goodluck jonathan2.jpgNigeria has only four months to register voters and sort its electoral system ahead of the oil-rich nation’s presidential election in January 2011.


The Independent National Electoral Commission announced on Tuesday that the presidential election would be held on January 22, sandwiched between a January 15 election for the National Assembly and a January 29 election for state offices.


In the interim, the commission plans create a new registry for an estimated 70 million eligible voters in Africa’s most populous nation.

However, the commission has yet to even order the computers it plans to use in November to register voters across Nigeria’s sprawling cities and rural villages, nor has it begun to hire the estimated 50, 000 poll workers it will need to run the election, leading some to wonder whether the coming polls will mirror the nation’s ballot-box stuffing past.


“I think we can achieve a modicum – and I underline that word – a modicum of credibility,” said Innocent Chukwuma, a Nigerian poll monitor now teaching at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


“The time is too short to expect them to perform magic.”


Many applauded Jonathan for appointing Attahiru Jega, an academic with popular appeal, as the new leader of the national electoral commission.


However, the commission has yet to purchase the equipment needed to make an entirely new voter registry, as many considered the 2007 list riddled with errors and fraud.