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US envoy calls for credible local polls

22 July 2014, 08:36

Abuja - The United States urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct credible elections in 2015.

United States Ambassador, James Entwistle, restated his country's commitment to such polls in Abuja at a workshop jointly organized by the United States Embassy and INEC on “The Role of INEC Press Officers: Enhancing Good Governance Through Media and Grassroots Outreach.”

Derwin Johnson, an independent senior communications consultant from the United States with more than 30 years’ experience, is conducting the hands-on training.

Entwistle reminded INEC Public Affairs Officer they had the vital task of creating an informed electorate that knows what it needs to do to cast the ballot. 

He said their training was important because the officer helped shape public knowledge and perceptions about elections and the debate process and provide crucial information on voters’ rights and the voter registration process. 

“We support an election process that protects the rights of Nigerians to use the ballot box to reflect the views and concerns of their communities—a process that helps produce a stable, democratic government regardless of which candidate wins,” he said.

He said that the United States supported a free, credible, inclusive, and peaceful electoral process in which democratic principles were adhered to by all parties, candidates, and institutions.

“This process encompasses all stages in the run-up to elections, including preparation of voter rolls, running campaigns, conducting the actual election, and handling any problems immediately afterwards,” the Ambassador emphasized.

INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, said the workshop resonated with the commission’s thoughts on ways to reach out and educate a majority of the illiterate rural population on the electoral process, using different strategies and platforms.

He commended the United States government for the training support and said as INEC prepared for the 2015 elections, it was eager to improve the capacity of its staff. 

The training of officers coincided with some parties doubting INEC's capacity to conduct credible governorship elections polls in Osun State in August.

- CAJ News

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