SNG Advocates Public Holidays For Voters Registration

Source: EMMA UCHE -

ABUJA, Sept 13, (THEWILL) - Pro-democracy group; Save Nigeria Group (SNG) today in Abuja, demanded for the declaration of few days of public holidays by the federal government for the forthcoming voters registration.

The holidays according to the political pressure group would enable eligible voters participate in the exercise adding that it will also guarantee mass participation and free and fair election in 2011.

Nonetheless, the group alleged that Public Affairs Sections in some Independent National Electoral Commission state offices were compiling list of elections monitors from Governor’s Offices and called for investigations into the matter.

The SNG leader, Pastor Tunde Bakare who led executives of the group at an interactive session with INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega in Abuja, drew a parallel between Professor Jega and former Supper Eagles’ Coach, Mr. Swede Lars Lagerback, on their appointments, few months to major projects, despite the government’s foreknowledge of the event long before time.

According to Bakare, while Largerback "walked away from Johannesburg with his full pay in his briefcase" having led us to the worst ever crash in the World Cup, Jega has nowhere to go hence, he cannot afford to crash the 2001 elections.

To this end, Bakare urged the INEC team to be steadfast and courageous to do what is right, "knowing fully well that God has chosen you to midwife the future of Nigeria."

The visitors further submitted that Nigeria could make up for the few days "by cancelling many unnecessary holidays that we declare at the drop of the hat.

"If we are convinced that if we have to put up with this sacrifice to have a new beginning, it is really worth it and can actually make up for most of the 50 years that we have wasted already," the SNG leader said.

On the allegations of selection of election monitors, the SNG insisted, "we want you to investigate this and ensure that governors are not producing Non-Governmental Organizations to monitor elections; the result of such a process is predictable if not checked.

"For a change, you must ensure that the presiding officers in all the 120,000 polling units are free agents and not party stalwarts or people beholden to extraneous interests.

"INEC should encourage all security agencies whose personnel are deployed for elections to device such means of checking irresponsible conducts by their men on election duties," Bakare added.

The SNG also recommended the "Modified Open-Secret Ballot System where all registered voters come for accreditation at a designated period throughout the country, and voting thereafter takes place simultaneously throughout the country at a given time only by the accredited voters."

They told Jega that his coming is the last chance to preserve the ballot box in our country and by extension save Nigeria from collapse, adding, "the decisions you take have serious consequences on 150 million people."

In his response however, the INEC, Professor Jega assured that the Commission would not accept fraudulent results from any person and that certain checks and balances have been put in place to check fraud in the system. He also promised looking into their suggestions for necessary action.