2015: Lagos Lawyer, Fred Agbaje Urges INEC To Conduct Elections In Troubled States

MR. FRED AGBAJE
MR. FRED AGBAJE

A Lagos based lawyer, Mr Fred Agbaje, has urged Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to ensure that the general elections were conducted in all states of the federation in 2015.

Agbaje, who spoke with News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Saturday, was reacting to INEC’s decision to conduct elections in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe only if their security situation improved.

He described the statement as an attempt to disenfranchise Nigerians in those states.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, recently announced that elections would not be conducted in the states if the emergency rule did not end before 2015.

Agbaje, a human rights activist, said

that non-conduct of elections in the three states would send wrong signals to the international community.

According to him, a denial of the right to vote negates the provision of the country’s Constitution.

“If individuals are denied the right to vote in these states, who will then represent them? I think this issue of insurgency is being over played in the country, and it is rather unfortunate.

“INEC should have been more positive by telling Nigerians that all necessary machineries will be put in place to ensure the successful conduct of elections in those states.’’

Another lawyer and social critic, Mr Spurgeon Ataene, said there was no provision in the constitution preventing the conduct of elections in states under emergency rule.

“When emergency rule is declared in any state, it simply means that adequate security measures have been put on ground to safeguard lives and property in that state.

“If INEC says it will not conduct elections in states under emergency rule due to insecurity, then it is saying that there is failure on the part of government to ensure adequate security.’’

Ataene stressed the need for every individual to be given the opportunity to vote in the forthcoming general elections.

He added that necessary steps should be taken to ensure a peaceful conduct of elections in those states.

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