Jega, as a Scholar Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide Ahead of 2015 Election
As this year comes to an end many Nigerians here at home and abroad
continue to dream of free and fair elections in Nigeria in 2015.
Prof. Attahiru Jega, in his infinite wisdom, and as the head of the
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is convinced that he and
his organization have enhanced preparations that will allow for smooth
elections next year. As for jega, the trustworthiness and steadiness of
any electoral system evolves overtime and could sometimes take hundreds of
years, like that of America.
Jega tells us that there is now a better voter's registration, permanent
voter cards have been issued, and all ballot boxes are now numbered
serially. He noted that all these are new implementations that did not
exist before 2010.
On a psychological level, assuming we now have a better voter's
registration, and all ballot boxes are now numbered serially, these plans
among others signal good news given that almost everyone dreams and wants
to see integrity in the electoral system. These election dreams, however,
may also contain some disturbances, in terms of predicting the future
outcome of the 2015 election, the presidential race especially.
For some reason, some of us may start having scary dreams in light of Mr.
Jonathan telling us recently to expect the presence of military and
security forces in the coming 2015 presidential election, and others as
usual may already be banking on the use of muggers/thugs and
Jega, do you support the presence of overwhelming military forces as part
of the security arrangements on election day manned with tanks and
AK47-wielding soldiers in the streets? You must tell now!
Jega, couldn't the presence of overshadowing military and security forces
as part of the security arrangements cause many voters to stay home,
instead of heading to polling places and booths, resulting in a dismally
low turnout? You must tell us now–How you will address this possible set
Sir, ahead of the 2015 general elections, with thousands of the Internally
Displaced Persons (IDPs) everywhere, what plans and arrangements do you
and the Independent National Electoral Commission have that will enable
IDPs to vote? And don't you dare say this “Na Oyinbo” or alien thing! You
must tell us now–What exactly has been mapped out for this human rights
As you know, we are currently in the pre-violence season ahead of the
national elections. Election-related homicides have begun already with
media reports of politicians being “shot dead” at either their residence
or office. You must tell us now–What exactly has been done to reduce
these vile incidents and how are you preparing to protect candidates from
enforced disappearances as we are soon likely to see?
Jega, your concern about safety and disorderly attitude of politicians is
pathetic, as this line of psychological acts is a longstanding Nigerian
reality. Instead, your concern should be more about the bribery-conscious
policeman and woman, and graft-addicted magistrate who, once in possession
of tainted money, will make sure the perpetrators and defendants do not
face appropriate justice. In other words, bribes will guarantee the safety
of defendants. You must tell us now–What exactly will be done to reduce
police/judicial and non-punishment of perpetrators?
Jega, ahead of the coming presidential, gubernatorial, and legislative
elections in regard to the last national elections, list the number of
successful investigations/prosecutions and convictions of fraud and other
irregularities, including vote rigging and buying, under-age voting, and
ballot stuffing, as well as cases of property destruction, security
violence, political homicides and near fatalities. You must tell us
now—How will we have some degree of assurance that election abuses and
violence will be fully investigated and prosecuted so that justice will be
Sir, at various public and private hospitals, there are many injured
victims of bomb blasts, firearms, knives and other forms of attack
instruments. Some of these victims are survivors but still hospitalized;
some of them have above-the-knee amputations. You must tell us now–What
special ballot provisions and arrangements have been made to enable them
Across the country, the North included, there are eligible voters which
include home-bound and physically disabled voters, and military members
and their family members mostly in the troubled northern areas. You must
tell us now–What special ballot provisions and arrangements have been
made to enable them to vote?
Prof. Jega, it is questioned how the voting rights of thousands of
persons will be safeguarded, especially as it relates to issues of angry
mobs, suicide bombings, Internally Displaced Persons, those who are
hospitalized and those with disabilities. Without specific safeguards,
will not the sanctity of the entire vote be undermined?
There is no doubt that with some States under emergency rule and the
presence of security and political-related crises, the outcome of the
election nationally could be significantly affected. But making greater
efforts to reduce several of these challenges could help support the
argument that the results of the presidential, senate and lower house
are, at a minimum, generally valid, and, with that, the hopeful result
that the nation will not be plunged into further irreconcilable chaos.
Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic, Clinical and National
Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological
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