Buhari’s Speech: Implementation More Important Than What Was Said, Says Jega

 

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega wants President Muhammadu Buhari’s 60th Independence speech to go beyond talk to implementation.

The former INEC boss spoke on Thursday during a special edition of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary.

“What is clear is that the speech carries quite a lot of the right things to be said on a day like this. But for me, the critical thing is not what is said but how it is followed up,” Professor Jega noted.

“I think it is important to reflect on the issue of what government needs to do to ensure that when you call upon Nigerians to take pride in Nigeria, there are certain things that encourage and help them to be able to do that.”

While admitting that Nigeria has come a long way in the past six decades, the former lecturer called for caution, insisting that the 60th Independence anniversary should serve as a time for reflection.

‘A Long Way’

“And also, there is no doubt that Nigeria has come a long way in the last 60 years but is also important not to be in a celebratory mood but more to use this period as a period of reflection and contemplation as to what we really want Nigeria to be in the next 60 years,” Jega explained.

Jega said although the country is facing several challenges, Buhari’s Independence speech should trigger those in governance to act upon what was said to inspire confidence in the citizens.

“The key challenge for the government and governance is how to act upon all those things that have been said in order to give people the confidence that really, we are prepared to make the journey of the next 60 years as a united country that we can all take pride in and we can all be happy that our fundamental needs and aspirations would be addressed and satisfied through the process of governance,” the former INEC boss, added.

 

 

INEC Cautions Electoral Commissioners Ahead Of Elections

inecThe Acting Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mrs Amina Zakari, has asked all Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to work cautiously, not minding the challenges the commission is experiencing at the election petition tribunals.

The INEC boss made this call at a second meeting with RECs, to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 general elections and to develop strategies for future elections.

She noted that in spite of the various cases at the tribunals, INEC would take the security of its materials very seriously ahead of the upcoming Kogi and Bayelsa elections in November and December.

She added that all electoral commissioners, directors and staff must strive to uphold the integrity of the commission.

Mrs Amina Zakari was appointed as the Chairman of INEC, following former Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega’s conclusion of term of office.

Professor Attahiru Jega’s tenure as the Chairman of INEC came to an end on Tuesday, June 30.

INEC Insists On Card Reader For Governorship Polls

Card readerThe Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has insisted that it will maintain the use of card readers for the verification of voters during Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections.

INEC disclosed this in a statement by the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Augusta Ogakwu, on Monday.

The statement read: “The provision of the guidelines for the conduct of the 2015 general election which outlined what is to be done if a card reader fails and cannot be replaced by the commission within the specified time frame (i.e. reschedule the election to the next day) will be enforced.

“The relaxation of the guidelines on March 28 was only with respect to the Presidential and National Assembly election held on that date.

“The Commission has reviewed the operation of the card reader in the 28th March elections, identified the challenges and has taken adequate measure to address them.”

Accreditation of voters during the March 28 election drew mixed reactions as the incumbent President and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and the First Lady could not be accredited with the card reader. At his home town, Otuoke in Bayelsa State, President Jonathan’s card and that of his wife, Patience could not pass the process.

Channels Television correspondent, Chukwuma Onuekwusi reported that several card readers were tried but his card and that of his wife could not be read by three different card readers.

While President Jonathan urged all Nigerians to be patient with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), politicians in different parts of the country had since urged INEC to review the use of the card reader, citing challenges faced during the presidential and National Assembly elections.

Anambra State governor, Willie Obiano, called the overall performance of the card reader device in the state ‘a disaster’, noting that his fingerprints could not be captured despite several attempts.

“Well, it was in my opinion a disaster at the early stages,” Obiano said during an interview on Channels Television’s special election programme, ‘Nigeria 2015’.

He explained that as at 10:30 on Saturday morning, INEC officials were absent at his polling unit,  while the queue was more than a quarter of a mile long.

