The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, has warned those contemplating to rig the 2015 general elections to have a rethink because it will be a near futile attempt to do so.
He said reforms in the commission were aimed at making the 2015 exercise a foolproof one adding that permanent voter cards would be issued to Nigerians before the end of the year.
Jega made this known at the annual dinner and awards night organised by the Olivet Baptist High School in Lagos on Sunday.
According to him, “When we came in, Nigerians were complaining about the credibility of the voter register, which is vital to ensuring the credibility of the elections. What we found in place was that the voter register had to be redone, if we are serious about having free and fair and credible elections.
“We now have a very rich biometric data base of 73.5 million which has phone numbers of Nigerians. I believe it is the best that we have in this country presently. We were able to catch almost a million multiple registration and removed them from the data base before the 2011 elections.
“We are going to issue permanent voter cards. As I speak, we have received from the contractor over 20 million of the voter cards from contractors. By the end of this year, we will begin to introduce them.”
Jega said the cards, which were micro chips imbedded, would only be useful to the owners.
“The species of Nigerian politicians are probably the most reckless in the world, because they come with that attitude that is often mentioned – the attitude of do or die” he said.
“So, politicians, as we saw it in 2011 will gather some people and purchase their cards and give to them to go and vote. They can still buy these cards; but even if they succeed in buying these cards, in 2015, it will be useless.”
The INEC chairman however stressed the need for training, public enlightenment, and attitudinal change of members of the public in order to surmount some of the challenges that the new process would pose.
“We have spent the last one year planning vigorously. And our objective is to make the 2015 elections much better and make INEC one of the most reputable electoral bodies in the world,” he said.