April 6, 2011. Abuja, Nigeria – Since Nigeria’s General Elections were postponed by a week, there have been numerous statements from different bodies – CSOs, think-tanks, political parties, the media and individuals – on a variety of issues. It is universally agreed that these General Elections are critical to Nigeria as a nation-state and everything humanly possible must be done to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
Against this backdrop, EiE Nigeria hereby states the following:
There have been numerous reports of names of registered voters whose names were omitted from the accreditation list. We earnestly urge INEC to ensure it rectifies this problem across all polling units before Saturday, 9th April to avoid disenfranchising legitimate voters.
We also urge INEC to provide, on its website, the list of all registered voters per polling unit. In the event that this is not possible, INEC should provide the number of people registered for each polling unit. This will enable independent observers quickly verify that legitimate voters are not unduly disenfranchised.
Issues raised include inadequate ballot papers; errors in distribution of ballot papers; errors in the printing of some ballot papers as some party logos were either omitted or repeated. We expect that these issues will be resolved in time for hitch-free elections on Saturday.
As a government body, the process of awarding contracts should be transparent. INEC has blamed the printing vendor for the failure that botched the April 2 polls. We ask that INEC make public the name of said vendor and the penalty imposed. INEC may recall that, during the voters’ registration exercise, Nigerians knew who got the contracts for supplying the required resources and public pressure was placed on Haier and Zinox to rectify the relevant issues.
It is sad to note that there are still recurring issues surrounding the welfare of corps members recruited for the general elections as were highlighted during the registration exercise. We demand that INEC make public the agreed remuneration, the process of payment and the office(s) responsible for the welfare of these NYSC members so they can be held accountable. We also expect the NYSC Director-General, Brigadier General M. S. Tsiga to step in where necessary, to ensure that these young Nigerians, serving their country under his charge are adequately catered for.
We request that INEC make use of voters’ phone numbers, collected as part of the registration exercise, to communicate with Nigerians in a timely and effective manner. In addition, direct communication by SMS with polling unit officials will increase efficiency. For example, the lag time between the official communication for postponement and its implementation at various polling units nationwide was too long, causing voting to continue with people in lines and resources wasted.
SMS has become a critical technology for coordination and communication for the 2011 General Elections. The performance of Nigeria’s mobile network operators is therefore critical to the success of these elections. It goes without saying that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as the telecom regulator responsible for quality of service, works with Telecom Service Providers to ensure that Nigerians and all election stakeholders are able to communicate during this critical period.
In conclusion, the stakes are now too high for INEC to fail again on Saturday.
EnoughisEnough Nigeria (www.eie.ng) is a coalition of individuals and youth-led organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through advocacy, activism and the mobilization of the youth population as responsible citizens. The coalition includes The Future Project, Light Up Nigeria, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Education as a Vaccine (EVA) and Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND).
EiE Nigeria has created the RSVP(Register|Select|Vote) Campiagn to leverage technology, especially social media to mobilize significant participation from citizens in the 18-35 age bloc in the 2011 elections.