The compilation of the new voters’ register, expected to capture 70 million Nigerians, will be completed by December 9, 2010, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, said yesterday.
The date is to accommodate two weeks of preliminary registration and an accompanying mopping-up, and also give constitutional allowances to the general elections which may kick off as early as January 8, 2011, Mr Jega said yesterday in a press briefing.
“It is clear to us that if we take the constitution amendment into consideration, and the new Electoral Act 2010, the first elections may at the earliest hold on the 8th of January and if this was to be so, then we have to complete the voters’ registration by the 9th of November and we have to do a clean-up and to integrate and certify the register by the 9th of December,” he said.
Addressing the members of Study Group 1, Course 32, from the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Monday, Mr Jega said in the build up to the widely-anticipated elections, the commission has overcome its first constraints, being funds, and is battling with the second which predictable is the election timing.
“Obviously, to attempt to do a new voters’ register as we prepare for elections in January is a very formidable and challenging task and it is very difficult and there are serious time and resource constraints,” he said.
“We have made a case for funding and we have received the funding that we have requested for. However, the time constraint is still of concern although we are doing our best to see that we overcome it.” The contract award for the Direct Data Capture machines, meant for the registration, is expected to be rounded up in days, according to Mr Jega. And officials say the commission is pushing to release the expected election timetable in six days, on September 12. With Thursday and Friday declared as public holidays, the timetable is expected to be released between today and tomorrow.