Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega has threatened not to stay in office a day longer the moment he is being pushed to do things that is not from his conscience.
Professor Jega who spoke at an interactive session in Chatham House, London yesterday, made it clear that for now he is not under pressure from any quarters on what INEC should do or not do on the 2015 general elections.
“No one can make me do what is against my conscience. I will walk away the day I feel I can’t do the job according to the dictates of my conscience”, he declared.
He added that whatever INEC does are in accordance with provisions of the law, logistics and the exigencies of the issues at hand, explaining that the recently released election timetable was premised on the commission’s capacity and resources.
Professor Jega said due to the enormity of the tasks and challenges involved, INEC is not yet ready to conduct all elections in one day, stressing that the commission would however go a step better in 2015 by staggering the elections over two days instead of the three days as was the case in 2011.
He said that it was logical to conduct national elections – presidential and National Assembly elections in one day and local elections – gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections – on another day, but lamented that whatever the sequence INEC chose to conduct the elections, people would still complain as it is difficult to satisfy everyone.
Professor Jega assured that the 2015 elections would be “much better than 2011” but expressed concern over the “must-win” and “do-or-die” attitude of some politicians whose mindset is to win at all costs.
He also criticized media practitioners in Nigeria for pandering to the propaganda of politicians instead of sticking to the dictates of their profession.
He called on all to support INEC in its onerous task to conduct free and fair elections, stressing that the task of ensuring credible elections in the country is not on the commission alone, but all stakeholders. [myad]