Before now, there has been some rumors going round that with the looks of things in the country that election may not hold next year after all. But the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has dismissed that as mere rumors.
This he said at the public presentation of the Nigerian Media Code of Election coverage that took place in Lagos on Wednesday.
“A lot of information being spread about elections not holding next year are just rumors and nothing more” Jega said while fielding questions from the media.
He however accepted as a fact that there were areas of the electoral process that were beyond the control of the INEC, Jega reiterated some earlier promises of the electoral body that the commission was prepared to conduct free and fare and transparent general elections come 2015.
“What I can guarantee you is that INEC as an electoral body is, prepared to conduct the elections in every part of the country.”
The commission’s confidence was in its preparedness.
“We have done a lot of training and retraining. We have a good working relationship with all the stakeholders. We have made arrangement for a better working condition for all INEC staff, and have increased their remuneration.
“We have also prepared for security during the process, and have introduced what we call election management security tool.” According to Jega, the tool which was first pioneered in Kenya, helps to assess security challenges ahead of the election and how such challenges can be mitigated.
According to Jega, one constraint that could likely pose as a challenge in the aftermath of next years’ elections was the ambiguity inherent in some sections of the Electoral Act, which he said was being amended in the National Assembly.
“We have been urging the lawmakers in the National Assembly for a long time to quicken the process of correcting the contradictions in some sections of the Electoral Act. We continue to appeal to them to speed up the process.”
Shifting whatever blames that may likely appear or seems to be disturbing to some, Jega said that he is confident in the overall process that INEC has taken to ensure a free and fare elections but what worries him is the conduct and dispositions of the politicians.
“Due to the conduct of our politicians who use election to divide based on ethnicity and religion, it becomes imperative that the media stakeholder report elections and the processes ethically and professionally.
“Also, all stakeholders must ensure that politicians play politics in decorum, and ensure that they do not use our young men in the conducts that are in defiance to existing laws and could derail the integrity of the process.”