THE Penultimate Step to Nigeria’s 2011 Elections
Nigeria is on the march again looking for credible and noble representatives at local,state and federal tiers of government.And the people of this great nation have been called out once more to carry out there civic obligations by partaking in the country’s voters registration exercise.
The voters registration programme is a compulsory nationwide exercise aimed at registering eligible individuals of ages 18 and above whose votes would empower them to elect the candidates of their choice into different electoral posts.Nigeria is on the verge of making history by virtue of her ability to conduct her fourth consecutive and hopefully successful democratic polls come April 2011.The country has proven that it is ready to emulate the factors that aided the development and civilisation of the Western countries by shunning vices that would deter her economic and political growth.This is evident in the continuous sensitisation programmes dished out by the Federal Government on a regular basis to enlighten and remind the people on the need to shun ethnic and religious violence and embrace one another and other issues that address the needs of the Nigerian people.For these and other positive reasons every eligible voter sets out to perform his/her civic duty irrespective of their shortcomings.The exercise this time welcomes a host of unique changes,ranging from the dissolution of the use primary and secondary school teachers as registering officers to the adoption of National corps members as registering officers and also the scrapping-off of the old voters register many touted would serve the country well to the introduction of the new registeration devices.This particular change had to be made due to the failure of the old system of registeration.On this ground,the Federal Government by the recommendation of the INDEPENDENT NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION (INEC) Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega introduced to Nigerians the new devices that would aid for an incident-free and effective voters registration exercise.The device is called the DIRECT DATA CAPTURE MACHINE (DDC machine).But with all these progressive changes made,it is universally noted “that with new changes comes new challenges”.For purpose of clearity,the DDC machine comprises of a laptop,fingerprint scanner,printer,a USB hub,a webcam,an external hard disc drive and a life power pack.All these gadgets are housed in an aluminium pack for proper guard.Eligible voters are registered electronically and given their cards ahead of the elections that is why the federal government opted to induct National youth corpers:These are graduates from universities across the federation currently drawn up to serve the Nation compulsoryly for a year.The new experiment would need the adequate knowledge of these corpers on computers to come in play to ensuring a successful outing.Of course they had orietations,seminars and finally examinations were conducted to select the most appropriate individuals for the job.Admist uncertainties,the exercise kicked-off on the 15th of January and one day to end the the exercise going by the initial programme plan of INEC before the new extension that was approved by the federal government,two-quater of the eligible voting society were left behind owing to few or absence of registering centres and workers in the private sector who bearly have the time to participate due to their high demanding jobs.These caused the federal government to extend the exercise and state governors of all 36 states including the federal capital territory across the the country seized the oppurtunity and decleared the extension period public holidays so these individuals would obtain their sole tickets to credibly partake in the forth coming general elections.Its not yet hurray as hitches stemming from presonnel dysfunction,soft and hard ware challenges,shortage of registering centres in some communities and a series of other issues has so far graced the programme.These issues has raised questions from different quaters as to how competent enough the organising body set itself out to carry out such a huge task without adequate and back-up plans.In an effort to ensure that the Nigerian masses are rewarded for bearing through these rigours and still encourage the federal government by turning out for the exercise,the state governments in the federation are offering different motivational packages from free bus rides to scholarships and other incentives to the delight of her indigenes.With all these so far one can only hope that the estimated target of 70 million can be met,we are on optimistic Nation,so why not! Already,the good people of Nigeria have reaffirmed their desires by playing instrumental roles to ensure the success of the exercise and also forsee a successful democratic elections. In the light of these,Nigerians in the diaspora are arriving en mass as well to witness and participate in the elections because lately they have been encouraged by the developmental reforms going on in the country and they will be expecting a free and fair election.To crown it up,NIgerians are very certain that their desired leaders when elected into office will not disappoint.Yours sincerely believes this too.
NIGERIA:GOOD PEOPLE,GREAT NATION.