OPEN LETTER TO INEC CHAIRMAN, PROF. ATTAHIRU JEGA

By Post Nigeria March 17, 2015 14:11

OPEN LETTER TO INEC CHAIRMAN, PROF. ATTAHIRU JEGA

Mr. Jega,

I commend your good work in ensuring a free and fair election in 2011, regardless of the violence that ensued shortly after the polling results were announced. This was no fault of yours, of course.

I also applaud you for taking another step further to ensure that there are no reoccurrence this time around, with the introduction of the PVCs and card readers. It was well thought out though poorly executed.

It is barely 10 days to the 2015, general elections, and there are still several grievances and issues that I would enjoin you to look into.

I am no prophet of doom but the rate at which things are going, this election may not go smoothly as planned and that would be a fault of yours. My reasons are thus mentioned below,

  • 10 days to the election I and my family are yet to collect our PVCs, reasons because INEC says our PVCs are yet to be printed in China.
  • I am a 69 year old man with 3 grown children. We migrated from Kaduna to Abuja and applied for a PVC transfer – of what use is PVC made specifically for Kaduna, in Abuja? (Anyway that is a point I would get to shortly) I have had to visit the INEC office several times and it has proven abortive. The infuriating part of all of these was when I was told our PVCs were yet to be printed in China
  • The supposed card readers had a 41% failure in the test run; I mean why will the commission decide to proceed with the use of these card readers if several people would be disenfranchised by a mechanical error that can be avoided?
  • Ad hoc staff have barely received proper training in preparation for the elections. They had two meetings before the elections were shifted and since the 6 weeks postponement, will only meet on Wednesday and Thursday again. It has come to my notice that not all of these Ad hoc staff would be at these trainings as others have been advised to read the INEC training manual. How can the future of Nigeria be placed in the hands of amateurs with no proper training?

These reasons have prompted me to write demanding answers to questions that I hope would be looked into by INEC and other monitoring bodies concerned with the 2015, elections

How possible is the production, importation and distribution of over 700, 000 PVCs before March 28 and when will the voters register be made available to the public, and what region of the country do these cards belong?

  • Prof, are you really ready for this election? Your Ad hoc staff are ill prepared, inexperienced and undertrained.
  • Why proceed with the usage of the card readers even after 41% failure recorded?
  • If the cards are only valid where you registered, what happens to students who did theirs while in school before they graduated, families who have migrated to other states, and IDPs, even if they collect their PVCs, of what use is all of this, if the system is too rigid?
  • It is no news that the postponed elections was partly because of the security situation in the North East, how then was INEC able to record the highest distribution percentage in that region regardless of the IDPs and death toll recorded?
  • Where there security agents and an anti bomb squad attached to your staff responsible for the distribution of PVCs?
  • Why wait for the last minute to put all of these in place, yet you claimed you were prepared to go ahead with the elections on February 14th, 2015.

Let me conclude by suggesting that the card readers be scrapped for this year’s presidential election. I am of the opinion that they should be tried at the Local Government level first before use at the gubernatorial and presidential levels.

This would give enough time to master and correct minor errors in the device. Since the PVCs are being used for the first time it would make a lot of sense to introduce the readers at a later time.

I would also like to urge the commission to consider a better time management as all this last minute runnings could have been done months ago.

I know we would get to that level envisaged by you and I know the end of your tenure is fast approaching; however we can hope for continuity and trust in your successor to finish the good work started. We find ourselves in the era of digital thinking; there is no way Nigeria would be taken aback.

Kazeem writes from Abuja.

Engr. Kazeem Mohammed.