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Speak out INEC

THE Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is about to make the biggest mistake about the 2010 election in Anambra State through its silence in various areas.

INEC deserves the support of all to get out of the mire of badly organised elections, but it must be seen seeking that help. Does INEC have the funds it needs for the election, or would it rather complain after the harm has been done?

During the 2007 elections, INEC Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu made this explanation about challenges INEC had with funding. “There was a time we thought we had money and went ahead to issue a cheque of N20 billion for the purchase of electoral materials.

But we were later told that the CBN had been asked to embargo it until we provided certain explanations. Nobody brought that to our attention until the cheque bounced,” he declared.  Have other government agencies working with INEC changed their attitude since this incident?

We agree due process is an integral part of government’s financial procedures, but it must also have a way of communicating back to those it superintends their activities where there were issues in transactions involving them. INEC should have known that its contract for electoral materials was not cleared.

There have been no disclosures so far about the real challenges that INEC faces, from staff whose loyalty may lie elsewhere, to the greed of politicians who want to win, no matter the means. Professor Iwu in 2007 promised to make “many disclosures after the poll on how INEC was being treated.” He did, and he is still making those disclosures, but who is listening?

INEC and its boss should have a concern for appropriate timing in its operations, even interaction with the public.

Professor Iwu should grab the opportunities that the National Assembly and the public court offer to get the resources INEC needs for the election in Anambra State which would again stretch INEC. The gubernatorial run-off in Ekiti State exposed how unready INEC was for elections. Yet Ekiti was a few wards in some local government areas. Anambra’s 21 local government areas would task INEC.

We hope he is not laying the foundation for excuses of anticipated shortcomings of INEC during the Anambra election. Whatever he has to complain about regarding preparations for the election must be done now so that they could be sorted out. Nigerians should not bear the extra burden of another election that is poorly organised. It is INEC’s duty to spare them the agony.

An area that should engage INEC’s attention immediately is voter education. When would INEC start sensitising people about the updating of the voters’ register? How does it intend to make its impartiality at the election apparent?

All the preachments about successful elections cannot stand without funds, re-orientation of the individuals and organisations entrusted with this task. If Professor Iwu shouts, he can get help.
His silence is a dangerous signal for the election.


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