71% of Nigerians optimistic of free, fair polls in 2015 – Survey

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BY CHRIS OCHAYI

ABUJA — Notwithstanding the fears being expressed concerning the fate of 2015 general elections, there are indications that over 71 per cent of Nigerians are optimistic that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, will conduct free and fair polls.

An authentic independent opinion poll firm, the NOIpoll Limited, in its latest result revealed that this group of Nigerians who thought that INEC would conduct a free and fair election pinned their optimism on “God will help them, INEC”

The survey indicated: “71 percent of Nigerians think that INEC will conduct a free and fair election come 2015 with the main reasons for their optimism as “God will help them, INEC,” 22 per cent, and “credibility in past elections” 21 per cent.

Nigerians had also submitted that “INEC should do the right thing without bias” 26 per cent.

“Adequate security should be put in place” 22 per cent and “INEC should be absolutely independent” 14 per cent in order to ensure a free and fair election in 2015.

“As Nigerians prepare for the 2015 election, the active participation of all stakeholders in the process to ensure a free and fair election remains one of the most critical issues in the entire election process.

In line with this, some INEC, electoral commissioners had assured Nigerians that necessary mechanisms were being put in place.

“Furthermore, with the recent release of the elections’ timetable, Professor Attahiru Jega, pointed out that INEC is mindful of its own operational effectiveness and best practices towards a free and fair election,” the poll adjudged.

“Still in the bid to ensure a free and fair election, during the opening ceremony for the third session of the Nigeria/US Bi-National Commission, BNC, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield suggested that an election offences tribunal be established.

“Against this background, NOIPolls conducted its recent Election poll to seek the views of Nigerians regarding the 2015 general elections. This is the second in the series of the NOIPolls Countdown to 2015 Elections Polls for the year 2014.  The polls are done bi-monthly.

“Analysis based on geo-political zones reveals that the South-East zone 81 percent has the highest proportion of Nigerians who think INEC will conduct a free and fair election in 2015. This is followed by the North-East zone with 74 percent. In addition, more female than male respondents 77 percent versus 66 percent think INEC will conduct a free and fair election.

“Assessing the responses from the geo-political zones standpoint revealed that the North-West zone has the highest proportion of respondents 44 percent who think “Corruption is prevalent within INEC” while North-East zone 46 percent accounts for the highest proportion of respondents that say “Votes don’t count.

“In addition, more males than females 35 percent compared to 26 percent think “Corruption is prevalent within the INEC” while more females than males 37 percent compared to 17 percent claim “Votes don’t count.

“A breakdown based on geo-political zones indicates that the North-West  zone  37 percent  has the largest percentage of respondents who say “INEC should do the right thing without bias” while the  South-South zone  25 percent accounts for the highest proportion of respondents who suggest “Adequate security should be put in place.

“In addition, the  South-East  zone  21 percent has the highest proportion of respondents that say “INEC should be absolutely independent.”

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