The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega has said that the penchant by the Nigerian politicians to cut corners at the expense of the acceptable convention posed a major impediment to free and fair election in the country.
Jega spoke at the Bayero University, Kano, BUK, yesterday, saying also that Nigerian politicians were ‘’too difficult to handle.’’
This was even as the INEC, Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, for Benue State, Prof. Istifanus Dafwang, yesterday, said that 7,000 PVC readers had been been received by his office in preparation for the general elections.
He said that the commission was not composed of magicians, pointing out the level of successes to be recorded by INEC in the forthcoming elections would depend on the cooperation of the people.
In his key note address at a lecture organized by the Political Science Department of the BUK, Jega further stated that the Nigerian political class considered election as an investment, adding the penchant to cut corners for perceived advantage had the potential to compromise INEC plan.
Jega said: “Good elections are not the business of the election managers alone. Politicians want to win by hook or by crook; they induce and entice INEC officials and if they fail, they threaten them because it is an investment that they want to win at all costs.
“INEC is not a magician, we can make mistakes. The problems with elections are enormous and most politicians don’t play by the rules, but the fact remains that we are democratising and it would take time to clear the Aegean stable and every stakeholder has to thrown in his/her best.”
He, however, noted that the commission had improved on the mistakes of the past to ensure a free, fair and credible election this year.
He reiterated that INEC had removed four million people from the voters register because of multiple registration, adding that the authentic voters register was now error proof and would be difficult for anyone, individual or group to manipulate.
According to him, foreign names like those of Queen Elizabeth, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali among others which used to find their ways into the nation’s voters registers had now been blocked, as the Permanent Voters’ Card, PVC, had security features that would ensure the arrest of whoever cloned the card through its card reader on presentation.”