A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, on Thursday warned that unless the insecurity challenges ravaging the country were adequately stopped, the 2023 general election may not hold.
Jega said this in Ibadan while delivering a keynote address at the fourth Abiola Ajimobi annual roundtable and the 72nd posthumous birthday of the former governor of Oyo State, held at the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan.
Also, the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Resource Centre, which was built by Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation in memory of the late politician, was also inaugurated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Jega said security was very key to the conduct of any election whose outcome would be acceptable to parties involved.
According to him, insecurity which is ravaging the country poses a serious threat to the 2023 general elections, saying the threats must be effectively tackled to ensure the conduct of the elections.
Jega said, “Unless elections are conducted in an environment that is peaceful and secure, its integrity and even the legitimacy of the outcome of that election will be questioned.
“Security challenges undermine electoral integrity. It constrains or disrupts preparations and conduct of elections and it leads to partial or totally illegitimate electoral outcomes.
“As we look forward to the 2023 general elections, there is increasing apprehension that the pervasive insecurity situation in the country may present a formidable obstacle if not an obstruction to that election.
“If not appropriately and effectively mitigated, security challenges would pose the most serious danger to the integrity of the election process if it evens allows the election to be conducted.”
He said the 2007 general election was regarded as the most flawed election in the country because security agents either worked at cross-purposes or worked for different masters.
The wife of late Ajimobi, Florence, who is the president of SAAF, said the resource centre was donated as part of the contribution of the foundation towards giving people access to quality education
She said, “Election security and good governance, as a theme, is intended to prepare the grounds for peaceful and proper elections in the country in earnest and substantially eliminate any impediment in our transition processes.
“Consequently, when the process of attaining public leadership status is effectively and transparently harnessed, a better-managed country and citizenry emerge, to the delight and satisfaction of all who desire it and the disappointment of those who detest and sabotage it!
“The collaboration strongly believes that our country shall emerge stronger and compellingly more purposeful for its citizenry once the process of assuming leadership is further strengthened and the voice and choice of the people are truly reflected in the quality of managers and management which emanate from the renewed process.”
Osinbajo, who chaired the occasion, noted in his address that human being has yet to develop a fairer system of government than democracy.
Osinbajo said, “The major issue is how to ensure that this right of free choice is not corrupted anywhere. Once that right of free choice is violated, the basis of democracy and its focus – good governance, is on the line.
“How can we protect the votes? How do we ensure that every vote will count? How do we protect the government of the people, by the people for the people?”