Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Attahiru Jega has said the current leadership of the Commission has made significant and commendable progress since taking over in November 2015.
Jega who spoke as a keynote speaker at the National Judicial Institute in a paper titled, “Towards Elections with Integrity in 2019, Challenges and Prospect,” said the country had the worst elections in 2007, and better improved elections in 2011 and 2015.
He however said, the forthcoming 2019 elections should be better, giving the level of preparedness of the current INEC .
He said, “Since November 2015, when the current INEC was put in place, significant, commendable progress has been made to sustain, depeen, and defend the integrity of the Nigerian electoral process”
Jega said some of the reform measures put in place to ensure success of the 2019 election includes the retention and upgrading of the smart card readers to expand their current capabilities.
It also includes initiation for the first time of continuous voters registration to update the register, successful conduct of elections into 179 federal constituencies of which only 4 have so far been overturned by the Election Petition Tribunal and review of polling units, registration areas, electoral constituencies and diaspora voting.
He however identified some of the challenges the commission may face in 2019.
He said, “INEC has identified the following as outstanding challenges, Money in politics, attitude and disposition of politicians, delay in the review and amendment of the electoral legal framework, funding, vote buying, election security and hate speech”
The former INEC boss therefore called on the political class to imbibe and uphold core values enshrined in the Nigerian constitution which affirms the culture of democratic principles and practice as paramount .
He recommended that Nigerians must work hard for the elimination of electoral malpractice and fraud.