5th October, 2010
To check cases of electoral malpractice, INEC on Monday said there would be no pollingÂ booths in the palaces of traditional rulers during the 2011 elections.
INEC Resident Commissioner in Plateau Habu Zarma stated this during a consultativeÂ interactive meeting with registered political parties from Kogi, Nasarawa and PlateauÂ States.
â€œBallot boxes will not be placed at the palaces during the 2011 elections; in fact, anyÂ voting within the palace will be termed invalid.
â€œIt is incumbent upon us as stakeholders to evolve ways of overcoming obstaclesÂ confronting the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in 2011.
â€œSmaller countries have realised the dream of credible elections; our own nation cannotÂ afford to be an exception,â€ he said.
Zarma decried the lack of internal party democracy, political violence, monetisation ofÂ votes, gender disparity, corruption and manipulation of ethnicity and religion duringÂ elections.
The commissioner restated the determination of INEC to remain an unbiased umpire in theÂ electoral process, saying that it was â€œvery necessaryâ€ to sanitise the electoral processÂ and achieve a stable democracy.
In his speech, Prof. Attahiru Jega, the INEC Chairman, who was represented by DrÂ Abdulkadir Oniyangi, a National Electoral Commissioner, said that the Commission hadÂ completed the processes for the procurement of equipment for voter registration.
Jega added that INEC had also commenced the recruitment of no fewer than 360,000 ad hocÂ staff required for the exercise.
â€œINEC has fully developed new registration software that is completely owned by theÂ Commission. The new software is currently being rigorously tested.
â€œThe significance of the new software is that it will tackle many of the lingeringÂ challenges that stained the credibility of past votersâ€™ registers,â€ he said.
The Chairman reiterated his determination to undertake internal reforms and overhaul theÂ Commissionâ€™s operations.