Nigerian Youths decry INEC unpreparedness – demand an immediate commencement of new voter registration
EnoughisEnough Nigeria, the coalition of Nigerian youths and youth-led organizations, is compelled to publicly highlight what it has observed as the total lack of preparedness on the part of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver free and fair polls for the 2011 General Elections.
Hence, the coalition is calling on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic, Goodluck Jonathan, to show quick and tangible results on his promise to deliver free and fair elections in 2011 by ensuring that INEC starts new voter registration nationwide as quickly as possible.
“We have made repeated visits to the INEC offices in Lagos and Abuja,” said Cheta Nwanze, one of the coalition’s spokesperson. “And at each level, we have been shocked by the level of complete abandon that is the lot of our electoral system at the moment.”
The coalition is disappointed to note that the registration of new voters, an exercise that should be continuous by law, and should at least have become a national drive a month ago, is yet to commence. There is, hence, a real danger that millions of new voters will be systematically disenfranchised.
“This is unacceptable,” said Hadiza Mohammed. “If we are not registering yet less than eight months to such important elections, what kind of fairness do we expect from the process?”
With these concerns in view, the coalition therefore calls on President Goodluck Jonathan to show some real commitment and sincerity, beyond words and promises, to the electoral process by working with INEC to facilitate the immediate commencement of the New Voters Registration Exercise. More importantly, let the exercise be open and transparent so that Nigerians know exactly what is going on rather than the present situation of rumours and suspicions. We are requesting that this process starts as soon as
possible to give adequate time to register new voters; clean up the Voters Register and execute a comprehensive communication campaign to educate Voters on the process and their rights. This is to ensure that all eligible Nigerians are able to participate in the process.
The coalition is also calling on the President to expedite action and appoint the Chairman and other National Commissioners at INEC.
“Let them be put on notice that if this kind of tardiness, which is dangerous for our much-talked-about electoral reforms continue,” Nwanze said, “young people across Nigeria might have no choice but to take stern measures to pressure the government to take the right steps.”
The EnoughisEnough Nigeria coalition is a civic participation group for young Nigerians that has organised protest rallies against ineffective governance, in Abuja and Lagos. The coalition is committed to ensuring that the youth vote – from the grassroots to the Ivory Towers – counts in the 2011 elections, working closely with grassroots mobilisers, and national and international election observers. To this end, the coalition is beginning Voter Education workshops across the country for Nigerian youth.
Member organizations include The Future Project, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, Omotola Youth Empowerment Project, Light Up Nigeria, Rise Networks, BLING Corp, Chocolate City, Brand It Nigeria, and the Abira