Nigeria: INEC – Meeting and Reactions on rescheduled 2011 polls

By Chinyere Ogbonna, Nigeria – The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Nigeria. INEC, Professor AttahiruJega, will today meet with all Resident Electoral Officers and Directors of the commission for a crucial meeting in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

This is part of INEC’s efforts at ensuring hitch free polls.

In a statement in Abuja, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the commission, Mr. KayodeIdowu, reiterated INEC’s readiness to conduct free, fair and credible polls in spite of the use of ballot papers in some states, before the National Assembly election was postponed last Saturday.

Mr. Idowu explained that the election was inconclusive in some states where voting had commenced before the postponement. He noted that INEC was updating the election materials already used during the aborted National Assembly election in preparation for the forthcoming rescheduled polls.

Meanwhile, Professor Jega has been enjoined to advise some officials of the commission who may be involved in activities capable of marring the credibility of the elections.

Nigeria’s Vice President, Architect NemadiSambo has urged Nigerians to cooperate with INEC to ensure credible polls. The Vice President made the call during an interaction with state and local government PDP party leaders at the government in Kaduna.

Vice President Sambo who explained that the rescheduling of  the National Assembly election was to give INEC enough time to conduct credible polls, said the present administration was determined to restore the confidence of the international community on Nigeria.

Responding, Governor PatrickYakowa of Kaduna said the state party leaders have been loyal to the party. He is expected to meet with the PDP campaign council and the local government coordinators.

Also Speaking in Abuja, the National Publicity Secretary of National African Democratic Congress, ADC, Chief AnayoArinze,noted that in spite of the incidents which led to the postponement and subsequent rescheduling of all other election by  the  commission, professor Jega meant well for the country.

Meanwhile, Former Nigerian heads of states, Retired General YakubuGowown, Retired General Ibrahim Babangida and Retired General AbdusalamiAbubakar, traditional rulers, clerics and many prominent Nigerians have been reacting to the rescheduling of the 2011 general elections.

They urged Nigerians in separate interviews to be patient  with Professor Jaga, adding that was a man of integrity and should be given the chance to complete the elections.

One of such people, a political scientist at the University of Lagos, Dr. Brown Onuoha , commended INEC for taking the bold step to prevent any action that could have affected the smooth conduct of the election.

Also speaking on the rescheduled elections, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. GbengaAdefaye, described INEC’s decision as a right step in the right direction, as long as it would enable the country to have credible polls.

On his part, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia , Chief  OlusegunO lusola expressed satisfaction with the decision. In another development, the rescheduling of the 2011 polls by INEC is yet another opportunity for the commission to correct the flaws which caused the
delay. This is the submission of a member of the House of Representatives, from Badagry, Mr. WhesuSeijo in an interview with journalists.

Mr. Seijo called on INEC and related agencies to re-sensitize the electorate on participation in the rescheduled polls.

The Police Command in Lagos on its part have reiterated its commitment in ensuring a credible election all through the period of the polls. Addressing newsmen in Lagos ,the Commissioner of Police in the State, Mr. Suleiman Abba, warned against all acts capable of marring the elections such as impersonation, improper use of voters card, bribery and corruption and voting by unregistered persons.