A top official of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says the electoral body will hold a forum to “sensitize” all those who have a stake in voter registration in the country’s southwest region in Ibadan Friday.
Nick Dazan, the deputy communications director for INEC, said the forum aims to ensure their full participation in next year’s general elections.
Dazan said the electoral body recently signed a contract with some manufacturers to provide computers ahead of the general elections.
“The major vendors, or manufacturers, that benefited from the contract [include] Xenox technology to deliver computer laptop direct data capture machines that will be used in the 2011 general elections. The machines will be used to capture the biometrics and photographs of prospective voters in the 2011 general elections,” he said.
Participants expected to be at the forum include religious leaders, traditional rulers, civil society groups as well as various non-governmental organizations.
Dazan said Attahiru Jegga, chairman of the electoral commission, is scheduled to speak about the need for their participation in the electoral process to ensure a credible vote in the upcoming April general elections.
“As you are aware, in the last exercise, the commission used only 33 000 of the direct data capture machines to register the biometrics and photographs of voters. These machines were inadequate in terms of numbers and they were not delivered on time,” said Dazan.
“But, this time around, the commission is procuring 132,000 copies of this direct capture data machines," he said. "We have 120,000 polling stations, or registration centers, but the commission is acquiring another 12,000 copies of the machines in excess of the registration areas, or polling stations, so that, if there are any eventualities, it can make up for this eventuality.”
Nigerian lawmakers have approved a constitutional amendment that would allow the elections to be postponed until April. They are currently scheduled for January, but Nigeria's electoral commission has asked for more time to correct voter lists.
Both houses of parliament approved constitutional changes allowing elections to take place in as little as 30 days before May 29, the date a new administration is scheduled to take office.
The amendment still needs to be ratified by two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 state assemblies. The electoral commission has said it wants to carry out credible elections unlike the 2007 polls that observers said were badly marred by disorder, intimidation and fraud.