The immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission ( INEC ), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has commended the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) over the last Local Government elections conducted in the State, just as he noted that there are no perfect elections.
The former Chairman gave the commendation on Wednesday during his courtesy visit to LASIEC headquarters in Lagos, stating that the management and staff of the State Electoral Commission have demonstrated competence with the success recorded at last year’s local government polls.
Professor Jega, who was accompanied by a former National Commissioner of INEC, Prof. Lai Olurode, stressed the importance of having a well defined, structured programme for voter education programme in the country to make the electoral process more inclusive and participatory.
He noted that funding civic and voter education programmes require a lot of financial resources which many of the Electoral Commissions might not have the capacity to fully undertake on their own.
He, therefore, advised Electoral Management Bodies to partner Civic Organisation groups and donor agencies for assistance in the area of voter education.
In his words, “Everybody should be concerned about the integrity of the electoral process and collaborate with Election Management Bodies to achieve election credibility”.
Jega informed that the conduct of elections in Nigeria is a very difficult task and urged politicians to abide by the code of conduct guiding the conduct of elections and desist from the “do or die” mentality that has characterized the political process in the country for a long time.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC), Hon. Justice Ayotunde Phillips applauded the former INEC Chairman for introducing the Card Reader for the conduct of elections in the country which she said had gained acceptability from the generality of the people.
Hon. Justice Phillips stated that following the success recorded by INEC in achieving transparency in the electoral process through the use of the card reader, LASIEC had realised that ‘the machine’ is a necessary tool for the conduct of elections.
She disclosed that the Commission was already planning towards the use of card reader in future to further enhance the transparency and credibility of the electoral process into the Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas of the State.
The LASIEC Chairman promised that before the next elections to the Local Governments of the State, the Commission would have acquired the necessary technological infrastructure and expertise which would be deployed to modernize the electoral process.
Hon. Justice Phillips also revealed that the Commission was working on a Strategic Plan, in collaboration with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), aimed at restructuring and repositioning the Commission for improved performance.
She pledged that the Commission would engage in more consultations with stakeholders and carry out more continuous civic and voters education to reduce the unacceptably high level of apathy in the electoral process in Lagos State.