ABUJA — THE Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, yesterday, warned that insecurity, funding and the attitude of the political class might threaten the success of 2015 general elections.
Professor Jega said this while addressing graduating partici-pants of Senior Executive Course 35 of the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, in Abuja.
Represented by Professor Okey Ibiano, Jega said: “The heat and passion associated with elections in Nigeria often make it appear like war.”
File photo: Police guard some INEC's voting material during election.
“It is not possible to predict all challenges that will face the management of an election. All we have done is to learn from past challenges and try to contain them. Still, some old challenges, willy-nilly, would persist and new ones are likely to emerge.
“Three major challenges continue to face us as we approach 2015, and for want of better characterisation I name them as insecurity, funding and attitude of the political class.
“One of the most depressing epithets of elections is that they are said to be ‘akin to war’.
“Pre-election violence has led to the death of many politicians, their supporters and innocent citizens. Wide-spread intimidation of voters persists and organised thugs spread fear across communi-ties in the build up to elections.
“In any case, elections in Nigeria often produce winner-takes-all outcomes in which losers lose everything and winners win everything, akin to payment of reparations by an enemy defeated in a war.
“In fact, election security has become a lasting issue facing the management of elections in Nigeria.
“The threats include physical attacks on INEC staff, facilities and databases, security per-sonnel, political opponents, misuse of orderlies by politi-cians, violence at campaigns, intimidation of voters, snatching and destruction of election materials, among others.”
He said the threats were now exacerbated by insecurity in some parts of the country, ma-king the conduct of elections in those parts more difficult.
He added that, “the key challenge facing the 2015 election is a widespread absence of moderation among our politicians.
“We are concerned about this because even if the management of elections meets the highest standard, insofar as the contestants are unwilling to play by the rules, there will be grave problems.
“INEC remains deeply concerned about rising conflicts within parties and among contestants.”