Professor Attahiru Jega
Admits flaws in Anambra, Delta central elections
By Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
Following the flaws that characterised November 16 governorship election in Anambra State, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, Wednesday allayed the people's fear on the capability of the commission to conduct a hitch-free 2015 general election.
Jega, who spoke at a dialogue with the Nigeria Civil Society Election Situation Room, in Abuja yesterday, admitted that there were flaws in the Delta Central senatorial by-election held on October 16 and the November 16 Anambra State governorship election.
Jega said what transpired during the Delta Central senatorial and the Anambra elections were reversal of some of the gains already recorded in the 2011 general elections.
He said: "Anambra State election is an election we fully prepared for. We worked more than we had ever done in any state. Regrettably however, what we saw was evidence of the reversal in Delta and Anambra States. We are disappointed with the reversals.
"But we are not leaving any stone un turned at unravelling what actually transpired.
"We will investigate Anambra State election thoroughly and meticulously. We will do a thorough enquiry. We cannot afford to lose hope. We will do better in the future."
He said what the Electoral Officer in Idemili did was beyond lack of competence, which was why the commission handed him over to the police.
Jega said it was not impossible to rule out connivance between INEC officials and the political parties.
Nevertheless, he said every allegations of improper conduct would be investigated.
He challenged political parties and individuals calling for outright cancellation of the election to come forward and substantiate their allegations.
The electoral boss who insisted that the supplementary elections scheduled for Saturday would go on as planned, said the commission had reviewed the situation in Anambra and the relevant laws and had come to a conclusion that the supplementary elections must go on.
Jega thanked Nigerians for their support and assured them the commission would not betray the confident reposed on it by the people.
He pointed out that even though a staff of the commission might have been compromised, he said that the integrity of the commission remained intact.
"In Anambra, there is a clear evidence of operational lapses, we can explain these but they are inexcusable. We have to do a thorough investigation and identify the people culpable. We will take administrative steps to punish them and also hand over the suspects to the police.
He admitted that there are challenges but added that the commission was poised to surmount the challenges.
Before the 2015 general election, Jega said a continuous voters’ registration would take place in all states to ensure that those who had attained the voting age were not deprived of their rights.
He also gave assurance that Ekiti and Osun governorship elections would be better organised.