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AS ELECTORAL BODY SAYS, 'NO TIMETABLE UNTIL ELECTORAL ACT IS ENACTED

By NBF News

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has said that the commission was awaiting the enactment of the 2010 Electoral Act to ascertain the time it would issue the timetable and other guidelines for the 2011 general elections.

The Commission in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, said contrary to media reports, the INEC Chairman never said the time- table and guidelines for the 2011 elections would be released before December. The statement read : 'What the Chairman did say was that preparations were ongoing in anticipation of the Electoral Act, following which, details of the time-table would be unfolded by the commission. He added that by the draft law, certification of the voters register should be concluded by the 9th of December, for the elections to hold in January.

'The election timetable/guidelines are statutorily dependent on the provisions of the Electoral Act, which is yet in the legislative mill. The Commission hereby reassures the public that immediately the Electoral Act which stipulates the time frame for the electoral process is signed into law by the President, it will issue the necessary timetable/guidelines for the upcoming elections.'

Meanwhile, in the another development, the Federal Character Commission (FCC) yesterday accused the Independent national Electoral Commission (INEC) of flouting the Federal Character law, citing the existing electoral body's staff nominal roll as being lopsided. Members of the Judiciary Committee of the FCC led by Elder, Lekam Okoi who visited the INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega in his office equally complained that fifteen states including Abia State were shortchanged in the INEC employment exercise in the past and that his commission had been inundated with petitions over it.

According to Okoi; 'the analysed staff nominal roll submitted to this commission by your Commission for the year 2009 shows serious lopsidedness in the staff distribution pattern, contrary to the enunciated Federal Character guidelines and formulae for the distribution of posts in the federal public service.

'I wish to state that the observed lopsidedness in the staff distribution pattern of INEC was as a result of non compliance with the commission's extant circular on procedure for recruitment. It is important to state here that we have received a number of petitions from various interest groups on the marginalization of about 15 states in the staff distribution of INEC.'

The FCC boss then urged INEC to henceforth take into consideration and be guided by the provisions of the Federal Charater law in future recruitment In his response, the INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega said the present management of the electoral commission is a law abiding management and that the issue will be addressed. Jega also revealed that the new INEC recruitment exercise will soon commence, saying 'we are law abiding commission.