The Nigeria civil Society has called on President Jonthan and the National Assembly to urgently address the finacial request by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to enable the commission fast track the preparations for the 2011 general elections.

The group in a press release yesterday in Abuja decried the attitute of politicians in releasing the money requested by INEC despite the urgency. The release, a copy of which was made available to Destination Nigeria in the Hague  by Mr Nengak Daniel Gondyi of the Centre for Democracy and Development(CDD) Abuja  reads in parts:

“it is no longer news that INEC, from the assessment of its Chairman requires in-depth institutional restructuring, planning and execution; if its repositioning effort to deliver on its core mandate of free, fair and credible election in 2011 is anything to go by. With no intention to venture into the multi-pronged implications of the Constitutional Amendment which could make INEC prostrate, let us understand and appreciate the fact that huge funds are required for a series of equipment procurement and trainings on a nationwide scale. There would be serious consequences of not adequately resourcing the entire electoral process as eloquently demanded by the Commission.

It is needless and counter-productive watching government and the National Assembly engage in dramatic motions without movement as they both keep sealed-lips over Professor Jega’s legitimate request for urgent release of N74b on or before the 11th of August to facilitate INEC’s preparation for the elections. He has explained that not meeting with the deadline for the funds requested has dire consequences for our concern about organizing and having credible elections in Nigeria.

Professor Jega as we learnt has met with the President on the issue; he has also met with the leadership of both Chambers of the National Assembly yet no positive outcomes. What else should the INEC Chairman do to further convey this emergency message of this nature with a National call to duty to the authorities? Meanwhile, the President has not sent a supplementary appropriation Bill to the National Assembly and our Legislators have gone on a two-month break.

Members of the Civil Society group have watched with keen interest and can no longer stand arms akimbo or (sit-down look) as the build-up to this potentially obstructive National calamity unfolds”

The group which is an amalgamation of all the Civil Society Groups in Nigeria made the following Demands:

“The President should as a matter of urgent National importance send a Supplementary Appropriation Bill detailing the financial requirements of INEC for the consideration and passage by the National Assembly

The National Assembly should as a matter of urgent National importance cut short their recess and influence the process by not depriving INEC of funds

The Nigerian people should rise and condemn the unbecoming attitude of the National Assembly and the inability of the Presidency to send a supplementary appropriation Bill to the NASS
Nigerian people can no longer tolerate moves by individuals or groups (no matter how highly placed they may be) who may want to use their positions to mitigate our whims and caprices in the search for credible elections in Nigeria.

President Goodluck Jonathan should show a sense urgency to make our policy commitment happen; because at 50 years Nigeria should have been a Global force to reckon with politically. Now the world is watching to see how political events will unfold.” NOW IS TIME TO ACT, they warned!

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