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No Plans to Further Postpone the Elections
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has addressed lingering concerns on whether the elections would hold or not, by confirming that there are no indications from any quarters of any wish to further postpone the elections scheduled for March 28th and April 11th.
Chairman of the Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, made the assertion yesterday while addressing local and international Observers at the briefing of accredited observers for the 2015 general elections, an event put together with support from United Nations Development Programme/Democratic Governance for Development (UNDP/DGD II Project), held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
Professor Jega said: “I am aware that there are still lingering concerns on whether the elections would hold or not. Let me say that I do not see any indication from any quarters of any wish to further postpone the elections”.
He explained that INEC believes that effective utilization of the period of extension would enable the Election Management Body to a vastly improved 2015 general elections. He said, “after the rescheduling of the elections, the Commission met, reviewed the situation and decided on how best to utilize the six-week extension to add value to operational and logistical preparations for the elections”.
Professor Jega who read out the Guideline for Observers, informed them that it was based on global norms, standards and sources and urged them to be conversant with the provisions of the guidelines as they deploy.
He appreciated the contribution of election observers in strengthening the plans and policies of the Commission, saying: “Your participation in elections often provides us with dispassionate and rich assessments of the electoral process, which add value to our work as a Commission.”
In his welcome address, the Chairman, Election and Party Monitoring Committee, National Commissioner, Lai Olurode, emphasised the important role observers play in an electoral process. He stressed that “Observers’ reports can make or mar a country”, adding that “an Election Management Body can only ignore a credible Observer’s reports at its own peril.”
He urged the Observers to “familiarize themselves with the legal framework and innovations in the electoral process, specifically, in the deployment of the Smart Card Readers, not as an end in themselves but as a measure to checkmate election fraudsters”.
In his goodwill message, Chairman Senate Committee on INEC, Emmanuel Andy Uba, implored the accredited Observers to “objectively assess the electoral process, help instill public confidence, assist in verification of results in such a way that it will improve the quality of the electoral process and help mitigate during and post-election conflict”.
The Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, assured of a secured electoral process by abiding by the provisions of the law and providing level playing field for all stakeholders.
He said: “I want to assure you, the Chairman of this occasion, the National Electoral Commission, the international and domestic Observers, and Monitors as well as all other stakeholders that to us, in the police and indeed the entire law enforcement agencies and security agencies, we will be most loyal to the country, we will be most loyal to the provision of the law, we will be guided by these provisions in the exercise of our responsibilities in all activities leading to the election and on the election day and as well as on the days thereafter”.