Jonathan signs amended electoral act

President Goodluck Jonathan signs electoral billNigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed an amended electoral act on Friday that should clear the way for the country’s electoral commission to finalize the timetable for presidential and parliamentary polls.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) warned on Wednesday that uncertainty over the legal framework for next year’s polls and funding problems were delaying its efforts to overhaul the voter register and ensure a credible vote.

“(The bill) contains fundamental changes aimed at improving the conduct of elections in our country,” Jonathan said after signing the amended act.

The changes include giving INEC more time to finalize the voters’ register and bring the electoral act in line with a constitutional amendment passed by parliament last month, which would bring polls forward to January from April.

There is still debate over whether Jonathan must also approve that constitutional amendment.

INEC said it had not yet received a signed copy of the amended electoral act, but has said it would be able to release a timetable for the polls once it did so.

Overhauling the voters’ register is vital if Africa’s most populous nation is to avoid a repeat of shambolic 2007 polls, whose credibility was undermined by ballot-stuffing and an electoral roll riddled with fictitious names. Finance Minister Olusegun Aganga said an 88 billion naira ($585 million) budget for INEC, approved by parliament last week, had also been released to the commission.

“INEC now has gotten all it needs to do its job,” Aganga told reporters following the signing ceremony.

INEC had said delays in receiving the funds were hindering its ability to prepare for the polls.


One thought on “Jonathan signs amended electoral act

  1. Obinna Gaspar Ibole

    Let all doubting Thomases now get convinced that Mr president has nothing to hide in his wardrobe.
    He is showing his determination to move the nation forward and it is up to us now to play our own part. Register when asked to do so. Vote when asked to do so. Ask the Candidates questions when they mount the rostrum. Not sale our voter’s card for any bag of rice or for any amount. Not accept those we know are the NO GOODS to lead us again. To VOTE for candidates of our choice not PARTY. To monitor how the 87.5 billion is dispensed. And to welcome the NEW NIGERIA that we have been clamouring for.

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