internet compliant, saying it would help them deliver credible election.
“If the electoral act being contemplated upon is anything to go by, ICT will be the driving force. We should collectively prepare for the elections to deliver a quality election and this is one way the commission is preparing towards the task, so that before the election proper, we would have all become ICT compliant”, he stated.
He also faulted claims by the Ohanaeze Ndigbo that the commission was deliberately marginalising the Southeast zone in the ongoing voter registration exercise with alleged under registration.He said there was no attempt to under register any part of the country, explaining that the commission had made several efforts to improve registration in the zone.
Citing Enugu as an example, he stated that from 17 local council areas, the commission had improved to 35 registration centres and was poised to do more since the exercise was continuous.
Also speaking, INEC’s Resident Electoral Commissioner for Enugu State, Dr. Emeka Ononamadu stressed that current election realities in the country showed that ICT/VR department was strategic and had huge responsibilities from the beginning of elections to the end of the process.
Ononamadu said the state had witnessed improvement in the ongoing registration exercise and had registered more voters than any other state in the Southeast.He stated that over 10,000 permanent voter cards (PVCs) have been collected since the exercise started in April last year, stressing that about 120,000 PVC’s was yet to be collected from the 17 councils of the state.
He said the commission had upgraded some of the machines and distributed eleven new hi-speed DDC machines with improved back up for the ongoing exercise, stressing that the ICT and Creche centres were to improve staff performance.
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