12th December, 2014
Professor Attahiru Jega, Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has identified insecurity and inadequate funding as the challenges facing the conduct of 2015 general elections in the country.
Jega disclosed this during a lecture delivered on his behalf by Alhaji Nasir Ayilara, Oyo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, at NTA Ibadan, on Thursday.
“Three major challenges continue to face us as we approach 2015 and they are insecurity, funding, attitude of political class and inactive citizenry,” he said. The lecture was organised by the National Forum Of Heads Federal Establishments (NAFOHEADS), Oyo State chapter.
Jega explained that one of the epithets of elections in Nigeria was that they were said to be akin to war.
“Indeed, the heat and passion associated with elections in Nigeria often make elections appear like war.
“Pre-election violence has led to the death of many politicians, their supporters and innocent citizens,” he said.
The INEC boss, who called on voters to be law abiding, said that widespread intimidation of voters persisted and organised thugs spread fear across communities ahead of elections.
He said that several security threats now characterised the electoral process, including physical attacks on INEC staff and facilities, attacks on security personnel on election duty.
“Also, there is misuse of security orderlies by politicians; attacks on political opponents; cyber-attacks targeting INEC databases, especially the register of voters,” he said.
Jega, who disclosed that the threats were now made worse with insecurity in some parts of the country, expressed the hope that the development would be redressed to allow safe conduct of 2015 polls.
On the attitude of political class, he said that the use of language was in many cases, indecorous, encouraging supporters to follow suit with more intemperate language and ultimately fueling violence.
Worried about the spate of ex parte injunctions that were issued against the commission based on wrong selection procedures of candidates, Jega said that the need for even greater citizens participation could not be underestimated.
He called for active participation of citizens to ensure sustained engagement and participation in the political and electoral processes.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, who was represented by one of his special advisers, Alhaji Olawale Akibu, said that the administration was expecting INEC to deliver a credible election, come 2015.
“Oyo State Government is expecting INEC to allow fairness and level playing ground during the election,” he said.
He, however, commended the federal civil servants in the state for their contributions towards the development of the social and economic potentials.
Ajimobi restated the state’s commitment to ensure peace and stability in Oyo State.
The event was attended by the representatives of Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs and other federal agencies.