2015: Nigerians should not expect perfect elections –Jega

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He, however, assured that the commission would do its best to ensure that the outcome of the elections worths the exercise.

Jega, who spoke when he received the new ambassador of the United States of America (USA) to Nigeria, James Entwistle, said INEC had taken a number of measures to enable it conduct transparent and credible elections in 20I5.

He said the commission was faced with plethora of challenges in the build up to 2015 elections. Jega assured that the challenges were surmountable, explaining that so far the electoral body had begun the training and retraining of staff and repositioning of the commission.

The INEC chairman also disclosed that the commission had planned a retreat for its staff and its Residence Electoral Commissioners (REC) next week in Kaduna, adding that the commission would use the opportunity to finalize its timetable for the 20I5 general elections.

Jega stated that the commission had been holding series of meetings with security agents, civil society organisation (CSOs) as well as development partners on measures that would be taken to conduct a free and fair election. He lamented that with the fund available to the commission for the 20I5 election, it would face challenge of carrying out a complete voter education exercise before the general elections in 20I5.

He said: “We are not promising a perfect election in 2015 but we are confident that we will do our best. We have taken some steps to achieve this, for instance, staff training in collaboration with development partners and strategic plans. We are planning a retreat to finalize the timetable for 2015. We have held series of meetings with security agencies, CSOs and development partners ahead of 2015. While it is the responsibility of INEC to organize civic and other registration awareness, the commission faces challenges of funding as well.

“It is our responsibility under the Electoral Act to do civil education and even political education generally. It has always been challenging because the resources available to discharge that responsibility are usually insufficient, given the enormity of the task of dealing with a large illiterate population and to get them to really understand what to do, not only during votin,” Jega noted.

Earlier, the new US Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle, noted that he was at the INEC office to familiarise himself and introduce himself and his team to the INEC chairman, stressing that his visit was also to identify areas where the United States government would be of help to the commission to ensure that it conducts a free, fair and transparent election in 20I5.

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