Experts urged FG to retain INEC staff for 2019 elections

It was reported that experts have called on the Federal Government to sustain the gains of the 2015 elections by retaining the appointment of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s core staff.

They also urged the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensure that the next leadership was based on proven competence and integrity just as the current INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, is expected to finish his term in June.

This was contained in a communiqué issued on Thursday after a two-day stakeholders’ review meeting on media and the 2015 elections, organised by Democratic Governance for Development project of the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union.

According to the release, the retention of key INEC technical staff would serve to provide “institutional memory.” It also urged the electoral commission to begin preparations for the 2019 polls by continually updating the voter register, production and distribution of Permanent Voter Cards to avoid “eleventh hour” rush.

“Electoral reform efforts should include the strengthening of the Independent National Electoral Commission’s operational control over security during elections, including the use of surveillance cameras in collation centres. INEC should digitalise the collation of election results and improve on its logistics management and contingency planning ahead of future elections. INEC should decentralise and improve all its information and communication structures for better outreach,” the communiqué stated.

During the two-day workshop, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Lagos State, Akin Orebiyi, stated that the INEC would improve on its electoral process ahead of the 2019 polls, especially in the areas of production and distribution of the PVCs.

“We promised to do a number of things but we couldn’t deliver all, for instance, Only 60 per cent of the PVCs were distributed in the whole of Ogun State. While 5.6 million eligible voters were able to redeem their PVCs in Lagos out of about 5.8 million who registered. This means that around 200,000 eligible voters were disenfranchised,” Orebiyi said.

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