Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Newspaper Clips on My Remarks at CODER

"The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Robin Sanders, challenged INEC, last week, to ensure that the 2011 poll produces the best leaders that would rule Nigeria. Speaking at a workshop organised by the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER), the envoy expressed her opinion in a paper entitled “Agenda for a Credible Election: Road Map for New INEC.”

She charged INEC to stand up to the occasion, saying “the other challenge is time and time is not on your side; you have to register about 30 million eligible voters and if election is to take place between January and February next year, it means that you have to register at least 15,000 voters every hour, and it is expected that about 25,000 polling units must be provided before the election.”

She said further: “I have faith in Nigerian people that they will do everything possible to ensure a credible election. You must be on the driver’s seat on this roadmap for a credible election so that you can take your place in the comity of nations. United States has always assisted Nigeria in the area of technical assistance which was what your government asked. Technical assistance also includes capacity building not only to INEC but also to the civil society. If you are not adequately funded, you can’t have a credible election. By the records, it is estimated that Nigeria earns about $3.2 billion from excess crude oil. Also, the country has about $37 billion in foreign reserves; I believe that this is enough to fund the election, while the international community assists with technical support. Civil society organisations play a critical role in monitoring and observation during election period. They can be the voice of the voiceless and also the critical observer.”

According to her, the US government was supporting INEC so that it could achieve its goals within the shortest possible time, adding that the elections must be financed not just by the donors but by Nigerians because Nigerians are the biggest stakeholders in the poll. “This election can’t be more important to United States more than it is to you; this is your election. You are the major stakeholder; in fact, I won’t be wrong if I say that you are the only stakeholder in this election,” she remarked. "
INEC’s Struggle Over 2011 By Daniel Kanu Austin Oboh, Daily Independent Lagos