•Worried over strength of INEC’s server

By Henry Uche 

Former chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega has cautioned politicians and other stakeholders in the February 25 and March 11 polls to play by the rules or it may not be credible, free nor fair. 

Speaking yesterday at a virtual Townhall, an initiative of Africa Leadership Group (ALG), Nigeria Leadership Series, the former 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 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. More-so, 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,” he said. 

He  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”

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Jega said foreign bodies are interested in Nigeria’s politics, because the country was rated low because its 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 said. He also 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 said. 

Jega frowned over some political candidates’ failure to honour domestic invites for public debates, whereas same candidates quickly rush to honour foreign invitations like Chatham House in UK which recently hosted some political candidates from the country. 

Similarly, 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 said.