Written by By Uchenna Awom:

The 2011 general elections timetable will be rolled out on Tuesday next week, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, has said.

Iwu told senators at the National Assembly yesterday that the commission was set to unveil the time-table in preparedness for the January 2011 general elections.

According to him, the voters’ registration would commence by June to July this year, adding that the commission has set up automatic strategic centres in three locations: Jigawa, Ogun and Abia states respectively, to serve as database for the registration of voters across the country.

The INEC boss stated that the commission has also engaged high-level research and methodology in order to minimise incessant cases of ballot snatching, election violence and rigging, among other electoral malpractices.

He attributed the  successes in the recent Anambra State polls to the outcome of the research embarked upon by INEC which, he said, the commission will continue to improve on.

Assuring Nigerians of successful elections in 2011, Iwu  added that the commission would engage the services of National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) members as back-up staff for the 2011 polls instead of ad-hoc staff.

Responding, the President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, assured the INEC top officials that the National Assembly will facilitate the Electoral Reform programme in order to benefit the forthcoming general elections.

He explained that the reform has become imperative in view of the grey areas in the conduct of elections in the country in the past.

He was of the view that the voters’ registration should be a continuous exercise instead of the periodic arrangement.

According to Mark, “I am impressed that the voters’ registration will soon commence, but I am of the opinion that the exercise should be a continuous process. Anybody who has come of age could easily walk into any INEC office and register; this will ease the process and make it more accessible to all Nigerians”.

Senator Mark further assured the commission of legislative support in the discharge of its function.

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