The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has formally assured Nigerians that elections will hold in all parts of the country, including Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states which are currently under emergency rule.
There were fears last year that elections might not hold in the three North-East states after the INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega hinted that security concerns as a result of the activities of Boko Haram, might force the commission to boycott the states in 2015.
But speaking yesterday at a media session organised by INEC and the United Nations Democratic Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Democracy Project in Abuja, Jega said the commission would do its “best and conduct elections in every part of the country in 2015”.
Jega, who also said that one million Nigerians would be prosecuted for double registration, however admitted that insecurity posed a serious threat to the commission’s mandate.
He said, “Insecurity is a serious challenge to the commission and the entire electoral process. But we are ready to conduct election in any situation. Security challenges are enormous, be it Boko Haram, kidnapping or even armed robbery.
“Elections can be conducted under situations of emergency rule. But all we are saying is that elections will be free and fair where there are minimal security challenges. Under a situation of emergency, many things are likely to happen, either people will be scared of coming out or they will come out and run into security cordons and be molested by security agents.
“Our hope is that by 2015 we will be able to conduct elections in all parts of the country. We are ready to conduct the elections everywhere in this country in 2015. We hope that security challenges will be minimal for us to conduct elections in 2015 and when we get to the bridge, we will cross it”, he assured.