News / Africa

Nigeria Election Chief Promises ‘Much Improved’ 2015 Vote

Nigeria's electoral chief and academic Attahiru Jega attends a meeting with staff from the Independent National Electoral Commission  in Abuja, March 17, 2011. (AP Image)
Nigeria's electoral chief and academic Attahiru Jega attends a meeting with staff from the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja, March 17, 2011. (AP Image)
Peter Clottey
The chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed confidence that measures implemented by the electoral body will ensure next year’s general election is transparent, free, fair and credible.

Attahiru Jega also says INEC has received assurances from both the government and legislators that the commission will get the funds it needs to organize next year’s presidential, legislative and local elections. 

Both local and international election monitoring groups said Nigeria’s 2007 elections failed to meet international standards. The election monitors however said the 2011 vote was credible and better organized.

                    Working to improve performance

In an interview with VOA, Jega outlined measures the electoral body has implemented to improve next year’s vote following an internal review of the group’s performance in the 2011 general election.

Jega says INEC also invited academic and civil society groups to independently assess its performance in the 2011 vote, and offer recommendations in areas that needed improvement.                                              

“After we did all that we produced a strategic plan covering the period 2012 to 2016 so that for the elections and beyond, we have a clearly charted program of what needed to be done to improve election management in Nigeria, both towards 2015 and beyond,” said Jega. “Our vision is to be one of the best election management bodies in Africa by 2015.”

He says INEC has been restructured to be efficient and effective.

“We have done what I call putting square pegs in square holes in terms of human resources in terms of removing duplication of responsibilities and so on,” said Jega. “We have produced a permanent voters card and we are going to distribute them and come 2015 we are going to use card readers to be able to authenticate whether the person who brings a card to the polling unit is the actual owner of that card.”

Jega called on other stakeholders including civil society groups and political parties to be partners in ensuring the credibility of the vote.

“It is much about what politicians do -- it is much about what civil society organizations do. So our hope is that while we concentrate on doing our best, we are hopeful and we keep on engaging stake holders so that all hands will be on deck in order to ensure that 2015 is indeed truly much better than 2011,” said Jega. 

                    Funding issues

Observers say adequate funding is critical to resolving the logistical challenges INEC faces.  Jega says he has been assured by the country’s leaders that his organization will receive the budgetary allocation needed to administer the vote.

“We prepared our budget which we have submitted and we have concerns as to whether what we actually need will be provided -- both members of the national assembly and the government raised these concerns. I must say we have received assurances that everything would be done to ensure that lack of resources do not undermine the 2015 elections. And I think those reassurances are good enough for us,” said Jega.

                    Security challenges

Nigeria is facing severe security challenges in some parts of the country where the Islamist militant group Boko Haram has carried out attacks.

Some Nigerians worry that the election could be affected by violence. They contend that the militants could target voting centers and scare prospective voters from participating in the election.

But, Jega says the electoral commission is working closely with the country’s security agencies to address any security concerns in the run up to the vote.

“We partner with security agencies to anticipate security challenges and to have a coordinated response approach to addressing those security challenges,” said Jega. “Since 2010 we established an Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Elections Security, and it has offered us a platform through which we engage with all security agencies to discuss security challenges associated with elections.”

                    Code of conduct

Observers have expressed concern about politicians using intemperate language during campaigns ahead of elections, which they say heightens ethnic and religious tension and creates conflicts and violence. 

Jega says INEC will enforce a code of conduct that the political parties would have to abide by in the run up to the election.

“I’m glad to say that all the registered political parties as of March last year had signed to a code of conduct that promotes civility and peaceful conduct,” said Jega. “We are hopeful that political parties and candidates will abide by that code of conduct and we are urging all citizens and all civil society organizations to hold parties and candidates to account with regards to the commitment that they have made.”
Clottey interview with Prof. Attahiru Jega, Nigeria's Electoral Chief
Clottey interview with Prof. Attahiru Jega, Nigeria's Electoral Chiefi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid