17th December, 2013
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said on Tuesday that it would conduct elections in states under emergency rule, if the security situation in those states improved.
The commission’s spokesperson, Mr Kayode Idowu, made the clarification in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega was widely quoted to have foreclosed elections in the three states under emergency rule. The States are Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, now under opposition All Progressives Congress.
Idowu explained that it was obvious that elections could not hold under such situation in the states.
He, however, said that the commission would conduct elections in the states if the security situation improved before the 2015 general elections.
“It is simple logic that state of emergency is martial rule in which armed soldiers are in control of daily routine in these states.
“So INEC cannot deploy its workers to these areas and cannot also guarantee the safety of the electorate,’’ Idowu said.
However, INEC expressed the hope that the security situation would improve to enable it to conduct the 2015 general elections.
The opposition APC is yet to respond to INEC’s position.
Meanwhile, Mr Alaba Yusuf, the Media Advisor to the Chairman of People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), said INEC should allow voters in the three states to exercise their franchise.
He said that there should be enough justification not to hold general elections in the states in 2015.
Yusuf said that INEC should consult with the political parties before taking a decision to hold general elections in February 2015.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Atahiru Jega had earlier said that the commission would prefer to hold the general elections in February 2015.
He said that the measure was necessary to enable the commission to address likely challenges that could arise from the elections before the actual hand over to a new government in May.