Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has charged politicians participating in the forthcoming 2023 general election in Nigeria to uphold credibility and honesty as a mantra to ensure a free and fair election, adding that politicians should adhere to set rules, to avoid discrepancies that would mar the election.
Jega was a special guest at a weekly Townhall forum by the Africa Leadership Group (ALG) held virtually last week, in a bid to forestall election credibility and good governance in the country.
The immediate past INEC boss also expressed worry that the activities of internet fraudsters in the country may affect the strength of the Commission’s website if unchecked.
Jega, during the interactive session, narrated how the INEC server was hacked by fraudsters which inadvertently affected the Commission’s digital operations.
While speaking at the forum moderated by Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, he said, “It would be in the interest of everyone if politicians should play by the rules. Now, Nigerians should deserve nothing but a credible, free and fair elections.”
Speaking further, Jega warned INEC officials not to allow the hackers to have access to their website. “Some hackers are being hired and paid to cause disruption,” remarked Jega, adding that some of the fraudsters are very smart and experienced in the nefarious act.
“We experienced it on the day of election when I was in charge but we resolved it within a very short time,” he said.
He mentioned that one of the most vital things that Nigerian electorates are lacking is voter education.
“The law allows you to stay, watch and monitor the votes and processes and ensure that the presiding officer does the needful, else desperate politicians would hijack and pollute the whole process. We must not be lackadaisical in this election,”
He then charged political parties to educate the masses more on voter education and sensitization exercises. “Voter education and sensitization is part of the responsibilities of political parties,” Jega said.
This also comes as he implores Nigerians to vote for only credible candidates that will serve their purposes, saying that good people either sit on the fence or keep away from politics.