Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Thursday blamed politicians and stakeholders, for working against the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country.
Jega stated that Nigerians deserved to have credible and hitch-free polls, but politicians and other stakeholders like the security agencies had consistently frustrated the desire of the electorate to vote for the candidates of their choice.
He made the remark in a key note address at a one-day workshop on ‘Securing the 2015 Elections’, organised for Command Commissioners of Police by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the Nigeria Police, on Thursday in Abuja.
He said, “Nigerians have aspired for democracy; they have aspired for free, fair and credible election for the deepening and consolidation of democracy, but this aspiration has been continuously frustrated to the extent that one can say that many Nigerians have been wondering about whether democracy is worth it.
“Regrettably, the series of elections that we have had, the choice of the voter has in most cases been truncated. This is either by actions or inactions of the electoral commission or by the very aggressive and fraudulent conduct of participants in the electoral process”.
According to the INEC boss, in some other cases, the frustration experienced by voters was as a result of the actions or inactions of security agencies, who were supposed to secure the electoral process.
He, therefore, called on all stakeholders to do what was expected of them to ensure a free, fair and credible elections in 2015.
Jega described the police as an important partner and urged it to collaborate more with the commission to ensure that the 2015 elections were devoid of crisis.
He also commended them, saying they had improved on their performances so far but added that more still needed to be done to secure the 2015 elections.
To give voters a sense of security in order to exercise their franchise, Jega noted that at least three unarmed policemen and other security personnel are needed to man each polling station during the election.
Earlier, the Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, assured that the police would provide adequate security for the election.
He said, “The task of providing adequate security during the electoral process is one of the most daunting challenges confronting security agencies today.
“The Nigeria Police, being the lead agency will, with the cooperation and assistance of sister agencies do everything that it can to secure the electoral officers, materials and voters”.