News Release: Has The Rigging Begun? Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation


19 January 2011

By Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji

The attention of the Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation has been drawn to the shockingly shoddy and slow manner in which the voters' registration exercise is being conducted nationwide by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

This is a fundamental flaw in the on-going transition program and a real threat to the credibility and even possibility of the 2011 general elections slated for April this year in which Nigerians have massively invested unquantifiable resources and man-hours. Indeed, the impending failure of the exercise coming in the wake of the disastrous elections of 2007 could mean that Nigeria would be permanently written off as a nation that is incapable of organizing acceptable polls. Even worse, without a credible and timely voters' registration, the integrity of any subsequent elections would be questionable, thereby further destabilization the polity and depriving Nigerians of the good governance that they so much crave.

Observers at almost all the 120,000 registration centers across the country are decrying the slow and very unsteady manner in which voters are registered in tiny trickles. At some venues in Abuja, Ebonyi, Delta and Zamfara, the incompetent officials are able to register only a couple of voters throughout the day. Elsewhere, INEC registration officers openly displayed their total ignorance of the computerized process. There were even instances where ordinary members of the public had to come to the assistance of the staff with regards to operating the system. As at press time, there are even centers where either the Direct Data Capture machine or the manual register or both are yet to be in place three days after the start of the voter registration exercise.

There are also reports from many areas considered as opposition strongholds that the Direct Data Capture machines deployed there have been deliberately tempered with to either slow down the process or even out-rightly frustrate it. These moves allegedly enjoy the support of PDP state governors and other officials.

The explanation offered by the INEC national commissioner in charge of Information and Publicity, Prince Solomon Soyebi, that the Commission over-rated the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members saddled with the task of voters' registration is grossly inadequate and unacceptable. According to Soyebi, "These are graduates and we never expected that they would be unable to handle the computer, but the reality is that majority of them could not." The question is: would any serious organization employ thousands of workers for a serious task such as national voters' registration without ascertaining their qualifications through an interview or other tests?

Ultimately, it is the Federal Government and not INEC that would be held culpable or responsible for the failure of the voters' registration exercise. Unless President Goodluck Jonathan steps in immediately with measures to eliminate the hitches, Nigerians, especially members of opposition parties would be forgiven for attributing the registration hiccups to a deliberate plot by the ruling party to disenfranchise Nigerians and perpetuate itself in power. After all, even the presidential primaries conducted by the party recently were marked by high wire manipulation to favor the incumbent president over his opponents.

We hereby call on the millions of our members and supporters nationwide to be steadfast and ensure that they are registered to vote, no matter how long it takes. Our vote is our only power. We also urge all Nigerians to remain ever more vigilant and speak out against all perceived maneuvers aimed at thwarting the free expression of their will in the upcoming elections. The price of freedom had always been eternal vigilance.

SIGNED:
Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji, mni
Director General,
Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation

 

Alhaji Khaleel Bolaji, mni is the Director General for Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation. Upon his written correspondence to EsinIslam as supported by both Bala Muhammad and Emu Brown of the campaign organization, this news/press release has been made available. More stories about the Nigerian 2011 General Elections and the Shekarau for Nigeria Campaign Organisation have been posted on EsinIslam by Nigeria's prominent international writers including Saka Raji Audu.  To Read more about Mallam Shekarau - the Nigerian Presidential Hopeful, his achievements and visions visit Writer Homepage Of Saka Raji Audu at:

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  EsinIslam.Com

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