- The CLEEN Foundation’s Elections Security Support Centre (ESSC) is deeply disturbed by the decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to reschedule the general elections originally scheduled for Saturday 16thFebruary and March 2nd
- The CLEEN Foundation’s assessment of the development is that it raises various safety and security concerns that should be handled carefully to avoid further challenges. These include but not limited to citizens’ security, security of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials, the security of electoral personnel and safety of observers.
- We are concerned that sensitive election materials deployed into the public domain may be compromised, if adequate security measures are not taken to safeguard them. CLEEN Foundation therefore recommends that INEC and security agencies must ensure that the materials are not compromised.
- CLEEN Foundation further recommends that security agents deployed for election duty should be adequately resourced to enable them deliver on their mandate, in view of the consequences of the sudden rescheduling.
- All INEC officials and ad-hoc staff, especially members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), deployed for election duty should be protected (especially those in volatile areas) and necessary provision made available to enable them discharge their duties effectively across the federation.
- It is important to note that human and material resources have been lost as a result of this rescheduling despite repeated assurances from INEC informing Nigerians that they are ready to conduct the elections. We therefore call on INEC to be more transparent and proactive in communicating with Nigerians and strategic partners on their logistics and operational challenges.
- Finally, the rescheduling offers INEC a window of opportunity to reclaim its credibility and enhance its capacity to conduct free, fair, peaceful and credible elections. INEC needs to convince stakeholders and the international community that this action is for the effective delivery of its mandate towards deepening democracy in Nigeria.
Benson C. Olugbuo, Ph.D