The Chairman Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, has argued that so far as elections can hold in Afghanistan and Iraq, it can also hold in North east despite insurgency in the area.
Jega who was the guest of Senate Committee on INEC chaired by Senator Andy Uba, spoke on the Nigeria’s troubled North East in 2015, said that while the security situation in the area could not be underestimated, elections could still hold in the three affected states.
Jega said “We are having displacement of people with people leaving where they live and live in camps it is a serious challenge, nobody can underestimate it but the hope of everybody in this country is that this is a temporary problem and you cannot begin to plan long term based on a temporary thing.
“If we now say okay because people are leaving the north east therefore the polling unit you create in the north east should take care of people who have moved out are we saying that this people are not likely to come back before 2015 or whenever we conduct the elections?”
He noted that elections were held in several volatile nations “…including countries which are having problems like ours in terms of security, take Afgahnistan, take Iraq and so on.
“We hope and pray that states where emergency is; will stabilize sufficiently for us to be able to conduct elections that are relatively peaceful in those areas and we must plan for that eventuality.
The INEC boss said the commission was obliged to make preparations to hold elections in all parts of Nigeria even where there is the case of displaced people as long as there are registered voters.
He said there were likely to be displaced people but that there temporary displacement should not be an excuse to disenfranchise them.
On the Adamawa State governorship bye-election, Jega said preparations were in top gear to conduct the exercise across the state.