Jega promises improved 2015 elections as senator rules out electronic voting

FILE PHOTO: Voters casting their vote (3)
FILE PHOTO: Voters casting their vote

 Senate rules out electronic voting for 2015 elections.

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, on Tuesday assured that the Commission will improve on its performance in the 2015 general elections.

Mr. Jega stated this during the public presentation of INEC Strategic Plan (2012-2016) in Abuja where the Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Alkali Jajere, ruled out electronic voting in the 2015 polls.

Mr. Jega, who was responding to the suggestions made by the leaders of some of the political parties that INEC should sit up in order to ensure smooth and successful polls, come 2015, said the Commission would be transparent and accountable to retain the confidence stakeholders have in it.

He said INEC junior staff as well the ad-hoc ones would be monitored to ensure they do not give the commission a bad name during the election.

The INEC chairman recalled that upon assumption of duties, he made it clear his administration would not condone violation of the electoral laws and other rules by any staff, adding that the principles have so far helped tremendously.

“We made it very, very clear when we came in, I think in one of the first interactive sessions we had with the staff of INEC, that we have drawn the line,” he said.

“We will not investigate any crass violation that we have met but we have said that we are not going to be looking for fault but we are drawing the line.

“We will not ask anybody to do anything wrong and whoever does anything wrong will have him or herself to blame. That has been our guiding principles and it has helped tremendously.

“No doubt, I must tell you that my own perception of what has happened is that certainly there are few bad eggs and the things that they have done have not impinge on the image of the entire members of the Commission.

“It is very clear that substantial majority of INEC staff are always okay, all they require is motivation and encouragement,” he added.

Mr. Jega said the Commission has not carried out any major purge of its staff, though a few of them have been retired or dismissed. According to him, most of the commission’s staff that conducted the 2007 elections also conducted those of 2011.

“We have not done a massive retrenchment of INEC staff. So, it is the same people, for example, who conducted the 2007 who also conducted the 2011 elections,” he stated.

“So really I think we should appreciate the fact that all we need to do is to put mechanism, programme of action and motivation and inspiration that we have to do to get the best of the staff in INEC. We will continue to do our best to justify the confidence that stakeholders have in us.”

In response to the demand by the National Chairman of the United Progressives Party, UPP, Chekwas Okorie, for Electronic Voting System in the country, Mr. Jajere said the legislature will not come out with the legal framework for the system now because the country is not ripe for the system.

According to the lawmaker, the country is still confronted with infrastructural and technological challenges.

“The decision by the National Assembly not to allow that is that we don’t have the infrastructure and technology in place,” Mr. Jajere said.


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