The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday said that lack of trust among Nigerians was the main reason for the closure of the nation’s borders during elections.
Osareti Imahiyereobo, INEC’s Head of Voters Education and Publicity in Plateau State, made the disclosure in his goodwill message during a Town Hall Meeting organised by Search For Common Ground, a non-governmental organisation.
“The closure of all our borders has greatly affected the economic growth of the nation as all businesses are also always on standstill till after elections.
“This very action is mainly due to the lack of trust among us Nigerians and which is not good for us as a nation, given its negative effects on our economy because businesses are always closed down.
“In some other nations like Zambia, borders and business premises are left open while some sensitive materials like ballot papers are always sent out to voters week before elections and their elections were not affected in any way.
“But that kind of trust and understanding can’t happen here because we, as Nigerians, do not trust ourselves,’’ he said.
The INEC official also called on residents of Plateau to accept in good faith whatever the outcome may be at be governorship election petition tribunal in the state.
“There is need for us to support those who have been elected to represent us at whatever level and capacity so that we can enjoy the dividends of democracy, ’’ he said.
Earlier, Niri Goyit, the Project Coordinator for Search for Common Ground, said the purpose for the town hall meeting was to give room for stakeholders to assess the general elections.
“We are so happy that the civil society groups, including journalists, collaborated with us on the education and sensitisation of voters and politicians on the need for peaceful conduct before, during and after the elections,’’ she said.
Mrs Goyit said the town hall meeting was aimed at sifting the views of the stakeholders on the conducts of politicians, voters, security operatives and INEC so as to come out with a communique that would help chart a new course conduct of elections in Nigeria.