The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Lagos State, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, yesterday said the commission would not stagger the 2015 general election to avoid the problems encountered in the November 16 Anambra State governorship election.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ogunmola said the problem associated with that election was a blessing in disguise.
Reacting to calls by some sections of the society to stagger the 2015 elections, the INEC boss said: “We are not staggering elections in 2015; having problems in Anambra State does not mean that we will not be able to handle the 36 states of the federation plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). In fact, it is going to be a lot easier for us. But, I want to say that I see the problem associated with Anambra State election as a blessing in disguise because we were thinking that it was going to be error-proof.
According to him, “And that would have made us to be a little bit complacent, thinking that everything is okay. We see this as an eye opener and it has compelled, us to crosscheck ,our crossed T's and dotted I's again. Beyond that, we need to also point out that there is the problem of the people, who constitute electorate, being nonchalant about checking their names during display.”
On voters’ register, Ogunmola said the commission had commenced de-duplication of double registrants ahead of the 2015 elections.
He disclosed that the number of registered voters in Lagos State would drop, adding: “The figure for Lagos is going to drop because double registration will be removed and when we display, people will now be able to see whether their names are still there or not.”
Ogunmola assured the electorate that continuous voter registration would afford them the opportunity to register so that their data would be recorded.
He said those who registered twice following the commission’s instructions to them would not be penalised and would be given the opportunity of registering normally so as to capture their full details.
On voters' apathy, the commissioner argued that it would not solely be the responsibility of INEC to remove apathy as witnessed in Anambra State.
“The contestants and the parties are the ones looking for votes, so they should also be involved in mobilising people for election,” he said.
Ogunmola, however, urged the commission’s to do its best noting that “most of the funds we demand for election are spent on training and educating our officers on how to enlighten the people.”
“That is why I do not blame people that are complaining about the amount INEC estimated for 2015 election because they have little knowledge about its operations.” he said.