2015 Polls Will Hold As Planned – INEC

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Chairman, INEC, Prof Jega
Chairman, INEC, Prof Jega

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday, declined to postpone next month’s General Elections, as canvassed by some stakeholders, stressing that it is ready to conduct the polls as scheduled.
However, the commission said it would only hold elections in the crisis-torn North-East only if it received the go-ahead from security agencies.
Also yesterday, the Inspector General of Police (IG), Sulieman Abba, vowed to deal with errant politicians who heat up the polity through negative comments.
The IG and INEC spoke at a workshop for the training of security agencies ahead of the general elections.
Chairman, INEC Electoral Training Institute, Dr Ishmaeal Igbani, who spoke on behalf of the commission said INEC was comfortable with the fund it has at its disposal for the polls.
He said: “Anytime there is election in Nigeria, there is always some form of tension. I have been around for a while and I don’t think it is something new. I don’t think people should be afraid. But it is also essential that we get ready just in case. It is also very important that we have peaceful elections, it is also important that voters come out to vote without fear. It is also important that the personnel who will work for us and the environment itself is peaceful and for it to be peaceful, it is important for the security agencies to be alert and ensure that they do what they are supposed to do.”
On the possibility of conducting elections in the North-East, Igbani stated: “Our work in the commission is to conduct elections; other people have been given that assignment. They are in a better position to answer that. But what I can tell you is that once the coast is clear we will hold elections.
And on the alleged paucity of funds by the commission to conduct elections, he said: “We are comfortable with what we have. I am just hearing of that for the first time. Nobody will postpone election. Why will it be postponed?”
Commenting on the prospect of internally displaced persons in the Northeast voting, he said the INEC committee charged with finding a solution to the issue had yet to submit its report.
The IG, speaking through the Commissioner of Police in charge of Election Monitoring, Mohammed Ghanzali, said: “If you (political actors) commit any offence, the agencies here will go back and ensure they cascade what they have learnt here today and you will be arrested and dealt with accordingly. So the politicians must play by the rules. We are going to deal with anybody that thinks he is above the law. All I am saying is that politicians should obey the law. We are to make sure that we secure the area as the leading agency for election. We have nothing to say other than for them to obey the rules of the law. If they don’t obey the rules of law, we will deal with them in accordance with the law.”
Responding to allegations that the police were being partisan in favour of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) towards the poll, the IG said: “The police can never be partisan, that is why we are here as the lead agency to ensure that we secure the area. If they want the police to be partisan, they would not have been called to ensure the security of the area. All those that are voting have the party they want to vote for. So they have sympathy for the parties they want to vote for. We are just there to ensure there is law and order and that every stakeholder plays by the rules.”

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