By NBF News
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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has called on INEC to involve all stakeholders in the ongoing process of removing double and multiple registration from the newly-compiled voters' register to ensure transparency.

In a statement issued in Abuja yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said reports reaching the party from the various states, where INEC has dispatched experts to run the AFIS software which the commission says can detect and remove double/multiple registration, are not reassuring at all and could in fact ruin April's general elections.

'In some of the states, these experts are merely trading with the technology. In other words, some of them are ready and willing not to run the software for a fee, meaning such double/multiple registration are left intact once they are settled.

'As a matter of fact, we have it on good authority that some of these experts are merely holed up in hotels in some states, enjoying the huge money that those governments have allocated for ensuring the AFIS system is not used to detect double/multiple registration in their states.

'This can only give undue advantage to the unscrupulous people who carried out double/multiple registration. We call it rigging at source, which will definitely nullify whatever measures INEC may put in place to ensure a free, fair and credible elections in April,' it said.

ACN therefore called for the involvement of party representatives in the process, and certification by local and international observers, saying it cannot be left to the so-called experts alone.

'INEC has no way of verifying whether or not this software has been successfully used to rid the voters' register of double/multiple registration as there is no means of detecting such at the server level, as we earlier pointed out.

The commission will only have to rely on the word of the experts, which is not good enough, as we can now see,' the party said.

It wondered why INEC is not using the same public platform that it used for the registration exercise to carry out the AFIS process, to ensure transparency in an issue that is so critical to the success of the general elections.

ACN said it is not just enough for INEC leadership to be mouthing its readiness to organise free and fair elections in April, it must ensure that all the processes leading to the polls are equally free and fair, and must indeed be one step ahead of those who are hell bent on frustrating the dream of Nigeria holding successful polls.

'As we said in earlier statements, of what use is the integrity of one person when the whole system is ridden with those who are determined and well-placed to sabotage the system?

Has Attahiru Jega's much vaunted integrity made any difference so far in the processes leading to April's polls, when the rump of Iwu's compromised administration has held him by the jugular?' the party queried.

ACN said since INEC did not contract some so-called experts to carry out the voter registration in secret, it cannot also do same for the process of ridding the register of double/multiple registration.

'When we raised an alarm on the fact that the system used for the registration can only detect double/multiple registration if such is carried out at the same machine, some people labelled us as

alarmists, until INEC admitted that fact and disclosed the plan to use the AFIS software to rid the register of double/multiple registration.

'Now, we are crying out again that while the AFIS itself may be alright, the operators have started compromising the system. We will not allow this to happen,' the party said.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
Abuja, 8th Feb2011