Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it’s on course for holding the presidential election in January. An exact date is expected to be announced this week by the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.
Analysts say the commission has a huge task ahead, based on the number of unresolved issues, like voter registration. It also has to arrange for voting machines and hire election staff countrywide.
“INEC has promised the whole world and Nigerians in particular that it would do its best to deliver a credible election come January and to that promise it is absolutely committed,” says INEC spokesman Kayode Idowu.
“On the issue of timing, INEC will work within the [requirements] of the law, which dictates that it should conduct this election in January. That is not to say if there is opportunity for a better time frame, INEC would not do a better job.”
All stakeholders in the election process are cooperating with the commission in the effort, says Kayode.
“The commission has been interacting very closely with the political parties to also bring them up to speed with the requirement of conducting a credible election in January. Don’t forget that the task of organizing election is not only that of INEC. All the other stakeholders, including the political parties especially, have to play their part.”
Some opposition parties point out that INEC’s top officials are appointed by the government and say they will favor the ruling party. Kayode disagrees.
“This commission has demonstrated even in the short time that it has been in office that it is independent. The chairman did say at his inauguration that he would have no relationship with any of the politicians beyond what the law provides for.”