jega

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will use about

150,000 polling units for the 2015 elections, its Chairman, Prof

Attahiru Jega, said yesterday.

The polling units will be 30,000 more than the 120,000 used for the

2011 elections.

But Jega, who spoke in Lagos, ruled out holding the elections in one

day because of what he called the ?enormous challenge involved?.

He said INEC was increasing the number of polling units because some

units have as many as 3000 voters, adding : ?This is not ideal. It

should be an average size of 500 voters per unit.?

INEC, he said, would not change the order of elections, noting that

the presidential poll was not the first held in 2011, but the second

after the National Assembly?s.

He said: ?We did elections for three days in 2011, starting with the

presidential, then the National Assembly and governorship/Houses of

Assembly. In 2015, we have reduced the number of election days to two,

beginning with the presidential/National Assembly, followed by the

governorship/Houses of Assembly. We cannot do the elections in a day.

To try it will be inviting more challenges to the system. Doing the

elections in one day will mean deploying five different ballot boxes

and ballot papers. We will also have to give illiterates too five

different ballot papers.

?Logistics will be too enormous. Instead of moving materials for a

particular election, we will be moving materials for all the

elections. It will be cumbersome. It is not impossible to do it in a

day, but it will be challenging. So, we decided to hold it in two

days. We decided to hold the presidential/National Assembly elections

the same day and the governorship/Houses of Assembly the same day. We

tried to be rational and logical in fixing the dates?.

Jega denied that the African Peoples Congress was denied registration

because of the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying the process

through which the associations sought registration was different.

APC, he said, is the product of a merger of some existing parties,

adding that the party complied with the requirements of merger and was

registered.

The African Peoples Congress, Jega said, was not registered because it

did not meet the requirements for the registration of a new party.

Jega said : ?After looking at the documents of the African Peoples

Congress, it was duly informed on why it could not be registered. APC

met all requirements for merger. INEC was guided by the law in

whatever it did. Anybody who feels otherwise can go to court.?

The INEC chief said he harboured no fear over the outcome of the

forthcoming National Conference affecting the 2015 elections, adding:

?I have hopes for 2015; it will be better than 2011. But I have

concerns that some politicians have not attuned their minds to ensure

that the elections are free and fair.?

To ensure credible elections in 2015, he said, INEC has cleaned up the

voter register, pointing out that the integrity of the register is

crucial to the integrity of the elections.

The clean-up, Jega said, became necessary because INEC inherited a

register ?with too many challenges? in 2011, adding that there is need

for continuous voter registration in most states to capture those who

have attained the age of 18.

He said the register was better than that of 2011 ?and compares with

any voter register in the world?.

Eligible voters in all the states, he said, would get their permanent

voter cards (PVCs) before the 2015 elections. The PVCs, he said, were

being distributed in Ekiti and Osun states where governorship

elections will hold on June 21 and August 9.

Jega promised that there would not be a repeat of the Anambra State

governorship election fiasco in Ekiti and Osun, saying the crisis was

caused by the wrong distribution of the customised result sheets in

Idemili North Local Government Area.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has been threatening to reject the

voter?s register which INEC wants to use for the governorship

elections in Ekiti and Osun states and for the 2015 general elections.

The party?s interim national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, told

reporters at Ila-Orangun, his Osun State home town at the weekend,

after collecting his permanent voter?s card that INEC?s records had

been manipulated.

He described his experience in Ila-Orangun as ?very uncomfortable?

because of so many ?irregularities?.

Akande said though he collected his card with ease, the story was

different for many others, who had registered in 2011 but could not

find their names in the register. Many people found their names

appearing twice, according to him.

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