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

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers 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.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid