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Nigeria’s Voters’ List Display Ends Friday

Fatima Bello display her new voters registration card in Lagos, Nigeria, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011. An effort to register 70 million voters across Nigeria wobbled to life Saturday, as volunteers spread out across Africa's most populous nation ahead of its A

An official of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said his organization’s week-long nationwide display of the voters’ list ends Friday ahead of April’s presidential, parliamentary and state governorship elections.

The display allowed prospective Nigerian voters to inspect and make corrections to the list to be used for the general elections.

Nick Dazan, assistant director of public affairs of the INEC, told VOA the commission has gathered additional information from the voters’ list display that would help it produce a credible “document” to ensure a transparent, free and fair vote.

“We started this process on Monday, the 14th, and it is going to end today. Now, at the end of the exercise, the commission will clean up the register, that is, (to) make sure that, after identifying all these issues, it comes up with a clean register, which it will now give to all the political parties on the 2nd of March. By law, we are supposed to do this 30 days (prior) to the April 20th general elections,” said Dazan.

“Yes, we are happy (about the turnout). As a matter of fact, even though the exercise was enthusiastically attended to by Nigerians because we were able to register not less than 66 million eligible registrants, we were not expecting that a similar number will turnout for the display.”

Dazan said the electoral body is “right” on schedule with its preparations ahead of the elections.

“After the display, which ends this evening, we will now begin to go into the elections proper. And, the first set of elections will be on April 2nd, which will be the National Assembly elections; then, on the 9th,we will have the presidential election; and then, on the 16th of April we will have the governorship election,” said Dazan.

“Campaigns are continuing at pace, the political parties are campaigning, they are canvassing for votes, and we are going to have this kind of campaigning until a day to these elections. Nigerians are excited about the (election) prospects and this excitement is underscored by the large number of Nigerians that came out to register, as we have seen.”

Recently, the INEC chairman told VOA Nigerians should expect a “significantly improved” election that will be credible and meet international standards.

Attahiru Jega said his commission has been doing extensive preparations and encouraging ordinary Nigerians to fully participate.

“First, and foremost, we decided to make the elections free, fair and credible. We need to have a fresh voter register because of the key problems which we have identified with the existing voter register. So, we’ve done a lot in terms of extensive operational and logistical preparations for the fresh voter registration exercise. And, we are confident that we will be able to have a very good voter registration exercise.”