Google+ Followers

Monday, 5 August 2013

Jega: why INEC registered APC


Jega:  why INEC registered APC
INEC Chairman Jega

by: Yusuf Alli

•Party can ‘contest November governorship poll in Anambra’
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, spoke yesterday on the registration of the All Progressives Congress (APC)—the platform on which the progressives will fight the 2015 election.
He said APC was registered as a merger party because it met all the requirements.
He stressed that the registration was “done right under the law”, adding that the commission would appeal against a court judgment which nullified its decision to de-register Fresh Party and others.
Jega was answering questions at a stakeholders’ conference with media professionals and civil society organisations on Voter Register Optimisation and plans for continuous voter registration.
He said it was not yet time to release the 2015 general elections timetable.
Jega said: “With regards to our registration of APC and what informed what we have done, it is clear to us that the parties that intend to merge have met all the legal requirements of merger and we have done all the internal processes or processing application for merger and we have taken the decision to register them and we believe we are right to do so under the law.
“I cannot comment on other issues because those issues are subject to litigation but we are satisfied that what we have done is right under the law and that is why we did it.”
Replying a question, the INEC chairman said APC could participate in the November governorship poll in Anambra State.
“As to whether the merged party will contest election in Anambra State, given the fact that the registration should be done before the election, again, you have forced our leaders to quickly look at the law a party must be registered 90 days before any election and I can give you the section so you can look it up.
“If you look at the Electoral Act, Section 84(6), it is 90 days before any election and I think they have been registered 90 days before the Anambra election.”
On the nullification of deregistration of parties by a court, Jega said INEC had asked its legal team to file an appeal against the judgment of a Federal High Court which reversed the deregistration of Fresh Party.
He said: “With regards to party registration, obviously the laws are very clear as to under what condition we can register parties and under what conditions we can deregister political parties and we have been doing our best to register as well as to deregister.
“I think you are talking about the court judgment about a week ago or so. But people are forgetting that we had three other court judgments that had thrown away those who have gone to contest our deregistration of political parties.
“So, this is the first judgment which seems to now favour a deregistered party. So, really as far as we are concerned, it’s a case that we have to appeal and, in fact, our lawyers are processing the appeal.
“So, I think it is misunderstanding and misrepresentation to say that the court has overturned our deregistration of parties because out of four judgments, three are in favour of INEC. So, really the jury is still out on this deregistration and we should not misunderstand the import of that judgment.
On the timetable for 2015 elections, the INEC chairman said:
“We will issue a timetable. There is a legal time frame in which we have to issue a timetable for general elections and we are still within that time and it is too early to issue the 2015 timetable now.
“So, we will stick to the requirement of the law and issue the timetable when the law says we should issue it.”
He, however, explained that a lot had been done to put INEC in shape for a free and fair poll in 2015.
Jega said: “Specifically, we have undertaken some programmes to reposition INEC for greater efficiency in conducting free, fair and credible elections. Since the 2011 General Election, we have done the following, among others:
“We have internally reviewed the conduct of the elections through retreats involving Electoral Officers, RECs and Admin Secretaries, and National Commissioners. Through this process, we have learnt from the field officers our strengths and weaknesses in the conduct of elections and we have been introducing appropriate measures to improve the process.”
“We commissioned an independent study of the 2011 voter registration and elections by a group of distinguished and respected academics and CSO activists, and the report they produced provided us additional information and recommendations on how to keep on improving the electoral process.
“We commissioned a reputable management-consulting firm, which studied INEC and provided us with useful input for the restructuring and reorganisation of the Commission, to make it a more efficient and effective election management body.
“The Commission has implemented the new structure through a reorganisation that has eliminated job overlaps and makes the organisation lighter and more efficient.
“We embarked on a broadly consultative strategic planning process, which has now yielded a Strategic Plan and Strategic Programme of Action that the Commission has adopted and which serves as a framework for our preparations and operations as an EMB for the next five years.
“We have held a series of consultative meetings with different stakeholder groups, including CSOs and the Media, to share information and exchange ideas on how to continue to improve upon the electoral process as we move towards the 2015 general elections.
“We have commenced our programme of action towards delimiting constituencies, which we shall strive to do before the 20 15 elections.
“As we count down to the next cycle of General Election in 2015, we in INEC are increasingly fine-tuning our work processes to ensure that we deliver elections that are much more free, fairer and more credible than we had in 2011.
“We have, for instance, cleaned out the National Register of Voters and fully consolidated the data.
“We are taking delivery of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), which we have promised to begin issuing to registered voters before the end of the year. Indeed, the process that led up to producing these PVCs ensured the elimination of all multiple registrations and sanitisation of the Voter Register, which is an essential condition for the conduct of credible elections as we all desire.
“ In furtherance of register optimisation, we are rolling out the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise nationwide before the end of this year (2013).
“But ensuring credible elections, as I have always observed, is not a one-way street. In other words, it is not the task of INEC alone; rather, it is a multi-stakeholder endeavour that requires the collaboration and diligent commitment of other role players.
“In particular, the stakeholder groups represented here at this forum have a cardinal role to play in civic enlightenment, voter education and the moulding of public perception of the electoral process.”
TheNation

No comments:

Post a Comment