Jega backs law to check deployment of soldiers, police during elections

Former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega, has backed a bill by the House of Representatives seeking to give the electoral body powers to control the movement of soldiers and other security personnel during elections.

Mr. Jega gave the support Tuesday at a public hearing organised by the lower legislative chamber.

The National Assembly had in its proposed amendment sought the insertion of a new paragraph (b) into Section 29(1) of the Electoral Act to limit the role played by the military to “securing the distribution and delivery of electoral materials”.

President Goodluck Jonathan has come under criticisms over the heavy deployment of security forces in Ekiti and Osun States during governorship elections there in June and August respectively, with the opposition All Progressives Congress accusing the security operatives of giving support to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Mr. Jonathan and the acting Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba, had defended the deployment in Osun State for the August 9 election, saying it was meant to forestall malpractices and break down of law and order.

At the public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, Mr. Jega said the proposed bill would indeed ensure that a level playing field was provided for all participants in the electoral process and that it was in agreement with what obtains all over the world.

“On the insertion of a new Section 29 (1) (b) to empower INEC to control security agencies at election time, there are a few countries that are doing this because they feel it is a good practice,” he said.

“In fact, in some of the countries, the entire management of the security forces in the period of the election is given to the electoral management body. We did not recommend this because people are already accusing us of taking too much power. But if other stakeholders agree with this recommendation, it would help sanitise the electoral process.”

The INEC chairman also backed a proposed amendment of the Act to pave way for the introduction of Electronic and Diaspora voting as well as the extension of the time to conduct run-off election for the offices of the president and governor.

He called for a shift of the conduct of a run0ff election from seven days to three weeks and 41 days. According to him, this was the practice in other democracies.

Mr. Jega however ruled out the possibility of Nigerians in the Diaspora voting during the 2015 general elections because of the late amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

He however said they would be accommodated in future elections.

On the electronic voting, the INEC chairman, who disclosed that the Commission proposed 23 amendments to the Electoral Act 2006, said it would not also be used in the 2015 poll.

Declaring the public hearing open, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, said the amendment process was aimed at providing a level playing field for the next elections.

According to him, this would ensure free, fair and credible conduct of the polls.

“As we approach the date for national general elections, it is important that we tidy up every aspect of the regulations governing the conduct of our elections.

“We believe that if our electoral law is technically and morally sound, it will go a long way in ensuring that we have free and fair elections in 2015 and beyond. For the avoidance of doubt, the purpose of this Act is to ensure a level playing field for all participants in the electoral process and for a more transparent process of conducting elections in Nigeria,” the speaker said.

“In a way, it is sad that 15 years after the return of our great country to democratic rule we are still talking about free and fair elections, autonomy of INEC, legal frame work of states’ INEC, time frame of elections, participation of physically challenged persons in our elections, conduct of politicians, internal party democracy, order of elections, voters’ registration and accreditation, and debates by candidates, just to mention a few.

“However, we must look at democracy as a journey towards establishing for our nation a more perfect system of government. So, at every stage, we must be willing to take corrective measures that will ensure that we do not miss our way and arrive at the wrong destination.”


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  • Giganto

    That’s always what you get when cousins are fighting, Fact! 1. In Nigeria: Hausas and Igbos 2. In the middle east: Arabs and Jews 3.During worlds 1 & 2: Germans and the Anglo-franco europe

    • redeem

      if u are not a thief or a memeber of boko haram—————–why are u afraid of the army–police or DSS–TOLD US WHY–ANIMALS

  • ola

    Some miscreant politicians would not allow all these amendment works in the electoral laws.

