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PROJECT SWIFT COUNT GIVES INEC PASS MARK

By NBF News
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A coalition of civil society groups, Project Swift Count has thrown its weight behind the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the ongoing voters' registration, which, it said, has considerably improved.

Project 2011 Swift Count which believes in reflecting the diversity in Nigeria brings together four groups namely the Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN); Justice Development and Peace/Caritas Nigeria (JDPC), Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) to promote free, fair, peaceful credible and legitimate elections through non-partisan, independent citizen observation.

Spokesman for the groups Dafe Akpedeye (SAN) yesterday told newsmen that from the reports received from the independent observers deployed to all states and the 774 local government councils, the conduct of the registration exercise had become impressive giving that at the start of the exercise, only 18 per cent of centres were opened but the present status had risen to 93 per cent.

'As at Saturday, January 29, the originally scheduled date to end the exercise, we are encouraged by the reports of our observers on the registration process. The voters' registration exercise started very poorly but has significantly improved. Reports continue to show problems at individual registration centre but systematic information from across the country showed a clear trend of improvement and in general the registration exercise has gone forward. While it has not been perfect, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has recognized the challenges and has acted promptly to address those short falls,' he said.

Based on the reports forwarded by the observers in all the local government areas, Dafe Akpedeye said 93 per cent of registration centres were opened by noon; 86 per cent of the centres had two registration officials present; 82percent had complete DDC systems; 79percent of the centers had the DDC systems functioning throughout the day and only 86percent of centers remain open throughout the day.

Another spokesman Mashood Erubami has pointed that the 2011 Project Swift Count is a welcome relief to Nigerians because since 1952 there has not been credible trouble-free or uncontroversial elections in the nation but the groups believe with the adoption of this initiative, a revolution will ensue come April 2011.

2011 Project Swift Count call on INEC to continue its efforts in ensuring that all centers are opened and properly equipped and with functional DDC machines as well as release daily figures on the number of registrations per state and by Local Government Area to add up to the existing data released to the Senate on January 26 2011.

Also the Coalition Group urged INEC for the Election day to not only publicly commit to releasing aggregate results but also polling station results for all elections and improve its procedures for accrediting observers of the electoral process.