Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
General Ijioma N. Ijioma (retd.), has disagreed with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, over its alarm that the forthcoming elections might be cancelled or postponed as a result of insecurity in parts of the country.
Ijioma expressed surprise that INEC which did not suggest postponing the Anambra State governorship election that ushered in Governor Chukwuma Soludo despite the raging insecurity in the state then, is now thinking of cancelling the 2023 polls over purported security threats.
He told INEC not to use insecurity as smokescreen to scuttle the elections, challenging the electoral umpire to come out clear on the information available to it that is not known to Nigerians.
Gen. Ijioma further said INEC lacked competence to give security advice on the forthcoming polls.
“It’s not good for people to leave their area of expertise and delve into area they are not qualified to evaluate. The main duty of INEC is to conduct elections. There is no time INEC has the duty of security evaluation.
He said:” If the Anambra State governorship election that ushered in Gov. Chukwuma Soludo was not cancelled or postponed why will INEC be talking of postponing the forthcoming polls?
“Before the Anambra election, it was as if the heavens were going to be let loose. If INEC did not recommend the cancellation or postponement of that elections, why should INEC now become a security expert to start evaluating whether or not they 2023 elections will hold?
“INEC should not usurp another agency’s duties. It’s the Federal Government that has the duty to provide security, so, INEC should ask the Federal Government to provide security where it has observed there is insufficient security arrangement, and not to start raising alarm.
“They better wake up and be serious with their business. Their primary duty is to conduct elections and address genuine issues people have raised concerning the collection of PVCs.
“Why have they not been able to address that? Why are they leaving it and now dabbling into something else?
“Is it insecurity that has stopped people from collecting their PVCs at various places where there are complaints? People come out and return without getting their PVCs after being on the queue for the whole day.
“So, if INEC has any ulterior motive, and they are now testing the waters, they better wake up the idea because if anything happens and the 2023 elections don’t hold, I tell you, it won’t be business as usual.
“This election is a defining moment in the political history of Nigeria. So, any human being that is thinking of toying with the elections is toying with the oneness of Nigeria. It may just spell doom, and the end of the country.
“INEC should concentrate and perform the duty assigned to it and not dabble into areas it’s not qualified to handle. If INEC knows what other people do not know, it should start saying it now.”
He called on Nigerians to be vigilant and ensure anti-democratic forces did not succeed in scuttling the forthcoming polls.