INEC alleges plot to discredit INEC leadership

By The Rainbow

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has debunked growing media reports alleging series of financial malpractice against its Chairman Attahiru Jega and other leading officers of the commission.

The reports, according to a statement   by the Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Idowu, are  part of efforts by enemies of democracy to dent the creditability of the commission ahead of 2015 elections or to scupper the entire process.

The statement,  which was emailed to THE RAINBOW on Tuesday,  said the campaign has so far been waged in the form of serial press reports of alleged financial misdeeds, either directly committed or approved by the chairman of the commission.

'Expectedly,' it said, 'the reports were no more than wild allegations, with no iota of proof or evidence to substantiate them. Few of these reports, indeed, crossed the line of journalistic decorum, and are accordingly being processed for libel litigation.

Idowu said  the commission was possession of information that the campaign would not be left at the level of press reports alone but that there were designs to scale up the plot into public displays of hostility towards INEC, such as through rented street rallies against its present leadership, among other measures.

'The whole point of this devious campaign, obviously, is to deflate the integrity of the Commission and cast doubt on its credibility and ability to conduct the 2015 General Election in accordance with international best standards,' the statement added.

'The Commission hereby reassures the public of its commitment to uphold its integrity, fairness and impartiality as an umpire of the electoral process. It will stay focused on its programmes to deliver elections that will be world class in fairness and credibility, come 2015, despite the daunting challenges. But the Commission must here again restate, as it has always done, that it cannot do it alone. It therefore pleads with other stakeholders, especially politicians, to equally commit to this cause.'

Meanwhile, INEC has concluded arrangements to introduce a card reader for voter registration and accreditation, the Cross River State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, disclosed yesterday.

Speaking during the unveiling of INEC's strategic plan for 2012-2016, Igini said 'the commission is poised to conduct free, fair and credible elections in 2015 hence the need for the introduction of the card reader to aid registration and accreditation of voters.'

He noted that lack of internal democracy in political parties, insecurity and numerous election-related litigations had over the years threatened the effective working of the commission.

According to him, 'the exercise is going to be a follow-up to the biometric exercise which the commission did in previous elections and this is to ensure that every voter has a permanent registration card.'

The REC pointed out that the card reader would have a code restricted to one polling unit to help sustain and achieve the principle of one-man one-vote, which the nation has always craved.