Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Thursday blamed stakeholders, especially politicians, for frustrating the desire of Nigerians to have free, fair and credible elections in the country.
Jega made the remark in a keynote address at a one-day workshop on “Securing the 2015 Elections’’, organised for Command Commissioners of Police by the UNDP in collaboration with the police.
He said the frustration had gone to the extent that many Nigerians doubted whether democracy was worth it.
“Nigerians have aspired for democracy; they have aspired for free, fair and credible elections 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 voters 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,’’ he said.
According to him, in some other cases, the frustration comes from the actions or inactions of security agencies, who are supposed to secure the electoral process.
The INEC chairman, therefore, called on all stakeholders to do what was expected of them to ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2015.
He described the police as an important stakeholder and urged the force to collaborate more with the commission to ensure that the forthcoming elections were devoid of crisis.
He, however, commended them, saying they had improved in their performance so far, but added that they needed to do more to secure the 2015 elections.
According to him, at least three unarmed policemen and other security personnel are needed to man each polling station during election to give voters confidence to exercise their franchise.
Earlier, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abba, assured that the police would provide adequate security for the election.
“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 can be done to secure the electoral officers, materials and voters,” Abba said.