The government of President Goodluck Jonathan is facing an acid test over his pledges for a credible election next year.
His seriousness is currently being put to test about free and fair election come year 2011 with a recent bombshell about the state of the nation’s electoral register.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has hinted that it would require N55.1 billion to organise a “substantially more credible” voters register ahead of the election coming in 2011.
The commission’s chairperson, Attahiru Jega, told a delegation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which paid him a courtesy visit on Thursday that, “We can use N55 billion as the cost of equipment alone if we buy directly from the manufacturers since it will cost 2,000 dollars per unit.
He explained that the equipment “will be a laptop-based unit plus the accessories for finger printing and a high resolution camera that can capture the pictures and complete the entire exercise within a maximum of 15 to 20 minutes.”
He however noted that a review of the procurement process will save about N16 billion. He noted the problems that bedevilled the process in 2006, “As soon as the contract was signed with credible partners, they were abandoned and fake equipment was purchased, some with expired licences and that was what affected the voter registration exercise in 2006”.
The INEC requirement is a spending commitment that the government must make if the nation is serious about conducting free election, come 2011.
The government recently has exposed itself as a wasteful lot, earmarking about N16billion Naira ( think it’s been reduced as nothing is being heard nowadays) for the celebration of the nation’s independence while news of the budget has attracted huge criticism among Nigerians home and in the Diaspora.
With the government of Jonathan commencing it’s first round of macabre dance following the Independence celebration budget, the recent demand by INEC will attest to the truth about the government’s commitment for a free and fair election pledge come next year.
It is less than two months now to commence the Independence celebration while such a huge amount still remains dedicated for trivial events and activities.
There are dangers ahead and unless the government takes the bull by the horn by providing the INEC it’s budget for the electoral register, the goverment may be viewed as toying with the future of the nation.
There is no more time to waste as already, the election period is so close.
This news organisation currently holds the view that the election should be postponed to give chance to the working out of a more credible preparation and transparent handling of the voters registers and other relating matters to the election.
Unless this is done, we all may have ourself to blame for another round of election selection in 2011 by the ruling party.
The election is better late than never to facilitate a proper preparation and INEC’s request is a glaring indication that all is not well with the nation’s electoral process.
Unless the government act quickly over the INEC budget matter, there may be more dooms looming ahead resulting from bad planning and preparation for the election .
Nigeria needs a credible election and this can only come through sound preparation of a credible voters register compilation.
What we need is a good foundation for our democratic future, not a cosmetic celebration as the nation’s past fifty years has been nothing less than a mre waste. Nothing to write home about in terms of achievement and development. The current generation has failed the nation and we need a new beginning starting with a new credible voters register.