Blame politicians for rigging – JegaINEC Politics, Latest Politics Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega,on Wednesday, blamed Nigerian politicians for the intractable level of malpractices in the electoral process.
Jega, who spoke in Benin, Edo State, during a meeting with stakeholders, noted that until Nigerian politicians were determined to see that elections were free and fair, the system would remain tainted.
The INEC boss who was reacting to alleged text messages in circulation claiming that the commission had moved some collation centres, noted that the rumour was false.
“INEC has not changed and does not intend to change any collation centre.
“Changing any centre is illegal and will lead to cancellation. Nigerian politicians are a special species; they do all sorts of things. These things are caused by the politicians and unless they change their attitudes, not much can be achieved,” he said.
Jega, who was flanked by the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, and senior security officials, said the election would be free and fair.
He added that the election materials would be officially moved from the Central Bank of Nigeria today(Thursday), noting that arrangements had been made to ensure the security of all the documents.
Jega maintained that the 192 wards would be effectively covered by the officials deployed in all parts of the state.
On the late arrival of materials in the past, Jega said the distribution of election materials had been decentralised, insisting that from now on, the issue of late arrival of materials would be dealt with.
“It was difficult for early commencement of elections in the past because materials did not arrive on time.
“Before now, materials would move from the highest level to the wards and polling booths, but the system has been decentralised and the long process has been shortened.”
Jega warned that security agencies would apprehend and prosecute electoral offenders during the July 14 Edo governorship poll.
“Even if the offender is a permanent INEC or ad hoc staff, I want to repeat that anybody who commits electoral fraud on election day will be arrested and prosecuted in line with the electoral guide lines.’’
According to him, the order on the restriction of movement on the day of the election would be fully enforced.
“There would be no VIP movement or convoy of any sort on election day. We are saying that in accordance with the law, VIP convoy of any sort is banned as we have done in all previous elections.”
All the parties participating in the poll on Saturday had earlier sought clarification on the arrangements on the ground to ensure that the elections were credible.
Abubakar warned officers and men of the force against compromising at their posts. He said erring officers would be disciplined.
“This election is a test case for us and for this country for us to see if we can get our acts together and conduct a free and fair election. Therefore, we expect you to provide safety and security for the electorate to perform their civic responsibility,” he said.
He assured the police personnel that he had brought all the allowances that they would be paid for the exercise.
“So, we do not expect any compromise. That is to say that you do not have to depend on any individual to feed for any reason,” he warned.
The IG particularly warned the police personnel to be firm but polite to the electorate who they were expected to protect. “We shall not tolerate from any officer any act of indiscipline in whatever manner or form. If you allow yourself to be used by anybody, you will have yourself to blame. The time has passed when you get away with such compromise.
“I expect partnership with other security agencies. We have one common goal and one common interest. And that is paramount,” he said.
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