There were people who were of the opinion that if the first leg of the general elections held last Saturday February 14, as originally scheduled; there would be a lot of controversy in the air this week.
The election did not hold, but the noise about why the timetable needed readjustment did not subside. Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, insists that the commission was ‘substantially ready’ for the conduct of the poll. The shift in dates, he said, was necessitated by the advice of security chiefs that they would not be able to provide adequate security cover for election officers, since they would be engaged with efforts to rout insurgents in the northeast.
Then tongues started wagging: there are allegations that materials including permanent voters’ cards, PVCs, were still being printed abroad; that training of election personnel and provision of training manuals were being treated with levity.
But Kayode Idowu, chief press secretary to the INEC chairman, in an interview with Tajudeen Suleiman, senior associate editor, contests these allegations. His views and our findings are reflected in the story, How Jega Was Rescued, written by Anayochukwu Agbo, general editor and Abuja bureau chief.
The special interview with Owolabi Elabanjo, an agriculture expert with the Food and Agriculture Organisation, dwells on how agriculture is the required antidote to our ailing economy. In the interview conducted by Salif Atojoko, deputy general editor, business and special projects and Juliana Uche-Okobi, assistant editor, Elabanjo, who has worked with the United Nations agency for over 15 years, expressed concern that otherwise fertile land is being wasted, even while the authorities glossed over the responsibility to reduce poverty in the country. So, what effort is he making to contribute to the implementation of this suggestion? We invite you to meet with the man who soon after the interview flew out of Nigeria to provide service to one of the developed countries in the world.
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