23rd January, 2015
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Friday said the commission had taken delivery of additional 4.1 million Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) for distribution to registered voters.
Jega disclosed this while responding to questions at the launch of “Mitigation of Violence in Election’’ organised by the International Foundation for Election System (IFES) in Abuja.
“Yesterday alone we received additional 4.1 million PVCs which we have now sent to the field for distribution,“ he said.
He said that the delivery of the additional PVCs gave the commission the confidence that all cards would be made available for collection before the end of January.
He assured that the commission was doing everything possible to ensure that all cards were produced and distributed before the February elections.
“So far, we have made available for collection over 50 million of these cards out of about 68 million cards that have been produced.
“Over 30 million have been collected but there are still millions that are out there for people to collect and every day we are getting additional millions of cards to distribute,’’ he said.
The chairman stressed that INEC was committed to the implementation of the election time-table it released in January, 2014, adding that the commission was aware of the importance of a secured and violence-free elections.
“We are learning from ugly experience of 2011 and preparing much better than we did four years ago,’’ he said.
He stressed that the launch of mitigation of violence in election by IFES would complement INEC’s efforts in ensuring credible and violence-free elections in the country.
The Country Director of IFES, Mr Shalva Kipshidze, said given the history of electoral violence, it was important to make additional efforts to prevent violence during the February elections.
Kipshidze said that the mitigation project was aimed at reducing the potential for outbreak of violence before, during and after the elections.
“The overall objective of this urgent support is to strengthen the architecture for peaceful discussion to strengthen dialogue, negotiation, mediation and mitigation of issues that are likely to lead to electoral violence,’’ he said.
European Union First Secretary, Mr Alan Munday, said that the union was committing one million Euros to the seven-month programme which began in December, 2014.
Munday urged politicians to shun hate-speeches and accept credible elections results or approach the courts when dissatisfied with elections results.
“We in EU believe that Nigeria can achieve violence-free elections, if political leaders decide that it is what they want,“ Munday said.
Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, President of Court of Appeal, urged would-be losers and winners of the February elections to accept the results in good faith.
“Any aggrieved party should go to court where their grievances can be properly addressed rather than resort to violence which may eventually turn the country into chaotic situations,’’ he said.