    • redeem

      its madness of the highest order not to allow us have peaceful elections–why are u scared of the police ati army cause u are a thief–period–

  • MTN INFO

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  • redeem

    The question on my lips since the commencement of our peaceful-death free elections as arranged by the present government———–is why APC is scared of having security personnel drafted to supervise elections in the south west—Except for Osun state where Lai Mohamed settled some soldiers with bottles of gulder———–ati stout—there has never been any known case of security agents harassing voters———final verdict–Only a thief ati armed robbers or–those who indulge in human sacrifice–that are often scared seeing the uniform of the armed forces-and the police during elections–even in the USA-WE SEE POLICE OFFICERS-patrol the streets—————again why is APC afraid of law enforcement agents–cause they believe in rigging-elections period—-which their presence will not allow———————–

  • john micheals

    JEGA can say this rubbish because he has not been a victim of electoral violence. Had he been one of those that know what it means to lose someone in electoral violence, he wouldn’t be saying this. The youth corpers that died in 2011 would have been alive if there was military presence during that election.

  • Pause

    Poor APC & supporters. What are they going to do now? If they cause post-election killings now that Nigerian Army has terrorist knock-out weapons they would be decimated. So what else should APC do? Continue to tell one lie per day? That too does not work. If I had the opportunity, I would send all APC leaders to OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIANS to get some education, with condition that each must sit for first school leaving certificate and WAEC. I strongly make this case for properly educating APC leaders & supporters because, looking back to all they did, everything points to lack of proper education as the culprit. For those underage BOKO HARAM prisoners maybe they should be sent to Jonathan’s Almajiri Schools.

    • Ibrahim Abdulmalik

      We’ve made up our minds all we want is CHANGE irrespective of whatever your feelings are. Mind you, done forget that after cracking your brain to put up this essay all you’ve got is one vote.

      • Pause

        Just as Boko Haram is getting a beating of their lives to never again hold any piece of Nigeria so shall poor Buhari & APC get handed a major defeat on March 28, 2015.

        Ordinarily no one should be paying mind to what might happen to APC & supporters after the March 28, 2015, defeat, but I do care for they need our mercy. So I suggest that pharmacists/chemists be encouraged by NAFDAC to stock a lot of pain relievers for APC & supporters. Something tells me that they will need a lot of post-election pain relievers to swallow.

        • JELEEL ABAS

          There is a medicine, a pain reliever called APC. That is what APC would need to stock against March 28 shock and humiliation. Buhari wept in 2011 when he lost. He had a handkerchief to wipe tears. I advise he should get towels to wipe torrents of tears. No handkerchief will be sufficient for the tears that would be generated by this last attempt and failure he is destined to.

          • Pause

            Hmmm.. I though of suggesting APC too. But is n’t taking APC going to amount to an overdose? I remember our family doctor telling us, sometime ago, that an overdose of any medication can be dangerous to the body. Yet APC people are susceptible to an overdose or maybe they are already taking APC for that might explain why they do the things they do, including releasing one lie per day!!!

      • Gabriel Olasebikan

        Pure and simple Ibrahim Abdulmalik,you want Buhari simply because he is a Muslim and his utterances as a Muslim on Sharia are more radical than that of liberals like Namadi Sambo.Otherwise tell me why didn’t you jostle for Namadi who is also a Muslim and a Northerner?

  • Ken

    This is a powerful write up. Buhari cant really fight corruption as Tinubu and co are thieves.

    • abc

      See one of the fools am referring to in my comment above.

      • taiwo

        yet another rodent

  • progress

    Aribi salo, you are a demented fellow, who lacks any integrity thereby assumes everyone is like you. Shame on you. Buhari is Nigerian President in waiting to takeover come may 29th 2015.

    • taiwo

      the fake name you chose only examplifies your life in reverse mode..Failed and backward orientated fellow

    • Gabriel Olasebikan

      Thank you for telling us “Buhari is Nigerian President in waiting”. This only goes to show how myopic you guys in the APC are.When did elections hold?You even leave God out of your permutations.A reasonable person would say “by the grace of God,Buhari is Nigerian President in waiting”.Since you guys in the APC undermine the grace of God,i tell you,by the Grace of God,GEJ till 2019!!!

      • You people call the name of God in vain but do ungodly things. Jonathan is the egbesu criminal cult devotee who is serving the enemy of God, and pretending to be serving God.

