Election 2011: Nigerians In the Diaspora welcome postponement, saying it restores confidence

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Nigerians in the Diaspora have welcomed the decision to change the date of the next general election, claiming the decision has portrayed Independent National Electoral Commission  as being realistic in it’s assiduous task of putting the nation on the right electoral footing.

INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega during the week  requested that the date of the next general elections be postponed  to put in place a more credible preparation.

Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it suggested April as against the earlier drummed January 22 for the Presidential election.

In a reaction, Alistair Soyode, Chairman of the Nigerians In the Diaspora Organisation Europe said, for once, Nigerians in the Diaspora have been convinced that INEC would be considered in the world as a very credible body that want to face reality and rebrand the nation as a sincere society, venturing for a free and fair election come 2011.

He said that already, Nigerians in the Diaspora are putting logistics together to secure  voting rights in the next  general elections , claiming the proposed postponement would serve as a plus advantage for the efforts and Diaspora preparations.

“Nigeria cannot afford to fail in the next election and what is worth doing at all is worth doing well” he said.

Dr Soyode, the Chief Executive of London based Ben Television noted that the organisation has sent messages regarding an impeding registration of voters on line by all Nigerians in Europe, claiming Nigerians In Europe are ready to vote, come next year election.

According to the NIDOE topman, a website which will take care of the online registration is currently under construction and would finish soon.

Meanwhile, the much publicised Nigeria’s ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidacy nomination exercise has been  shelved .

Other  official pre-election activities also have been cancelled  suggesting January’s presidential vote is almost certain to be delayed by more than three months.

Primaries to select the PDP’s nomination  had been scheduled  to start this weekend but were suspended  following the election commission calling for more time to iron out problems with voters’ lists, a party statement said.

“New dates for all PDP Primaries and Congresses shall be communicated in due course,” it said.

The head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) this week proposed postponement until April to allow time for an overhaul of the deeply flawed electoral roll, which threatens to undermine the credibility of the vote.

President Goodluck Jonathan is favourite to win the nomination from the PDP, which has won all three presidential races since the end of military rule in 1999.

But the struggle to secure the ticket is more contentious than in previous years.

The party has failed to reach a consensus over Jonathan, a southerner who inherited the top job when president Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner, died earlier this year during his first term in office.

Some PDP officials say the nomination should go to a northerner this time because of an unwritten party agreement that power should rotate between north and south every two terms.

INEC’s request for a delay, which has been endorsed by most parties, must be approved by both chambers of Nigeria’s National Assembly, which are currently not sitting by which can be called back for a special session.

Newspapers reported that a National Assembly constitutional commission would meet on Monday to discuss necessary changes to the law.

Postponement of the election is unlikely to have much impact on established figures, such as former military ruler Ibrahim Babangida, running against Jonathan for the PDP ticket, but may benefit younger challengers who are not yet household political names.

Addition: Reuters.

EMNnews, London