7th April, 2011
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and the Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, today continued their crucial meeting ahead of Saturdayâ€™s National Assembly election.
Reports say they are deliberating on how to tackle the logistical problems encountered last Saturday, the controversies surrounding the contractors who handled the printing of the ballot papers, the issue of the missing logos of some parties in the ballot papers and ensuring that only 300 voters are allowed to vote in each polling unit.
Following the deadlocked meeting between Jega and the RECs yesterday, the meeting resumed today with some RECs who were not able to deliver their reports yesterday expected to do so today.
The reports have to do with the magnitude of exposed sensitive election materials in states where election had started before it was postponed.
Feelers from the meeting revealed that Jega is under pressure to make some changes among the RECs, although an independent confirmation as to those to be affected was yet to be obtained at the time of filing this report.
Some of the RECs in states where voting had started last Saturday were said to have failed to account for the balance of sensitive election materials deployed to their states.
Many Nigerians were disappointed last Saturday when, after they had passed through stress and agony, the National Assembly election was cancelled nationwide when the exercise had passed midway.
The INEC chairman, Prof. Jega who announced the cancellation apologised to Nigerians and attributed his action to logistic problems. Jega said the bulk of the electoral materials could not be circulated to the greater parts of the country. The commission initially rescheduled the NASS election for Monday.
But after a meeting with his Resident Electoral Officers, RECs from the 36 states in Nigeria and political stakeholders, Jega announced a rescheduled time table for all the elections.
The NASS election will now hold on Saturday, the presidential poll, 16 April while the governorship and statesâ€™ House of Assembly poll hold on Tuesday, 26 April.
In a bid to douse to outrage generated by the flop and postponement of the election, President Goodluck Jonathan this morning addressed Nigerians through his wireless blackberry.
The president apologised to all Nigerians who on Saturday demonstrated patriotism and ensure all the odds to cast their votes only to be informed midway that the poll had been cancelled.
Jonathan appeal to Nigerians to sustain their patriotic zeal and come out on Saturday to perform their civic responsibility. He assured that INEC is fully ready to deliver a free and fair election during the rescheduled polls, as its chairman had assured the nation once again.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has denied the speculation that the National Assembly elections will not hold in some states of the federation on Saturday.
There has been mounting anxiety in the past three days concerning the ability of the electoral body to organise successful election on Saturday after it postponed the exercise twice.
Throughout Lagos state, the anxiety was pronouced. Politicians and other Nigerians were calling our correspondents to find out the true situation.
But the Lagos state Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, Kunle Ogunmola, has denied the claim that elections would be postponed.
Ogunmola, who spoke with P.M.NEWS this morning, said the information was misplaced and that the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, was misinterpreted.
â€”Oluokun Ayorinde, Nnamdi Felix / Abuja & Eromosele Ebhomele