From Timothy Agbor/OSOGBO
In preparation for the August 9th and June 21st governorship elections in Osun and Ekiti states respectively, the nation’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced training of its officers in all the local government areas in the two states.
The Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, on Thursday, 8th May, 2014, said that the officers involve Directors of Operations and Directors of information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Voters’ Logistics adding that the purpose of the training workshop was to ensure efficient discharge of officers’ duties during the polls.
Jega, who spoke through his Special Assistant, Professor Mohammad Kuna at the Ideal Nest Hotels in Osogbo, Osun State capital, southwest Nigeria, the venue of the workshop on Thursday said the workshop was also to ensure free, fair and credible elections in Osun and Ekiti states.
While assuring the electorate of hitch-free governorship elections in the two states, the electoral umpire maintained that the workshop would improve on the electoral process during the gubernatorial polls and would also tell on the outcome of the 2015 general elections in the country.
Professor Jega said his commission would be setting up small secretariat of the Electoral Management System at the level of the two states so as to enhance a free flow of information between the states and the commission’s headquarters.
The INEC boss disclosed that the commission would be producing a manual called “Election Management System (EMS)” in order to improve on 2015 elections beyond what the country witnessed in 2011 general elections.
His words: “the purpose of this workshop is to begin to implement the general pan of the commission for 2015 which is called the Election Management System (EMS). This is a programme designed by the commission to identify a number of areas which the commission can work on that can have a dramatic improvement on the 2015 election.
“The idea of EMS is that while the commission has been conducting elections and having in mind that the process of conducting election is already in the sense of our officers, the EMS manual will be a guide because it contains all the memories of how elections are conducted.
“This manual not only identifies the tasks that need to be done, it also identifies when the task should be done, who is responsible for the task and where would the task be carried out. So the officers know that if there is a particular person who doesn’t do his/her tasks at a particular time, the commission would know whom to hold responsible.
“This EMS manual is not absolutely new, this is what the electoral officers have been doing before but we are now able to document it in a manual so that the people will know clearly what they are to do in such circumstances”.
The INEC boss assured that the EMS manual would help to curb any intending rigging saying that the commission has always assured Nigerians of free, fair and credible election because these have been the principle of INEC since its inception.
“Although the primary duty of the commission is to ensure free, fair and credible election, there are other stakeholders that play some roles to assist the commission in realising its goals. These stakeholders are the media, political parties, candidates, civil society organisations and security agencies.
“Other processes we are putting in place that is not part of the EMS is the issuance of the new permanent voters card which is to prevent any election rigging. By 2015, we will start electoral accreditation of the permanent voters’ cards. By the time this is done, we can establish conclusively that a person who comes to the polling unit is the true owner of the card.”
The INEC boss hinted that the workshop would end on Saturday, 10th May, 2014.