2011: LETTER TO INEC 2

Written by James Okere

2011: LETTER TO INEC 2; On the basis of INEC outlined plans and programmes above, I commend INEC highly. It is therefore on the need to support INEC plans to conduct a FREE, FAIR and CREDIBLE elections that I write to INEC.

ELECTORAL AWARENESS/SENSITIZATION

INEC should please embark on massive campaign to create awareness on her lovely plans to conduct a free, fair and credible election. From INEC permanent staff, ad-hoc staff, political parties, politicians, electorates, party agents, security groups, civil society groups etc. INEC should do her best to embark on this awareness project.

TRAINING OF INEC PERMANENT AND AD-HOC STAFF

INEC has a big task of training her staff (permanent and ad-hoc staff) who will be involved in the election. The training will cover; before, during and after the elections. These ad-hoc staff include; Returning Officers at all the levels, Presiding Officers, Polling Clerks etc. In addition, the details of their assignments should be made known to them, including their relationship with voters, party agents, politicians, political parties, community leaders, security officers etc.

ROLE AND TRAINING OF SECURITY OFFICERS

INEC should detail the roles of security officers that would be involved in the elections, and these roles made public to enable all concerned person to become aware. In addition, these security officials should be trained to inculcate in them electoral value and their relationship with INEC, political parties, politicians, electorates, party agents etc.

PUBLIC KNOWLEDGE OF CIVIL SOCIETY GROUPS

The plan by INEC to use Civil Society Groups to observe the election is highly welcomed. But INEC should establish the genuineness of these bodies as to remove them from being hijacked by political parties and politicians. In addition, the Civil Society groups should be made known to political parties and their relationship with INEC, political parties, voters, party agent, and security personnel should be defined.

USE OF CIVIL SERVANTS AS AD-HOC STAFF

The plan by INEC to use Civil Servants as part of the ad-hoc staff is okay. But the authenticity of such staff must be established, and grade of civil servant to be used established so that it will not be all comers affair.

PUBLICATION OF LIST OF PARTY AGENTS

The list of party agents submitted to INEC by political parties in line with the electoral Act, 2010 should be made public, and such list submitted to political parties participating in the election as to forestall delisting of would be party agents by forces beyond our control.

ELECTION LOGISTICS (ESPECIALLY VEHICLES)

Election logistics including vehicle for use must be planned for and provided accordingly. Their mode of operation well defined including carrying of electoral materials before and after election to appropriate designated centres. INEC should please ensure that their vehicles (owned or hired) are used for these electoral purposes. In addition, adequate entertainment should be provided by INEC for their staff during Election Day in other to remove INEC staff from inducements coming from political parties, politicians, community leaders etc.

AUDIT OF POLLING BOOTHS

I support the call by the National Publicity Secretary of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Alhaji Lai Mohammed advising INEC to embark on physical audit of polling booths to confirm the authenticity of the existence of 120,000 polling booths. (see Daily Sun Newspaper Monday November 22, 2010 p.9). There is need to buy this novel idea muted by ACN.

SUMMARY

Proper conduct of FREE, FAIR and CREDIBLE election attested to by Nigerian and non-Nigerians is a sure way of positively positioning our country for the much talked about 20:2020 (Nigeria being one of the 20 industrialized nations of the world by year 2020). We can’t afford to fail this time around in our year 2011 election.

I join other Nigerians to pray for the success of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), in its task to conduct a FREE, FAIR and CREDIBLE election in year 2011.

 NOTE: The above piece published in December 2010.

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