The Grand Patron of Legacy Initiative International (LLI), Chief Kenny Martins, has expressed confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
Martins who spoke in Lagos on Tuesday at an event to mark his 62nd birthday said although Professor Mahmood Yakubu might be feeling very challenged to surpass the performance of his predecessor, Professor Attahiru Jega, in 2015, he doesn’t see anybody trying to do less than what Prof. Jega did.
He said: “For now, unless something major happens, I have confidence in INEC’s capacity to conduct free and fair elections in 2019.
“The INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, must be feeling very challenged by the performance of Professor Attahiru Jega. But I don’t see anybody trying to do less than what Prof. Jega did.”
Martins explained that when Jega was the INEC chairman, there were also a lot of doubts about the elections but he was able to prove himself and everybody was satisfied and happy with what transpired, resulting in what is being seen today.
He said his interactions with top INEC officials showed that the level of preparations and the extent of scientific innovation were being introduced were commendable.
On the controversy surrounding the electoral guidelines which were not signed by President Buhari, he said the argument about it was neither here or there.
“With the guidelines on the ground which are almost what we have used to deliver in 2015, we will still survive and have a credible election.
On political thuggery and violence witnessed at some campaign rallies recently, he said the responsibility of having free and fair elections in the country also rests with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
“We need to appeal to our political leaders because it is the leadership that instigates either peace or chaos, not the followers.
“It is a sad testimony that at this time, Nigeria is still this debased to the extent of experiencing gunshots at every major election campaign rally, even in the presence of governors and the first ladies.
“The democratic experience that we have now, we pray that nothing should happen to take us back to those gloomy periods.”