A Nigerian elections official says that this month’s presidential, legislative and gubernatorial polls – due to begin next week – are on track. .
“Already we have distributed most of the materials” says Aniedi Ikoiwak of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Rivers State. He adds that there are instructions on the new method of voting which is called the Modified Open Ballot System: “We have also reached out to the press, and enlightened Nigerians” on the new system,” he says.
Ikojwak says the news system, which was created to improve the credibility of the vote, involves roles and responsibilities for the electorate, security agents, politicians and the commission. “Every person will see exactly what is done and how it’s done.” This way, he says, everybody will be accredited, involved, and know what’s going on.
The INEC official dismisses critics who say many people will choose not to vote this year: “I don’t think there will be voter apathy... I remember that there were Nigerians who spent a whole night; some of them were at the registration centers by 3 o’clock in the morning; nobody compelled them....I think Nigerians are waiting for these elections.”
Ikojwak also says measures have been taken to improve the transparency of the polls. He says in an effort to discourage bribery by politicians, election officials were chosen from local communities. He says the system has enough rules and procedures to catch and punish anyone who tries to manipulate the polls.