The ghost of the November 16, 2013, governorship election in Anambra State has continued to hunt the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Monday said: â€œMuch work has to be done in convincing the public of the integrity of the register of voters.â€
Also, the INEC chairman reiterated the efficacy of the voters cardsâ€™ readers, stating that hard time awaits people who indulge in multiple voting during election.
The November 16, 2013, governorship election was marred with several irregularities as many voters were disenfranchised as they could not find their names in the votersâ€™ register during the election.
Jega, who spoke at a workshop on 2015 general election organised by the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, said: â€œOur experience in the recent governorship election in Anambra State showed that we have much work to do in convincing the public of the integrity of the register of voters.â€
However, he said plans had been concluded to issue â€œduly registered voters with chip-based permanent votersâ€™ cards (PVCs), which would be swiped with card readers in the 2015 elections to ensure 100 per cent verification and authentication of voters.
â€œPlans have been finalised to roll out a programme of CVR (Continuous Votersâ€™ Register) nationwide. The CVR offers fresh opportunity to get more citizens onto the electronic register ahead of 2015 general election, as we have stopped using addendum register for elections,â€ Jega said.
The INEC Chairman explained that the consolidation and de-duplication of biometric register of voters had been concluded, â€œas a result of which the register of voters now has tremendous integrity, much better than the one with which 2011 elections were conducted. Indeed, it compares favourably with any register of voters on the African continent.â€
He further disclosed that the commission had upgraded the women desk he met when he assumed office to a full department, stating that the department is currently under a deputy director.
According to the INEC Chairman, â€œA gender policy intended to make the commissionâ€™s work more gender sensitive, designed to expand and deepen gender equity within the commission and in the provision of electoral services in line with global best practices, is virtually complete and implementation will begin for value added well before the 2015 general election,â€ he disclosed.
Jega said another risk management tool was being deployed ahead of the 2015 elections, with the support of the African Union (AU) and the International IDEA, to enable the commission to gather information about risk factors associated with the election, be able to analyse them and deploy effective measures to contain or mitigate them towards ensuring peaceful and violence-free elections.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Zinab Maina, who was represented by the Director of Women Affairs in the ministry, Mrs. Iran Ajufo, said the aspiration of the ministry is to improve women participation in politics and the decision making process.
The minister, who regretted that out of 360 members of the House of Representatives, only 25 or 6.5 per cent were women, identified factors inhibiting women participation in politics to include inadequate education, inadequate finance and male dominance in politics.