From Okwe Obi, Abuja
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said the commission would not contract private security personnel to man polling units during next year’s general election.
Yakubu argued that the police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), among other were capable of carrying out their duties creditably.
He spoke yesterday in Abuja, at a book presentation titled: ‘Post-Election Assessment of Conflict Management Mechanisms in Nigeria, 2019 and Beyond,’ by Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.
Represented by Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Chuckwuemeka Ugboaja, he said: “As far as security is concerned, Nigeria has a formidable security agencies, the police is there, the military is there, the other intelligence agencies are there.
“So if they are there, why should Nigeria hire private security agencies? We believe in the efficacy.
“We very much believe in what they can do. And I trust that they will be able to police the nation very well, for the election to vote.
“Remember that in the election Ekiti and Osun States the police behaved well. They did a very good job.”
He noted that INEC would not cave in to threats and intimidation by saboteurs of the electoral process.
“But with that singular assurance, we have no doubt that hackers maybe tried in vain to go into the system to get or perform mayhem in the election Porter so it is a good actress from the coalition. Okay, so we are here talking
“Well, on flash point areas now. The Commission working very hard very hard in so is such areas where we have gotten threats, especially the areas where our our facilities are being burnt.
“The commission is working very hard with the security agencies the agency Consultative Committee on election security is working very hard to make sure that such there is enough mitigation to violence in such areas.
“And of course, the Commission cannot allow its will to be broken by all these trades, the committee, the committee, the chairman of the commission has also assured Nigerians that nothing will stop the commission from conducting elections throughout the country.
“So I think it would be better for those who are perpetrating mayhem or who are threatening hell and brimstone to forget about it and allow peace to reign in Nigeria allowed peace to reign in the electoral process. So that the the, the electoral the democratic process in Nigeria will not be truncated,” he said.
Also, a former Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, parried prediction of wide scale violence, arguing that before the 2015 elections, same fear was spread by those who wanted to truncate the exercise.
“All hands need to be on deck. All stakeholders need to be involved and also that we can ensure that we have peaceful and credible elections.
“Do not forget that before the 2015 general elections, Some other groups. In fact, some international so called partners, were predicting that that would be the end of Nigeria, you know, and it came to pass that we were able to prove to the world that we could do better,” he said.
The Book Presenter and Member of the Board, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, expressed worry that perpetrators of electoral violence hardly get punished because of impunity.
The former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, said: “The first is impunity.
“We know that in contexts such as ours, perpetrators of various crimes often go unpunished, but perhaps the most unpunished crimes are electoral offences.
“Secondly, the vast opportunities public office offers politicians means that they will seek to win office by all means.
“Finally, the enormous cost of prosecuting an election in Africa today means that even the politician most inclined to fair-play is not prepared to lose an election.
“Such a loss could easily turn a millionaire into a pauper, and this is an outcome politicians are unwilling to accept.”