Thursday, July 8, 2010
I was honored to be invited by the Nigerian Institute of Management to speak on "Managing the 2011 Election Process," on July 1, 2010, to a crowd of management experts of nearly 250 guests, along with other lecturers. My remarks (the full text of my speech found here) focused on the importance of where Nigerians want Nigeria to be after the 2011 election. I began by celebrating the achievements of Nigeria as it approaches its 50 independence celebration and reflections of the achievements of this great nation. These are key milestones for this dynamic country. I noted challenges for Nigerians in their 51st year of independence in 2011 and what outcomes they want in leadership to better address and respond to the needs in social sector development from agriculture, education, health, and fighting corruption. I highlighted USG assistance in these areas as well as the election assistance we are providing to INEC, civil society and political parties to encourage more democratization in the electoral process. As of today -- possibly 6 months out from the elections -- in order for Nigeria to be ready logistically, every month from now until election 13 million voters would need to be registered or verified every month ... meaning everyday 500,000 voters would need to be registered or verified or 50,000 voters every hour. This is just an example of the tasks that lie ahead. The United States is behind Nigeria and we will do as much as possible to support credible elections, but in the end the political by all Nigerians in the political process must be there first and foremost.