INEC Chairman, Jega, Nigerian activists, U.S. policymakers converge on Washington over Nigeria’s elections

Attahiru Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, a number of Nigeria’s pro-democracy activists and U.S. policymakers will on Monday converge on Washington DC to review Nigeria’s electoral process and hammer out ways of making the forthcoming elections in the country fair and credible.

The programme, tagged “Nigeria Election Forum” is put together by the  Washington-based think-thank, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS] in conjunction with Ford Foundation to discuss the state of preparations and the challenges ahead of the forthcoming elections in Africa’s most populous country.

A statement by the CSIS said the series, which is bringing together relevant Nigerian officials, civil society activists, opinion leaders and policymakers, will discuss the best ways of making the coming elections “peaceful, credible and free.”

The statement indicates the forum will start with participants identifying the major electoral problems to overcome before the elections and how the United States can be of help during the elections.

Jennifer G. Cooke, Director, African Programme, CSIS
Jennifer G. Cooke, Director, African Programme, CSIS

The INEC chairman, Mr. Jega, will give the keynote address at the forum after which there would be a panel discussion featuring notable civil society experts such as Clement Nwankwo, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advisory Centre and Convener, Civil Society Election Situation Room; Ayisha Osori, CEO, Nigerian Women Trust Fund; and Jude Chimdi Ohanele, President, South East Governance Network.

Others are Festus Okoye, National Coordinator, Independent Election Monitoring Group;  Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Executive Director, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre; and Inemo Samiama, Country Director, Stakeholder Democracy Network.

The Nigerian officials and activists will during the programme engage with U.S. policymakers and Africa experts on how best to ensure that Nigeria’s upcoming elections are peaceful, credible, and free.

The first session at the Forum will identify the big electoral roadblocks to overcome before 2015 and consider what the United States can do to support Nigeria as it enters a pivotal election period.

Elections in Nigeria have been bedevilled by corruption, large-scale rigging and violence since the return of civil rule in 1999.

The next general election will hold in February 2015, according to a recently released calendar by INEC.

According to the timetable, presidential election will hold on Valentine’s’ day, February 14, 2015, alongside elections into the National Assembly – Senate and House of Representatives.

Governorship and state Houses of Assembly elections will hold 14 days later on February 28, 2015, the electoral agency says.

The governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun have also been fixed for June 21 and August 9, 2014, respectively.

The release of the timetable is hugely significant, as it sets the reference point for other political activities around the 2014 and 2015 elections.


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  • ogidiogidi

    Where in Washington is this meeting scheduled?

    • sulei

      For why they will never let u know that one!!

  • yaksy

    Why going to Washington for the meeting?

    • Tunji

      Good question. It shows that we cannot handle the election ourselves. What a shame.

    • Abdullahi Abba Bukar

      Why Washington? To get endorsement from White House and plan how to intellectually rig the election. You know if US did not endorsed who is to rule any country there won’t be any peace for that country regardless of the creditable of the election. See what is happening in Egypt.

  • abeem

    The opportunity beckons for estacode, don’t you guys know!


    Nigeria is at a crossroad. We cannot reasonably conduct a free and credible election in 2015 based on the present unreliable census figures. Whatever the level of abysmal performance of any Government in Power, dethronement cannot be based on fraudulent votes from Cattle,Camels, Goats, Infants, Arabs Nigeriens etc or the other party will be justified to use the instrument of incumbency to rig. No opposition party is yet to win a Chairmanship seat in any State.

    With all these political acrimonies, it is appropriate to do a rethink and postpone this election to 2017 and allow GEJ complete the last two more years as a sacrifice,while the whole polity is genuinely restructured through the National
    Conference, with all legal obstacles removed. Has GEJ performed well? disputable but there is no dispute that he has a divine purpose.

    We need real fiscal federalism in a true federation with 6 Zonal Governments in 2017 with no Presidential election but with a Secret Open National TV ballot among the Six Zonal Vice Presidents. This will be repeated every two years to confirm majority. This will curb all the National financial haemorrhage as the President could come from any zone and end all the stealing and tribalism.

    A single legislative body comprising of 75 Senators at the Federal Level and State Representative members who shall constitute both the Executive and Legislative Council at each of the regions.State Governors to become Mayors with Local Government Chairmen as Legislative members at the State Council. Federal and State Ministries shall be pruned down significantly so also for Government agencies. This will automatically free so much funds for development and with an appropriate Revenue allocation formula
    that will engender and encourage healthy competition among the regions and
    allow each to develop at their own pace.

    On Corruption, there should be some form of reparation where all suspected Officials and Politicians are made to refund a quarter of their illegal proceeds to qualify for a “FREEDOM CERTIFICATE” based on a sworn affidavit.

    We need to deal with the power of impunity by the Fulani-Hausa Cabal supported by its Igbo, Yoruba, Ijaw, Middlebelt cohorts while unveiling
    all their linkages in Politics, Military, Judiciary, Federal Civil Service that
    help maintain such acts. Nigeria can only be a great nation when we unleash the creativity of every zone in Nigeria. The HAUSA Gate Mallam in the south had ambitions like GEJ from the womb. How dare we restrict his aspirations?

  • Sadiq Garba

    INEC in washington DC.

    It can’t be more amazing.