A former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, says the allegations by the Coalition of United Political Parties that there is an alleged plot to undermine the 2023 general election didn’t come to him as a surprise, adding that the use of technology scares politicians.
Jega stated this on Wednesday night when he appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today’.
18 political parties and civil society organisations had earlier alleged that plans had been perfected by perpetrators to create a crisis of confidence based on trumped-up charges that would lead to the removal of top officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission, including its chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, and other National Commissioners who are insisting on the use of the BVAS for the 2023 elections and the “irreversible” use of electronic transmission of the result.
They also claimed to have “intercepted intelligence of an alleged fresh plot against the 2023 elections and this time being coordinated by leading figures of the ruling All Progressives Congress including APC Governors led by a South-East APC Governor with controversial past, and another from the North-West who are working with their colleagues to perfect a plot to intimidate INEC leadership into abandoning the use of electronic transmission and uploading of election results to the INEC server, deactivation of the BVAS machine from INEC server.
But reacting to the allegations, Jega disclosed that only mischievous politicians are afraid of technology, saying that anything is possible in politics.
He said, “In our country, anything seems possible so we can’t just wish away these kinds of allegations where they are been made but frankly these allegations are not things we hear from INEC itself and so until INEC begins to complain that these kinds of things are happening and impeding its constitutional mandate of delivering free and fair elections, I don’t think we should put a lot of weight to these but like I said anything is possible, politicians can be funny.
“As we get closer to the elections, all sorts of things happen out of desperation or mischief-making. I think the challenge for the electoral commission and citizens who want to see elections with integrity is to remain focused on what INEC is supposed to do, what it is doing and how we can all complement what the electoral commission is doing for a successful election.
“The use of technology scares many politicians and they get afraid that their methods of rigging elections can be devalued by the use of technology. But again, those politicians who are desperate and who do this frankly cut across all political parties, particularly the dominant parties are people who are desperate and reckless and want to win by hook or crook.”
He further recalled how some days before the 2015 general elections, some politicians demanded his resignation to avoid supervising the poll.
“Frankly from my own experience, we saw how close to the elections, some politicians became afraid that using the card reader was going to stop rigging the elections and so they came out and at some point started demanding publicly for me together resign or go on terminal leave so that I won’t have to supervise the conduct of the 2015 general elections.
“I think what is most important is the capacity of the management body to resist that pressure and having recognised that using technology will add value just to remain focused and maintain the usage of BVAS because they now have a legal backing to be able to do that,” he said.