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By NBF News

A group, Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform [CODER] and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Thursday disagreed on the imperative of a new voters` register, before the conduct of the 2011 elections.

While CODER insisted on the need for a new voters` register to guarantee free, fair and credible electoral process, INEC promised to look into the agitations of Nigerians, but pleaded for understanding.

Speaking at the event organized by CODER with the theme, Agenda for credible election: Roadmap for a new INEC, national coordinator of the group, Ayo Opadokun told the gathering that it was national consensus that INEC must produce a voters` register, before, during and after the elections. He expressed alarm over insinuations that the present electoral body was proposing to use the current voters` register for 2011 elections.

'The national consensus by Nigerians for a free, fair and transparent election is hinged on their demands for a much more credible process in all facets-before, during and after the elections.

Voters' register constitutes one of the major planks of the very foundation upon which other activities in the process of election can be reasonably constructed. CODER wishes to state without any reservations that the current voters' register is incurably defective and inaccurate. Therefore, because of the technological flaws detected in the current register, only a newly compiled digitalized voters` register is acceptable', the group demanded.

Laying emphasis on the importance of digitalized voters` register, Opadokun declared that it would guard against the menace of multiple voting that characterized the 2007 elections.

'Properly compiled digitalized voters` register will enable the INEC, the political parties, the candidates and other stakeholders to be certified with the accuracy of the Personal Identity Number [PIN] of each voter; certainty of the elimination of multiple voting; confirmation of the fact that the number of accredited voters will tally with the number of total votes cast in each polling unit as well as in each constituency“

Reacting to the position of CODER, Professor Lai Olorode, who represented the INEC chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, acknowledged the concerns of Nigerians, but pleaded for understanding, so that the electoral agency would deliver.

While promising that INEC would like to compile a new voters` register, Olorode told participants at the workshop that the agency has its own hindrances.

“INEC knows very well that on the basis of the existing voters` register, we cannot have a credible election. We have taken a look at its credibility status and it is nil, but we have a time-frame within which to operate.

It isn't our choice and we aren't a law making body. There is clear delineation, as to the statutory responsibilities of INEC. There are no quick fixes“.

Olorode, however, promised that the body would deliver on credible elections.