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Nigerian Electoral Commission Welcomes President’s Request for Election Delay

  • Peter Clottey

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (C) leaves a rally with his wife Patience and Vice President Namadi Sambo (L) after declaring his bid for the 2011 presidential poll in Abuja, 18 Sep 2010

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (C) leaves a rally with his wife Patience and Vice President Namadi Sambo (L) after declaring his bid for the 2011 presidential poll in Abuja, 18 Sep 2010

An official with Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has welcomed President Goodluck Jonathan’s letter to lawmakers asking for a delay in scheduled January elections.

Nick Dazan, INEC’s assistant director of public affairs, told VOA the election postponement will enable the electoral body to organize an “excellent” election.

“It’s a welcome development. On our part, we are delighted by the support the president has given to the commission’s request to extend the time table. That will give us ample time to do an excellent job. The commission has always said that the previous amendment made things very tight for it.”

Dazan also said, “Once the extension is given, the commission will be able to do a satisfactory job and deliver elections that are credible.”

President Jonathan wrote a letter asking the legislature to amend the constitution to delay the January elections. The delay, Mr. Jonathan said, will allow the electoral commission time to register voters.

In the letter, President Jonathan is quoted as saying, “I shall propose an amendment of the relevant laws ... which would enable (INEC) to conduct general elections between now and the end of April 2011. It is my hope that the distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will consider and pass the amendment in your usual expeditious manner.”

The electoral commission has said it needs more time to adequately prepare for legislative, presidential and gubernatorial elections all scheduled in January.

Dazan said President Jonathan’s backing is a welcoming development which will serve as a significant boost to the electoral body’s effort to organize a credible vote next year.

“We are confident because the commission has a mission with the National Assembly and they expressed their commitment and appreciation of the time that the commission needed to do a good job. Even this (Tuesday) afternoon, the speaker of the House of Representatives assured the chairman of the commission at a workshop in Kaduna that the National Assembly was going to do everything possible to extend the time.”

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