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Jega, as a Scholar Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide Ahead of 2015 Election

Source: pointblanknews.com
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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

assassinations.
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

back?
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

concern?
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

served?
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

to vote?
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

Association.
 
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