By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, Friday, told election observer missions and monitors in Nigeria that the country was ready for the February and March general elections.
Gbajabiamila, who spoke when a delegation of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria led by Mr Barry Andrews visited him at the National Assembly in Abuja said that reports on election outcomes could only reflect what truly transpired when observer missions engaged with multiple stakeholders.
Encouraging his visitors to engage all the stakeholders across board, Gbajabiamila said that though the process of the elections were complex, the political actors could make it simple with their attitudes.
He said: “We are prepared for it, and those saddled with the responsibility, from Mr. President, the National Assembly, INEC, the political parties, to all the other stakeholders along the chain, we are all ready to make the votes count.”
“The electoral law is in place. We have done all we needed to do, and now, we have to wait and see how things pan out.
“Election is a process that leads to the final day. It’s very complex, but at the same time it can be very simple, depending on the attitude of the actors”.
He also told the delegation that the use of technology this time around was an added advantage, which INEC would deploy to fast-track the process.
“We are hoping there will be no problems in the area of deployment of technology and also security issues, we hope not to worry about it much”, he said.
The Speaker informed the group that an area of concern remained the collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVC), which he said was still not very high, compared to the number of registered voters.
However, he told the visitors that sensitisation was ongoing and “it is our firm belief that the number of PVC collections will be ramped up way before the elections proper.”
On the part of the National Assembly, Gbajabiamila said the Legislature did much to improve the electoral law to expand the opportunities for participation by many Nigerians.
He stated that the Legislature, particularly the House, had hoped that ‘Direct Primaries’ would be captured in the law as the main method of picking political party candidates in order to transfer the power of decision-making to the majority of party members, but the move suffered a setback.
“Nonetheless, there is no law that is perfect. We have come a long way with the current law and it is work in progress for our electoral system”, the Speaker further said.
Earlier, Andrews told Gbajabiamila that the EU Mission was happy to be invited to observe the polls, just as it had done on seven previous occasions.
Andrews assured Gbajabiamila that the body had its work cut out and had a reliable data-collection methodology to give a report on the outcome of the polls.
He informed the Speaker that the body would formally unveil its work plan at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, while it would release a preliminary report on the elections two days after the conclusion of voting.
The post We ‘re prepared for February, March polls, Gbajabiamila tells EU mission, others appeared first on Vanguard News.
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