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'No going back on 2015 Presidential Election date'

31 January 2014, 16:22

London - Prof. Attahiru Jega, Chairman of  the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday in London, said there is no going back on the February 14 date fixed for the 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Jega, who spoke on INEC's preparedness ahead of 2015 elections, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in London, said: "When we fix dates for elections, we stick to them and do not just make changes except something bad happens.

“In 2011, we had some challenges with the National Assembly elections and had to move it forward by one week.

"But in 2015 general elections, the dates had been fixed and we do not intend to make changes. We are not prepared as a body to conduct all elections in one day, that is why we are starting with two categories for now,'' he said

He said the Commission looked at best global practices before merging the Presidential and National Assembly elections to hold on the same day, while the Gubernatorial and State Assembly would hold on the same day.

He also said that the continuous voters' registration exercise would hold from June to September this year to enable those who had attained the age of 18 to get registered.

Jega, who had earlier presented a paper at a lecture on " The 2015 Election and  INEC" at the UK Centre for  Strategic and International Studies, listed logistics, attitude of political class and delay in amendment to the legal framework, as some challenges to elections in the country.

He said that the Commission had taken into consideration some lapses from the Anambra elections, adding that, it would not use the Added Voters’ Register (AVR) for the 2015 polls.

Jega, however, said that such names would be transferred to the electronic register before elections to avoid what happened during the Anambra governorship election.

He further said that the Commission had improved on its synergy with security agencies, while stressing the need for police protection for electoral staff especially those at the polling centres.

The INEC boss also stressed the need for more collaboration with development partners, and listed capacity building and technology as areas where assistance would be required.

"Such partnership in capacity building will address the problem of skill gaps.

"We also face a systematic challenge with data gathering, for example, removing names of the deceased from the voter's register, so we need the right technology for this," he added.

-    NAN


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