Friday, 17 December 2010

President Jonathan vows to ensure a fair election

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he will ensure that the country's election poll, set to take place in April next year, will be credible and free from interference. He said he would uphold his duty as the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) by ensuring that the vote is fair and added “I will accept no less than what I have called for in The Republic of Côte d'Ivoire in Nigeria during and after the 2011 elections which are free and fair elections that are seen to be so by the average man."

As the head of ECOWAS Jonathan called on all the parties involved in the Cote D'Ivoire electoral process, to respect proper procedure and ensure it was conducted according to the rules set out by the Independent Electoral Commission.

Speaking about the forthcoming Nigerian elections, Jonathan asked all Nigerians to be steadfast and work with him to ensure a transparent electoral process in 2011. He also mentioned the recently stolen new voter registration equipment, which went missing from Murtala Muhammed international airport in Lagos.

"I specifically want to mention the stolen Direct Data Capture machines. I am glad that the police have lived up to their responsibilities and have made arrests and recovery of items. This is laudable and should be supported by everyone," Jonathan said.

He also added that his administration has taken steps to ensure that breaking the law will not be tolerated. Jonathan assured Nigeria that the stolen Direct Data Capture equipment has not interfered with the process that will lead to credible elections.

Jonathan finished by saying that the election process will be devoid of the “win at all cost” syndrome and said that “there shall not be any do or die elections… every vote will count and the results will be sacrosanct no matter who wins.”

On Thursday 16th December, twenty of Nigeria's most powerful state governors said they will support Jonathan as the ruling party's candidate in next year's election. Jonathan's decision to run next year has attracted some controversy as the ruling party has a pact which stipulates that power should be rotated between the largely Muslim north and the mostly Christian south every two terms.

A recent cable released by WikiLeaks revealed that Jonathan had doubts about his presidential bid and told US Ambassador Robin Sanders that he would only consider running if he was persuaded to do so. The cable also said that Jonathan was keen to “put into place an electoral structure that will be ready for national elections,” and ensure their transparency.

Source: Africa News, Indepth Africa, Reuters, Vanguard

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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