News / Africa

Nigerian Electoral Commission Seeks More Time to Register Voters

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (C), accompanied by his wife Patience (R), Vice President Namadi Sambo, waves to the crowd before their campaign declaration in Abuja on September 18, 2010.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (C), accompanied by his wife Patience (R), Vice President Namadi Sambo, waves to the crowd before their campaign declaration in Abuja on September 18, 2010.
TEXT SIZE - +

Nigeria's electoral commission says it needs more time to register voters before January elections, raising prospects that the vote could be delayed.

Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission has no authority to change the timeline for legislative, presidential, and gubernatorial elections scheduled for January.

So chairman Attahiru Jega told the heads of political parties that the commission is doing its best to meet its legal obligations despite considerable obstacles.

"The fact that we have time constraints does not mean that the tasks at hand are impossible to accomplish within the existing time frame," said  Attahiru Jega. "Instead, what it means is that there is a very limited margin to make modifications to timelines, particularly for critical deliverables."

For example, Jega says, if it takes five weeks instead of four weeks to deliver all the machines for voter registration, that would jeopardize the entire registration exercise.

"And the more we miss the timelines, the more difficult it becomes to adjust," he said. "Still, as a commission, we have repeatedly insisted that we shall work within the existing legal framework as contained in the 1999 constitution as amended and the Electoral Act 2010. We have also consistently said that the more time we have, the better the outcome of both the registration of voters and the 2011 elections would be."

Because it is not the commission's constitutional responsibility to change electoral timelines, Jega says lobbying for such an extension could open the commission to public suspicion.

"The question of fixing and changing election dates has been one of the major sore points of our electoral experience in Nigeria," said  Attahiru Jega. "The degree of partisanship that has usually informed discussions of these issues is legendary."

So Jega says the commission has deliberately chosen to stay out of that issue. Until now.

"There is no point in delivering an electoral process the outcome of which will again be controversial and incredible,"he said.

Jega did not say how much more time the commission needs or whether that might delay January's vote. But he did make clear that the May deadline for transferring power must remain sacrosanct. He asked political leaders to work with lawmakers to consider all options for extending the electoral timetable so as to have the best vote possible.

Jega says the commission is making public its concerns about the electoral timeline because it wants to ensure the Nigerian people's ownership of the commission's work.

"We have always insisted that our actions will be transparent and that we should always seek the understanding and support of Nigerians in difficult times," said Jega. "Surely, this is one of such times."

Voter registration is currently scheduled to be held during the first 14 days of November.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid