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DON'T SHIFT POLLS, US WARNS INEC

By NBF News
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Jega
The United States of America says it will not support plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to push back the presidential elections from January.

The State Department has, therefore, asked INEC and the relevant government agencies to 'work hard and overcome any difficulties that could delay the poll.' Officials said the credibility of the commission and the government would be in doubt if current push to get INEC boss, Attahiru Jega to postpone the election becomes a reality.

'President Goodluck Jonathan assured the international community that elections will hold based on the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. 'We expect him to keep to his words,' administration officials warned. The U.S. and the European Union are providing several assistance programmes to assist INEC conduct the polls and such grants could be affected if the elections are postponed.

The body language of Prof. Jega seemed so have hinted that the presidential poll scheduled for January could be pushed back because of delays in enacting new electoral law. Jega also said confusion about the laws are making it hard for his staff to prepare timetables for voter registration and other processes.

Last month, the Nigerian National Assembly changed the constitution to hold elections in January instead of April. But the Electoral Act of 2010 has now been challenged in court. If the Act is overturned in court, Jega said the electoral commission would return to holding elections in April.