Ugo Aliogo and Kehinde Lawal
As part of its desire to ensure credibility and transparency in the conduct of 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stated its readiness to ensure that there is great improvement in the conduct of the election.
Disclosing this to journalists in Lagos recently at a symposium organised by GoodNews Baptist Church with the theme; â€˜The Christian in Nation Buildingâ€™ an INEC Representative, Mrs. Nnenna Okoronkwo, said the commission would build on its various achievements in the conduct of free, fair and credible election in 2019, while ensuring that there is tremendous improvement in future elections.
She stated that the commission has positioned itself to ensure that the challenges faced in 2015 would not be experienced in 2019, noting that as part of their drive towards a successful election, they are sensitising the voters, about their rights, what is expected of them, and what they should do in the electoral process.
Okoronkwo further noted that they are working as a team in complementary manner to produce a comprehensive report that would guide the commission in elections, urging the citizens to be a part of the solution and continue to succeed together.
She added that commission has not printed any card since the registration started last year April, adding that what they have been doing is to get the registration done first, while the next phase is to start distribution.
According to her, â€œWe are involving the church, Obas, Chiefs, and Elders of community who are in charge in remote areas. The message we are trying to pass across is that all hands must be on deck. This is our problem we must work hard to get it right no matter where we are located.
“I can assure you that by the end of this year the cards will be ready. We are not idle, our Information and Communication Technology (ICT) unit is working 24hours to ensure that necessary things are out in place. The collection of data is still ongoing, we need to sieve it, remove double registration, because many people think the card used in the last election is outdated due to the way the commission has been hammering about registration.
“We are encouraging everybody including women to join and contest for political offices. We have gotten the youths involved to help pass the message faster through social media. We have 2face and Banky W as part of ambassadors. Our jingles are everywhere on radio, television, and fliers. Every local government council has an INEC office no matter how remote as a result the registration is going on simultaneously almost everywhere.â€
Also speaking at the event, a Human Rights Activist, Mr. Chidi Odinkalu, said the event was aimed at getting Christians involved in the electoral process and understand their responsibilities.
He also said faith communities are mobilised to get their people more involved in electoral choice, because it is really important, adding that if politics doesnâ€™t work, the church canâ€™t function.
Odinkalu added that if those basic things donâ€™t function within the faith community whether church or mosque it would not work, therefore he noted that the interaction needs to be protected and promoted by making sure people of faith understand their civic duties, â€œwhich are actually established in the Bible and Quran.â€
He added: “It is very important that as people of faith we take the fate of the country seriously, particularly in a country where everybody professes a faith, whether we are Christians or Muslims or Tradition worshippers, we need to build a country that shows that we not just human beings, but we are people of God.â€