Jega To Retire with 7 National Commissioners, 16 REC’s

jegaIndications have emerged, that Attahiru Jega, outgoing Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, would retire alongside seven National Commissioners and 16 Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs by the end of the month of June.

Akin Orebiyi, INEC’s REC in Lagos, dropped the hint in Lagos during the opening session of a two-day stakeholders’ review meeting on the role of the media in the 2015 elections, organised by the UNDP – Democratic Governance for Development ,DGD, Project II.

Orebiyi who said that the Commission could not fulfill some of its promises to the electorate, expressed hope of a better electoral process ahead of the 2019 elections. For instance, he said the production and distribution of permanent voters’ cards, PVCs, could not be delivered to Nigerians as planned by the Commission.

“We promised to do a number of things but we couldn’t deliver all, for instance, only 60 per cent of PVCs were distributed in the whole of Ogun State, while 5.6 million eligible voters were able to redeem their PVCs in Lagos, out of about 5.8 million who registered, this means that around 200,000 eligible voters were disenfranchised,” he said

However, Bolaji Eyinla, the UNDP-DGD Project II Election Expert, has suggested that the Commission should retain some members of Jega advisory team for institutional memory and better planning of the 2019 elections.

He noted that Jega’s effective management of men and resources and his calmness in the face of open provocation accounted for the success of the 2015 elections. “I am also aware that Jega was supported by a body of technical advisers, it is not out of place to suggest that some of these technical advisers are retained by the electoral management body for institutional memories and of course for designing electoral success in 2019, so some of the team members should be kept,” he said.

Nick Dazang, INEC spokesperson, was quoted to have said that Jega would be in office until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the National Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, has said it was restrained from imposing sanctions on broadcast stations which allegedly flouted the code of conduct for broadcasting operations during the 2015 elections due to ongoing court cases.

Armstrong Idachaba, Director in the NBC, who spoke at the review meeting, said over 30 broadcast stations were sanctioned by the Commission for their indiscretions, majorly on political broadcasts.

He explained that NBC could not act on certain cases due to ongoing litigation. “When matters are in court, there is little or nothing a regulator can do, because it restrains the regulator from acting any further,” he said.

“Since NBC is joined as a party in the court. Out of about 400 broadcast stations in Nigeria, just a few carried out content breaches under the cover of political advertising, we drew their attention to it and we asked them to respond. But some of these things take time, where there are allegations and counter allegations, we have to investigate,” he said.

Idachaba, however denied allegations that the NBC hurriedly issued warning to certain broadcast stations upon the declaration of Muhammadu Buhari as the president-elect, saying the Commission meted out sanctions before and during the elections.

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