WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Nigerian embassy hosted Nigeria's top election official for a media briefing to address the country's voting reforms as Nigeria approaches its 2015 general elections. With less than a week before President Goodluck Jonathan officially announces his re-election campaign, Nigeria remains committed to ensuring a peaceful and credible electoral process.
Since the end of the country's military rule in 1999, Nigeria has made significant progress in confronting corruption and increasing development. Fifteen years later, Nigeria prides itself as one of the strongest democracies and robust economies in West Africa.
During the press conference, Prof. Attahiru M. Jega, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC), remarked on the efforts the INEC has developed -- from security measures in place to education and registration programs that encourage nationwide voter turnout. He further called on the country's political leaders to "behave responsibly," and work alongside INEC as it prepares for the 2015 elections.
"Our efforts will be undermined if politicians come in with a do or die attitude. The imperative of peace is great as we strive to minimize the security challenges we face. It takes time to yield results but it is important that we begin now," Jega said. "2015 elections promise to be better. There are challenges Nigeria faces but I am optimistic. There are many good practices in place to ensure transparency."
To date, and in partnership with Nigerian federal and state security agencies and NGOs, INEC has:
- Improved the integrity of voter registration: INEC has registered more than 73 million voters across Nigeria through the distribution of voter registration cards. Residents in 24 of Nigeria's 36 states have received voter ID cards.
- Implemented technology to ensure authenticity of voters: INEC has introduced card readers at polling sites to screen voters and certify validity of identity;
- Developed extensive voter education program, teaching illiterate citizens how to register and what to do once at polling station;
- Engaged with political parties to brief key leaders on measures in place, as well as inspire trust and confidence across party lines;
- Partnered with federal security agencies to plan preventive measures and safeguard voters from violence leading up to and following elections;
- Identified and worked to fix areas susceptible to fraud within the electoral process.
"Nigeria is not only about Ebola, Boko Haram and Chibok girls," His Excellency Prof. Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, Ambassador from the Nigeria to the US, said during the conference. "Nigeria is a bastion of democracy that prides itself on its open elections."
Elections for the President and National Assembly members will take place on February 14, 2015. On February 28, 2015, the electorates will elect Governors and State Assembly representatives.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) serves as an independent and effective Election Management Body committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections for sustainable democracy in Nigeria. For more information, please visit http://inecnigeria.org.
These materials are distributed by LEVICK on behalf of the News Agency of Nigeria. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
SOURCE News Agency of Nigeria