…Worried over strength of INEC server, poor voter education
By Henry Uche
As eligible voters in Nigeria get set to cast their votes in February 25, the immediate past chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has cautioned that politicians must play by the rules else the polls may not be credible, free nor fair.
Speaking yesterday at a virtual Townhall – an Initiative of Africa Leadership Group (ALG), Nigeria Leadership Series, the past INEC boss also expressed worry over the strength of the Commission’s Server (website) owing to the activities of internet fraudsters (hackers).
Jega who recalled how the Commission’s website was attacked when he held sway at the commission charged the current leadership of INEC to up its game in this regard to avoid a fiasco.
“It would be in the interest of everyone if politicians play by the rules. Nigerians deserve nothing but credible, free and fair elections. Moreso, INEC must not let invaders have their way into their website. Some hackers are being hired and paid to cause disruption. Some of to them just have the ingenuity. We experienced it on the day of election when I was in charge but we resolved it within a very short time,”
The political scientist who urged Nigerians to deploy credible criteria to weigh and choose who to vote for, howbeit decried the dearth of competent candidates in the body polity of Nigeria saying, “Good people either sit on the fence or they keep away from politics. If men and women who meant well for Nigeria continue to stand aloof, those who use ethnicity, religion and other primordial identity to divide people would continue to hold sway. Good a thing there are competent candidates, let Nigerians see themselves and choose wisely.
“As for why foreign bodies are interested in our politics, we know Nigeria is rated low because our elections are characterized by impunity. For this reason and more, I am a strong advocate for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission which shall help to curb so many anomalies- politically,”
He sued for citizens’ actions -before, during and after their casting votes if a generally accepted elections results must be guaranteed.
“The law allows you to stay, watch and monitor the votes and processes and ensure that the presiding officer do the needful, else desperate politicians would hijack and pollute the whole process. We must not be lackadaisical in this election,”
He frown over some political candidates’ failure to honour domestic invites for public debates, whereas the same candidates quickly rushed to honour foreign invites like the Chatham House which recently hosted some political candidates.
He charged political parties to engage in massive voter education and sensitization exercises as informed voters means a lot in the entire processes. “Voter education and sensitization is part of the responsibilities of political parties,”
Similarly, the Chairman & Founder of ALG- Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, said the Group would intensify efforts to push more discussions on rebuilding Nigeria to a greater height.
“The African Leadership Group (ALG) would sincerely keep the faith to promote good governance, accountability, equitable and judicious use of both human and natural resources and designed to address the leadership dilemma in Nigeria and the African continent at large,” he maintained.