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INEC is facing challenges with voter registration, Jega admits

The chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has admitted the numerous challenges being faced by the commission in the ongoing voter registration, saying that as the commission was tackling the challenges as they arose, the exercise would be successful.

The INEC chairman, who stated this, on Saturday, in Sokoto while addressing a press conference at the state headquarters of the commission, however, said the short-comings being faced in the conduct of the exercise were not a basis for people to draw conclusions that the exercise was being subverted and would not be successful.

“In spite of the challenges which continue to arise by the day and which we continue to solve, I can assure you that what we are doing at INEC is grade “A” job that should earn us commendation rather than condemnation by Nigerians,” he said.

Professor Jega said this was so in view of how poorly the 2006 registration exercise was conducted whereby inadequate number of machines were deployed for the exercise.

He said at that time, only 13,000 Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines were procured for the exercise out of which only 1,000 machines were used at the start of the exercise.

The INEC chairman also said a look at how Kenya and Bangledash conducted their voter registration  would reveal the good job the INEC was doing as, according to him, due to inadequate machines provided, it took Bangledah nine months to register 80 million voters, while it took Kenya 25 days to register five million people.

He said in the case of the ongoing voter registration in Nigeria, 132,000 DDC machines were procured for the exercise, which he said exceeded the country’s registration centres by 10 per cent to cater for redundances and other other challenges.

He said 107,000 DDC machines were used at the start of the exercise and the remaining machines were soon to be distributed to all the 120,000 registration centres nationwide for the smooth conduct of the exercise.

Professor Jega said the commission was using the extra DDC machines as well as to configure some and use as a complement to existing ones at centres where there were too many registrants.

Professor Jega, however, said that the fact about 2,000 machines were faulty was not enough reason to say that the machines were sub-standard, as, according to him, the machines were among the world best DDC machines and were supplied according to INEC specifications.

He said as at January 25, about 38 million eligible Nigerians had been registered, expressing the belief that the commission would meet the set target of 70 million people if the number of eligible registrants reached the target figure.

He linked most of the challenges being faced by the commission to what he called the Nigerian factor, as according to him, the 240,000 ad-hoc staff engaged for the exercise were trained and that guidelines for the registration were clearly spelt out and made available at the registration centres but still the challenges kept arising.

-Tribune

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Posted by on Jan 30 2011. Filed under Elections 2011, INEC Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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