Professor Atthairu Jega Says “We ’ve learnt very hard lessons From the 2015 Elections”


jega Atthairu Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says the commission has learnt “very hard lessons” from the presidential and parliamentary election held across the country on Saturday. The election was specifically marred by widespread failure of voter card readers, while accreditation and voting did not take place in some polling units at all, forcing INEC to extend the procedure till Sunday. Speaking on the process on Saturday night, Jega said that notwithstanding the noticeable shortcomings, the commission would not be afraid to take on innovations capable of boosting the efficiency and credibility of the electoral process. “Places where elections where rescheduled, the processes and timing of voting still remain the same…,” he said. “If you recall, in 2011, we were able to declare results within 48 hours; the presidential election result was out within 48 hours. We’ve done everything possible to improve the process of collation and return. And we believe that this improvement should reflect in our ability to not only declare within 48 hours, but also in a better time than we were able to do in 2011. “Regrettably, when I said we will do our best to declare the result within 48 hours, some people already started saying it’s only because Jega has a rigging plan, that is why he’s saying he can declare results in 48 hours. “I was merely expressing our wish and our hope that given all improvement that we have made and given the fact that in 2011, we did it within 44 hours, we should be able to do it within 48 hours this time around, and God willing, we are working very hard on that.” Asked if he still had implicit confidence in the system, he said: “Yes, absolutely. We’ve learnt very hard lessons, but we’ve always said that we should not be hostages to our own fears. “You know, if there are things we believe are good that can add value, of course you have to take care in planning them and implementing them. You should not succumb to your fears and throw away things that can add value and integrity to the electoral process. “We believe that in spite of these challenges, the card reader has still added substantial credibility to this 2015 elections.”

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