  • Muktsa

    I will rather cast my lot with The Lion of Bourdillion than with the Rat of Outoke

    • taiwo

      ofcourse what else does one expect from an irresponsible youth who chose the path of destruction by becoming a e rodent to the APC and collecting crumbs in return rather than joining your mates who have tapped into the various programes of the GEJ administration to better their lot

  • taiwo

    “Surely, the more reasonable and effective method is to remove the avenues for corruption. This is what Goodluck Jonathan has been doing. He has sanitised the payroll system by removing some 50,000 ghost-workers, saving the country a whopping 200 billion Naira in the first instance. He has removed the fertiliser middlemen, saving Nigeria hundreds of billions of Naira. He has sanitised the electoral register. Over three million ghost voters have been removed; one million in Zamfara State alone. He is going after corruption in the oil sector with the Petroleum Industry Bill.”the irresponsible APC e rats will not see this and make attempt to refute this facts based on research,they will rather curse and abuse

  • taiwo

    ♡Buhari no sabi im party name…He blames GEJ
    ♡Wasiu Ayinde no sabi full meaning of APC in their jingle…. He blames Jonathan
    ♡Rotimi Amaechi is a gay, who plays she… He blames Jonathan…
    ♡Kayode Fayemi embezzled Ekiti State money… He blames Jonathan.
    ♡Troops are winning Boko haram – APC dey accuses GEJ that he is winning Boko Haram for political gain.
    ♡GEJ signed anti-gay marriage law. – Buhari promised to CHANGE it if elected.

  • JELEEL ABAS

    BUHARI has expired! He is no longer doing any serious campaign. They have nothing to say again. He was using Boko Haram issue; but that is no longer relevant. I had always thought about the man as a joker when I heard him say, “I will jail looters”. I wondered if this man knew that the Executive does not have power to jail anybody in a democratic culture. He didn’t know that the worst he can do is to set up a commission of enquiry over an allegation and get police involved if someone is implicated. Once police take over an issue, the President has no business again. The police investigate and prosecute if necessary. The lawyers argue the case back and forth, and the jury determines the judgment. A man accused of anything may be discharged and acquitted or sentenced according to the level of guilt. Buhari does not know the legal system of Nigeria. He still thinks as a soldier who was commanding lawyers and judges to jail people with any number of years he tells them. Because of his legal illiteracy, Buhari is not fit to lead Nigeria as Number one citizen. Let him go and rest in his village.

  • JELEEL ABAS

    CHANGE: THE STOLEN SLOGAN OF BARAK OBAMA. It is interesting to note that many Nigerians do not realize that the slogan of APC is a stolen slogan. That was the word Obama used that mesmerized Americans and brought him to power. APC stole this slogan and was almost sweeping the unwary Nigerians until the election was postponed and people had time to recover from this enchantment. Obama had character and integrity with his slogan. He had good arguments. He had intelligence. His oratorical prowess was a major plus for him. Obama would never read a speech. He is sharp and articulate. These are the combinations that made the word “Change” to work for Obama. But our friends stole this slogan with no integrity; they stole the slogan and concocted it with at least two plausible lies per week. All this was working until a few weeks ago. The magic has expired. I believe Lagos people are already recovering from the folly and enchantment of the Lion of Bourdilon and his Lie Mohammed.. I had always wondered how the naturally intelligent Lagosians could become so suddenly deceived by Tinubu propaganda.

  • anneedu

    God bless you, tell them the truth

  • Eze1

    Aribisala, I hope you won’t have a heartache when GMB wins the election…… Pele o

  • success

    Femi aribisajiya you’re seriously s*ck,nonentity fellow,opportunist .

  • Danny Melvin Edheluebo

    Femi said this “The truth is that corruption in Nigeria is not the exclusive preserve of the PDP” yes we know that there re other thieves but PDP’s permeates but federal and state…. In the federal it has left the living room to the toilet and bathroons. Tinubu is just an individual why afraid of him when we have oil thieves, pension thieves, the oritsejafors around?