Next Election: Presidential and National Assembly 25th February 2023

All Elections should hold same day – Prof. Jega

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on wenesday said elections in the country, after 2015, should be held same day, saying that staggered elections were costly.

Besides, Jega said holding elections same day was in line with global practices.

“I think that in future, not 2015, elections should be held in same day in line with global practices and Nigeria should move in that direction in the future. Staggered elections are not cost effective and it is not cost efficient and it is expensive,” Jega told some journalists in Abuja.

The INEC chairman cited Ghana, Sierra-Leone, the United States and Venezuela as countries that held their elections in one day.

He said the commission would bring to bear its experience in 2011 and recent governorship polls in Ondo and Edo states on the 2015 elections, which he said, would be better than the previous exercises in the country.

Jega, however, ruled out the possibility of using electronic voting for the 2015 general elections but that Nigeria should keep on working on its voting system towards achieving one-day voting.

When asked about the possibility of adopting electronic voting in 2015, he answered, “No because as I speak with you, there is a provision in the Electoral Act which prevents electronic voting. As far as I am concerned, we should keep on improving so that in line with global practices, we should even be able to conduct all elections in one day.

“It is possible and not impossible. It is just that we have not addressed our minds to it and all politicians and other stakeholders are not really joining hands in order to ensure the success of the process.”

The INEC boss said the recent deregistration of parties by the Commission was a continuous exercise and denied allegations that the electoral body acted against a subsisting court order in delisting the 28 political parties.

He said, “If more parties violate the requirements of the Electoral Act and it warrants de-registration, we will de-register them. It is a continuous process and when we first deregistered the seven political parties, we made the same statement that it is a continuous process.

“The legal regime upon which we operate says that any group that meets the requirement for registration should be registered. The same legal regime says that under some conditions, you can de-register. All we are doing is that those who deserve registration we register them. Those that do not meet registration, we deregister them.”

Jega said that it took the commission so long to deregister the parties because it wanted to be meticulous.

He said that INEC did not have a benchmark for the number of parties to be registered.

“Our hope is that if we are consistently doing this, then with time, people will know that if we register you as a political party, it must be in full compliance with all the requirements. You cannot come and rent an office in Abuja just to be registered and soon after you are registered, you abandon the office,” Jega stated.

According to him, some parties have been parading the same executives since 2003 and they have not been holding congresses nor primaries.

“They will only do primaries to nominate people to contest election but will not really hold congresses to elect officials of the party,” he said.

He said the deregistration of the affected parties would sanitize politics and deepen the nation’s democracy.

He said, “The current deregistration of political parties should be viewed in this context of bringing sanity to the electoral process and ensuring that all stakeholders, particularly political stakeholders who are the major stakeholders in the electoral process,  play according to the rules.

“It is right for deepening of democracy in our country and we have done it with consistence and with the best interpretation of the legal regime that we have got before taking that decision.”

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