INEC timetable not designed to favour anybody – Jega

Zainab Suleiman Okino

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has said that the 2015 election timetable was not designed to favour anybody or any political party, contrary to the perception in some circle to that effect. The sequence of the election he said is also not altered, just as doing all elections in one day, with the current level of the country’s development, could be problematic.

He made the assertion yesterday during a parley with editors and news directors at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Jega was reacting to allegations, that the 2014 election timetable, which put the presidential election first before others, will favour the ruling party, because of band wagon effect. The chairman said the complaint is borne out of psychological or innate fear of losing election and cannot be justified on the basis of the timetable.
He said: “In 2011, when we conducted the elections in three days, nobody complained about ‘sequence’. The presidential election came up first, Jonathan won, but the party he represented, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did not win in some states in subsequent elections.”

He added that the Commission merely merged the last two elections of 2011 to be conducted in one day, making it a total of two days in 2015 instead of the three days of 2011.
He, however, expressed optimism that someday election would be done in one day in Nigeria, but definitely not with the current logistical problems and infrastructural challenge.
He made allusions to Kenya and Ghana, two African countries that conducted elections in one day in recent time, adding that, those two have lesser population and landmass.
“The population of Nigeria is huge. Ghana in particular has better infrastructure”. He said even Kenya that did their election in one day is regretting, an information he said he got from Kenya’s electoral umpire. “Let us not bite more than we can chew; let us improve on incremental basis.”

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