According to the governor, INEC officials arrived at noon following a call to the REC. Even after their arrival, the card reader failed to work.

“But before then, substantially everywhere, the comment I was getting was that the card reader wasn’t working. As a matter of fact, I received so many calls that I got so worried,” he said.

The governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, had also urged the commission to make another pronouncement on the use of the card reader for the governorship and National Assembly elections.

Jega On Card Reader Flop

However, there had been an indication that the faith of INEC in the card reader technology remained strong despite the challenges faced on election day.

INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, admitted that there were indeed challenges in the deployment of the card readers but the challenges were not significant enough to affect the overall success of the elections.

In an interview with Channels Television about 24 hours after the presidential elections, he said: “From our general assessment, out of the 150,000 card readers which we have deployed, only about 450 were affected.

“But because we just wanted to ensure that Nigerians who have been patient in this process have an opportunity to exercise their rights and because the numbers are relatively insignificant, that’s why we thought it was necessary to do an addendum to the guidelines and allow those people to be able to vote once they can be physically authenticated and verified.”

 

INEC Promises Improvement In April 11 Polls

JegaAhead of the April 11 Governorship and House of Assembly elections, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has promised to address the hiccups experienced during the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Professor Jega, who made the promise at a meeting with the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on INEC in Abuja, explained that the commission was working hard to deliver an election that would be better than the just-concluded elections.

The INEC boss admitted the flop in the deployment of the card readers saying, about 450 of the 150,000 card readers were faulty.

The INEC boss also commended Nigerians for their role in ensuring a peaceful conduct of the election, hoping that they would exhibit greater maturity and patience during and after the April 11 elections.

Card Reader Flop: Jega Says Number Insignificant

JegaThe Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, has expressed gratitude to Nigerians for their peaceful conduct during the presidential elections on Saturday, March 28.

The INEC boss, in an interview with Channels Television on Saturday night, expressed gratitude to the Almighty for how peaceful the process has been and for the large turnout of Nigerians who showed patience in the face of frustrations.

“Of course, man proposes and God disposes. We thought that this would be near perfect but regrettably there have been challenges,” he said.

“There were still cases of late distribution of materials and late arrivals in polling units but in spite of this we think its been very good also.

“We cannot but thank Nigerians for the passion they have shown, and the commitment to be able to vote in this general elections.”

Professor Jega was particularly happy about the exercise in the north-east region of the country where there had been fears of insecurity.

Election Postponement

He also explained that elections which failed to hold on Saturday will only be conducted in 13 federal constituencies and that will be on April 11.

He explained that the polls would have to be moved to that date as a result of shortage of electoral materials.

Prof. Jega said that the decision was agreed to by all relevant stakeholders, who unanimously asked for all 11 federal constituencies in Jigawa State be moved to April 11 even though only seven federal constituencies were affected.

The INEC boss, however, looked on the bright side when he compared the situation with what obtained in 2011.

“Federal constituencies alone we rescheduled over 60 and then we also rescheduled some senatorial because of shortages of materials,” he recalled.

Nevertheless, he expressed regret over the challenges faced. He stated that lessons have been learnt, which would be factored into preparations for the governorship and State Assembly elections holding on April 11.

Card Reader Flop

Professor Jega admitted that there were indeed challenges in the deployment of the card readers but the challenges were not significant enough to affect the overall success of the elections.

“From our general assessment, out of the 150,000 card readers which we have deployed, only about 450 were affected.

“But because we just wanted to ensure that Nigerians who have been patient in this process have an opportunity to exercise their rights and because the numbers are relatively insignificant, that’s why we thought it was necessary to do an addendum to the guidelines and allow those people to be able to vote once they can be physically authenticated and verified.

“Thank God it went well. The only challenge is that it meant the voting has gone on in some places into late evening and early night.”

He expressed confidence in the assurance given by security agencies that all arrangements had been made to secure all the polling units and ensure the successful completion of voting as well as a successful collation of the results.