INEC to seek extension of Election Date …Insist May 29 Handover remains
The Independent National Electoral Commission has said it would require more time to carry out the voters registration exercise and conduct the 2011 general elections.
The electoral agency in a communiqué said while it desire for more time would not jeopardize the May 29, 2011 hand over date, the decision was reached to be able to conduct a free and fair elections
INEC in the communiqué signed by Secretary of the Commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Kaugama said it would liaise with all stakeholders to explore the legal possibility of extending the timeline for the compilation of the Voters Register and the elections.
The full text of the two-page communiqué reads:
“In furtherance of its objective of ensuring free, fair and credible elections, recognizing the need to subject its internal structures, processes and plans to close scrutiny; desirous of carrying along all its personnel in the discharge of the onerous responsibilities and conscious of its responsibilities and obligations as an election management body, the Independent National Electoral Commission, with the support of the International Foundation for Election Systems organized a 2 day retreat for National Commissioners and Resident Electoral Commissioners at the Amber Hotel, Tinapa, Calabar between 16th and 19th of September, 2010.
“Having extensively and critically deliberated on the internal processes and external dimensions affecting the whole electoral process; and in particular the forthcoming Voters Registrations exercise and the general elections in 2011, the commission observes as follows:
(i) That the task of conducting free, fair and credible elections in 2011 is a collective task for all Nigerians and not the commission alone. Therefore the commission reiterates its commitment to free and fair conduct of elections and call on all stakeholders to join in the task of achieving this objective.
(ii) That there is the need to severely punish electoral offenders to serve as a deterrent to others. Therefore, INEC calls on the National Assembly to enact a law for the establishment of an Electoral Offences Tribunal.
(iii) Having examined the commission's detailed Action Plan for the Voters Registration and elections, the Retreat noted that the timeline for the implementation of this plan is very tight. Consequently, the commission shall endeavor to engage all the relevant stakeholders with a view to exploring all legal avenues for the extension of time to enable the commission to deliver on the aspirations of Nigerians for a credible voters register and free, fair and credible elections. Should this happen, May 29, 2011 inauguration date must remain sacrosanct.
(iv) Political Parties should strictly adhere to provisions of the electoral Act 2010 and their constitution in the conduct of their conventions, congresses and primaries. The commission shall ensure strict compliance to such provisions.
(v) The commission has developed an in-house soft ware, which will be vigorously field-tested before the commencement of the registration exercise.
(vi) The commission calls upon all stakeholders to ensure that incidences of under aged registration and other abnormalities are detected and prevented during the registration and display of voters register.
(vii) The commission expresses its profound appreciation to all Nigerians for their expression of goodwill, support and cooperation which has inspired it to continue to give its best to the success of the upcoming voters registration and elections.