INEC Chair Asks Officially for Elections Postponed to March 2011
Nigeria’s chief election commissioner formally asked on Wednesday for a three-month delay to January’s presidential elections, saying more time was needed to iron out problems with voter registration.
“What is worth doing is worth doing well,” Independent National Election Commission (INEC) Chairman Attahiru Jega said at a meeting with political parties to discuss possible delays to the January vote.
“If we are willing to give an extension up to March, our preference is that we should get an extension up to April because when we get this sufficient time, we will have enough room to do an excellent job,” he said.
Africa’s most populous nation is due to hold presidential, parliamentary and state governorship elections in January, but INEC has warned it is in a race against time to amend a deeply flawed electoral roll.
It said on Sunday the May 29 date for the inauguration of the winner of the presidential election would remain “sacrosanct” even if the voting timetable were amended.
President Goodluck Jonathan is the favourite to get the nomination for the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which has won all three presidential races since the end of military rule in 1999.
But the struggle to secure the PDP ticket is more contentious than in previous years. The party has failed to reach a consensus over Jonathan, a southerner who inherited the top job when president Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner, died earlier this year during his first term in office.
Some PDP officials say the nomination should go to a northerner this time because of an unwritten agreement that power should rotate between north and south every two terms. Continued…
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