Indications have emerged on Tuesday that Professor Attahiru Jega would retire alongside seven National Commissioners and 16 Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) by the end of the month.
INEC’s REC in Lagos, Akin Orebiyi, dropped the hint yesterday in Lagos during the opening session of a two-day stakeholders’ review meeting on the role of media in the 2015 elections, organised by the UNDP – Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) Project II.
Orebiyi, who said the commission could not fulfill some of its promises to the electorate, expressed hope of a better electoral process ahead of the 2019 elections.
According to him, 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, the UNDP-DGD Project II Election Expert, Prof. Bolaji Eyinla, has suggested that the commission should retain some members of Jega advisory team for institutional memory and better planning of the 2019 elections.
Eyinla noted that Jega’s effective management of men and resources and his calmness in the face of opened provocation accounted for the success of 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 sould be kept.”
INEC spokesperson, Nick Dazang, 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 flaunted the code of conduct for broadcasting operations during the 2015 elections due to ongoing court cases.
Director in the office of the NBC’s Director General, Armstrong Idachaba, 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 litigations.
“When matters are in court, there is little or nothing a regulator can do, because it restrains the regulator from acting any further, 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 ask them to respond. But some of these things take time, where there are allegations and counter allegations, we have to investigate,” he said.
Idachalla however denied that NBC hurriedly issued warning to certain broadcast stations upon the declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the president-elect, saying the commission meted out sanctions before and during the elections.
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