The success and credibility of the 2019 general elections can be guaranteed if the federal government rejigs current leadership structures of the electoral umpire and security operatives.
Such overhaul will not only inject vibrancy into the system but keeps everyone on toes as the nation prepares for a crucial election that is likely to determine the fate of Nigeria democracy as well as build confidence in the nation’s electoral processes.
According to the Security and Forensic Studies Nigeria Chief Executive Officer,Ambassador Okocha Morgan, the sanctity of the 2019 general elections will depend on the transparency, credibility and the free and fair manner with which the INEC conducts the exercise.
Further, he said unless the security operatives deployed to assist in the provision of some level of security and protection of the people and electoral materials render their services devoid of partisanship, the 2019 elections could go down in history as the most compromised.
The Ambassador therefore urged the federal government to safeguard the sanctity of the election by considering some measures of reorganisation of the INEC in a manner that will ensure that its officials remain neutral and unblemished in the conduct of the election.
“We have engaged stakeholders including the political parties, INEC officials and even some public office holders and the consensus is that these agencies require some measure of overhaul to bring freshness and restore confidence in the system.
“We have also engaged forensic experts on electioneering and the consensus is that politicians do not have to resort to violence to authenticate the mandate freely given to them, instead the use of carefully collated forensic evidence could be the tool they need to establish their claim to the mandate.
“This has further been strengthened by the amendment of the Evidence Act which admits the use of electronic device to collate whatever evidences one can use to generate fact and establish claim.
“So, we urge the political parties, their candidates, agents and even the security operatives to desist from use of brute force and intimidation of the electorate including suspected thugs because with the amended Evidence Act they can gather their forensic evidences using certain simply apparatus that are admissible in the court”, he said.
Also, he called on the federal government to seek the services of external forensic experts rather than rely on the expert opinions of its own staff in cases such as those handled by the INEC and the police.
Similarly, Morgan pleaded with sister security agencies to share intelligence especially as the general elections approaches stressing that it would help to nip violence in the bud as well as ensure a free and fair election exercise.