Prof. Attahiru Jega
As preparations for the 2015 general elections gather momentum, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it has produced 40 million voters’ cards that would be distributed to Nigerians.
The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, disclosed this yesterday while hosting members of the Armed Forces Corps Participants, made up of representatives from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Civil Defence, Nigeria Immigration Service and others who paid him a courtesy visit.
Jega said the over N35 million cards would be ready by February, 2013.
The INEC boss also assured that by 2015, all voters will use the permanent voters card to exercise their franchise in line with the decision of the electoral body to continue to improve on the nation’s electoral system from what it used to be.
He confirmed that the commission was aware that some politicians still have issues with elections in Nigeria, insisting that plans are already being put in place to ensure that just as many analysts rated the 2011 elections better that the previous ones, the forthcoming elections would also be better managed than the 2011 episode.
According to Jega, “We are working towards our mandate of improving on the country’s electoral landscape, and even as many analysts rated the 2011 elections high, we believe that there is still room for improvement and that is what we intend to achieve with the 2015 elections because we are of the view that every election should be better than the one preceding it.”
The INEC boss also spoke on the role of the military in election management, saying he believes that there should always be a role for them to play in collaboration with the civil police, which the people are more used to.
He added that without the assistance of the military personnel, the conduct of elections in Nigeria may be more difficult because of the peculiarities of the average Nigerian politician, who in most cases sees election as more than an avenue to render service to the people.
In his remarks, leader of the team, Wing Commander Idris Hassan, said they were at the commission to appreciate the security challenges being faced by INEC in the conduct of elections and also to find ways of continuous collaboration with the electoral body for free and fair elections.