The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has rescheduled the second phase of its programme of distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) involving 12 states
The PVCs will now be distributed at the polling unit level in the affected states from Friday, August 15, 2014 to Sunday, August 17, 2014; instead of July 18th to July 20thas was earlier scheduled. At the end of the polling unit level distribution, uncollected PVCs will be taken to respective local government office of the Commission for subsequent distribution.
CVR in the affected states will now be from Wednesday, August 20th, 2014, to Monday, August 25th, 2014; instead of July 23rd to July 27th as was earlier scheduled.
The states involved in the second phase of the programme are Yobe, Bauchi (North East), Jigawa, Sokoto (North West), FCT, Kwara (North Central), Anambra, Ebonyi (South East), Ondo, Oyo (South West) and Delta, Cross River (South South).
With the rescheduling of Phase 2 of the programme, new dates will be announced later for Phase 3 involving Adamawa, Borno, Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Plateau, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Lagos, Ogun, Edo and Rivers states.
Osun State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Ambassador Rufus Akeju, has been requested to proceed on leave of absence – for his own safety and as his contribution to ensuring the credibility of the state governorship election scheduled for August 9, 2014.
He has not been removed or redeployed as widely reported in the media today, Thursday, July 3, 2014.
The REC was requested by the Commission to step aside against the backdrop of intense partisan acrimony over his person. He acceded to the request, knowing the effort being invested by INEC to make the Osun governorship election free, fair and credible. He has not been indicted for any offence, and the appeal by INEC for a stay of execution of the interlocutory order restraining the Commission from recognising him as Osun REC still subsist.
For avoidance of doubt, Ambassador Rufus Akeju remains INEC’s substantive Resident Electoral Commissioner for Osun State. But another Resident Electoral Commissioner will hold fort for the period that Akeju will be away on his leave of absence.
The Commission hereby reaffirms commitment to spare no effort in ensuring that the upcoming Osun State governorship election is successful, and that it meets the best possible standard of credibility. It urges all other stakeholders to join in this commitment.
Despite widespread applause for the recent Ekiti State governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is working hard to make the upcoming Osun State governorship election better, the Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, has said.
He said no effort would be spared to make the Osun election scheduled for August 9, 2014, more qualitative in all aspects than the June 21 Ekiti State election which has been widely acclaimed as the best so far by the Commission. He spoke on Tuesday, July 1, 2014, when the Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China, H. E. Gu Xiaojie, paid a courtesy visit to the Commission.
The Chairman said the present Commission had since 2010 when it came on board been devoted to improving the electoral process in Nigeria, “to make it more participatory and ensure that it is more transparent, that elections are conducted consistent with international best standards and in accordance with our own electoral laws.”
He added: “Since 2011, we have been doing our best to keep on improving the integrity and transparency of the electoral process. We have cleaned up the Register of Voters, and we have been doing our best to address the challenge of logistics of deployment, which has been a major obstacle to our conduct of good elections. I am pleased to say there has been progressive improvement in the series of governorship elections that we have conducted since 2011, culminating in the Ekiti election that we conducted two weeks ago, and which has been generally acknowledged as perhaps the best election that we have conducted so far. On the 9th of August, we have another election in Osun State and we are doing everything possible to ensure that the Osun election is better than Ekiti.”
Professor Jega restated INEC readiness to conduct the 2015 general election in all states of the federation, despite security threats in some areas. He said: “We know that both nationally and internationally, there are concerns about the 2015 general election, partly because of the challenges of security in some states. On our part, we have been doing our best to ensure that we are able to conduct elections in those areas; and we have been working very closely with security agencies to ensure that there is adequate security for the conduct of election in those states.”
The Commission, according to him, has improved its engagement stakeholders – including political parties, security agencies and civil society organisations, among others – in order to deepen the political process. “We have periodic meetings with these stakeholders where we explain what we are doing and we receive suggestions for improvement; and we take these suggestions on board as we continue to improve the process,” he said.
The Chairman also acknowledged the support of the international community for Nigeria’s electoral process. “Our development partners have been very helpful, other friends of Nigeria have generally been helpful; they have encouraged us and shown understanding, and that also has gone a long way to contribute to our continuous improvement of the electoral process.”
The Chinese envoy, in his remarks, said there is much that his country and Nigeria could mutually learn from each other’s electoral experience. He added that Nigeria being an important country in Africa, global attention is on the country as it prepares to conduct the 2015 general election.