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NO staggered polls in 2015 – Jega

By The Citizen
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NATIONAL Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, said Wednesday in Abuja that elections would no longer conducted piecemeal in the country.

According to him. Such piecemeal approach was not only expensive but runs contrary to international best practices on the conduct of elections.

He assured Nigetrian that the commission would build on its experience to ensure that  the 2015 polls would be well organized and credible.

Jega spoke to journalists in his office.
The  INEC chief said that INEC had gained  enough experience that would be of great help to when the 2015 polls come up.He said,  'In fact, some people are suggesting that Nigeria's elections should be staggered, but in all countries, general elections are held in a particular period and that is what we should move towards.

'We went to Ghana, both the parliamentary and presidential elections were held the same day; we went to Sierra-Leone, the Presidential and Municipal Councils elections were held on the same day. It is the same in the United States (U.S), Venezuela and everywhere. So the trend worldwide is to do all elections on the same day.

'In our own case in Nigeria, we do our own in staggered manner in a period of three or four weekends when we do all elections. I think that for now that is better. I have read many suggestions where people are suggesting conducting elections in one geo-political zone and moving to another geo-political zone.

'As far as I am concerned, we should keep it on since that is in line with global practices, we should even be able to conduct all elections in one day.'

Jega also pointed at the successes recorded in the Edo and Ondo governorship polls, noting: 'First of all, we have been able to record substantial improvement in Edo and Ondo states. We have learnt a lot of seasons from April 11 and other governorship elections that we did and we kept on factoring the things we have learnt in preparing for these elections.

'The last election in Ondo State was the best election we have conducted. But people are saying we are deploying all our resources. Really, the people who conducted the election in Edo are our officials in Edo and people who conducted the election in Ondo State are our officials.'

'All we had was a scaled-up supervision, maybe if we do election everywhere in every state, maybe it is the national commissioner and few directors that will be able to go to the states to supervise. But we were able to send about 18 commissioners made up of 10 national commissioners and eight resident commissioners.

'But I can assure you that with the way we are preparing for the elections, the lessons we are learning and the good moves we are making, the 2015 elections will be remarkably much better than the 2011 elections that we have held.'

He also expressed optimism that  elections would hold in                                                                                                                                                                                                             troubled states in the north like Borno and Yobe in 2015.