Monday, November 10, 2014 6:32 am
The 2015 general election is less than three months away, with palpable indications that the Independent National Electoral Commission may not be ready.
According to a News Agency of Nigeria survey, Nigerians, especially political stakeholders, have expressed mixed reactions to INEC’s preparations, capacity and challenges in organising a free, fair and credible general elections in 2015.
The survey recorded series of mixed feelings on the delay in the passage of the 2010 (further amendment) Electoral Act in particular.
The stakeholders, including political party leaders, lawmakers, legal practitioners, election monitors and civil society organisations, expressed divergent views on the absence of special tribunal to try electoral offenders and enforcement of guidelines.
While many of the stakeholders said the delay by the National Assembly to pass the act would cause setback to INEC efforts, others belived that the electoral body could rely on the existing law in 2015 because the new act might not eventually take effect immediately.
INEC’s proposal and approval by NASS to request for deployment of military personnel for elections received the disapproval of the political class, legal practitioners and some civil society organisations.
A cross section of the stakeholders took critical look at the distribution of the Permanent Voter Cards and the Continuous Voter Registration, concluding that incidents of mix-up and missing cards did not help matters.
Respondents criticised non implementation of reports by election observers, saying they did not contribute positive impact to the conduct of subsequent elections in the country.
A lecturer in the Department of Political Science in Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina, Malam Musa Usman, said the reports of such observers had remained unimplemented.
Usman Said that the reports of the Joint Association of Civil Society Groups that wrote against the 2011 election was never used.
He said that INEC was facing serious challenges in prosecuting the offenders because they were being sponsored by top politicians.
A lawyer, Mr. John Danasabe, said that the nation was passing through difficult time as INEC would not have the capacity to punish offenders.
Mr Richard Tiebiri, a Political Analyst and Assistant Legal Adviser, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Bayelsa, said: “I must tell you, about 30 per cent of eligible Nigerians are yet to receive their voter cards; I urge INEC to find lasting solution to such ugly trend.’’
In Edo, stakeholders expressed the opinion that election tribunals would help reduce rigging and fast-track quick dispensation of justice on electoral malpractices.