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2011: INEC CHAIRMAN MEETS PARTY LEADERS TOMORROW

By NBF News

For the first time since his appointment as Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega will meet the leaders of the 63 registered political parties in Abuja on Wednesday. However, the meeting is expected to be stormy as the party leaders are warming up to take him to task over certain decisions and arrangements already on ground for the 2011 elections.

Daily Sun gathered yesterday that the party chieftains will above all, seek the commitment and assurance of the INEC Chairman that the 2011 elections will be free and fair.

Part of the demands some of the party chieftains would put before Jega is the overhaul of the INEC staff. They believe the staff of the electoral body hold the aces in the election proper as Jega won't be in all places during the election.

One of the party chairmen told Daily Sun in confidence that because of the roles played by INEC staff in the states, especially the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in 2007 elections generally believed to be flawed, the party bosses may demand the redeployment of some of the RECs to the head office, where they will have no contact with election results.

'We will also demand from him, how he intends to carry out the voters' register in a way the ruling party would not be able to manipulate it in connivance with unscrupulous INEC officials.

'We know that election rigging starts from voters registration exercise and this is why we would want to know the modalities he intends to adopt to ensure the exercise is not hijacked from him,' he explained.

Though INEC was expected to issue a statement on the meeting, it was not ready as at press time. However, sources told Daily Sun that the meeting is to afford the INEC boss the opportunity to relate with the party leaders and intimate them on his programmes towards guaranteeing credible elections which he promised Nigerians.

and seek their cooperation in achieving free and fair elections.