Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, Thursday said the commission had learnt its lessons with the outcome of the November 16 governorship election in Anambra State.
Jega declared that subsequent elections in the country would be devoid of the irregularities that marred the state governorship election that eventually resulted in a supplementary election on November 30.
The INEC chairman spoke while declaring open the fourth quarterly meeting of the electoral body with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the commission had learnt a huge lesson from what happened in the state, stating that concerted efforts are being put in place to ensure that such does not repeat both in the Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections in 2014 as well as the much talked about 2015 general elections."
According to the INEC chairman, “I want to state that as a commission we have learnt a lot of lessons from what happened in Anambra State and we are going to put such knowledge into use as we get ready to conduct other elections in the country starting with the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States next year and I want to urge us all to do our best as we get ready because the Anambra State lessons would be factored in our preparations.”
The INEC boss further revealed that to test run the 2015 general election, there was the need to ensure that certain anomalies would be avoided in Ekiti and Osun State adding that he was prepared to make them unique with remarkable improvement from what has existed.
The irregularities observed in the Anambra State governorship election notwithstanding, Jega praised the efforts of the staff of INEC in conducting elections in the country and appealed to all stakeholders to join hands with the commission to ensure free, fair and credible elections in subsequent elections in the country.
Jega explained that there was little the electoral body could do if the Nigerian people do not collaborate with it in promoting the culture of credible elections.
“As a commission, we are urging all stakeholders to partner and collaborate with us to make 2015 very credible and successful, our job is challenging but we must continue to do our best because the Nigerian people want free, fair and credible elections and that we must continue to give them even as we acknowledge that it takes a lot of resources and efforts to meet up with the demand of everybody,” the INEC chairman added.
Jega said in order to ensure that nothing goes wrong in 2015, the commission in the past two days organised a seminar for its top management as well as the RECs with a view to identifying the risk factors that do erode the credibility of elections as well as finding the appropriate means to avoid them.
He also used the opportunity to state that before the 2015 elections, the issue of continuous voters' register would be concluded to ensure that those who had just turned 18 since the last exercise and some others who were left out due to one reason or the other were captured. Jega also explained that the issue of delimitation of constituencies was receiving attention and would be completed before the 2015 general elections.