by Lekan Olanrewaju
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, asserted that the 2015 elections will be “the best in the history of the country”.
Speaking Thursday in Paris, at a luncheon in his honour by the staff of the Nigerian Embassy, he said that steps were being taken to institutionalise continuous voter registration and consolidate the voter register.
“Between now and 2015, INEC will put many structures in place to ensure that the 2015 elections are not only the best in the history of our country but also the most accepted by our citizens,” he said.
“I assure Nigerians that INEC will achieve a seamless integration of the data of voters and institutionalise continuous voter registration before the 2015 elections. We are now working very hard to clean up that data and consolidate it and to ensure that both the states’ data and the national data are well-integrated.
Our hope is that before the end of this year, we will have the technology sorted out so that people can register continuously. And it will not just be fresh registration; but people who have changed their addresses can apply, following a stipulated procedure wherever they are, to have their registration status updated.”
When asked about diaspora voting, he responded saying it was a reasonable possibility, and between now and 2015, measures could possibly be put in place to make sure it is carried out smoothly.
“It is possible and we are not opposed to it as a commission; because whatever opportunity we can make available, so long as it can be done transparently and without any likely negative consequences.” he said.
“Luckily, 2015 is three years or so down the line, we will do our best as a commission. We have not yet discussed the matter and decided how to go about it, but I’m sure we will have to confront it soon,”
Jega is in Paris ahead of the French presidential elections on Sunday, and is scheduled to meet with the Head of France’s Elections Committee and Political Studies for a briefing on the French electoral system. He is in the country with a delegation made up of members such as Dr. Nuhu Yakubu, Mrs. Thelma Iremiren , Dame Gladys Nwafor , Prof. Mohammed Kuna, Mr. Kayode Idowu and Mrs. Blessing Obidiegwu.