In the just concluded week, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated that the increasing number of deliberate attacks on the Commission’s facilities may weaken its ability to conduct hitch-free elections in the future.
Just in recent months, the number of INEC facilities reportedly vandalized has risen to 23 as two of the Commission’s offices, in the course of the week, were also set ablaze in Ebonyi State. According to the INEC boss, the deliberate target on the Commission’s properties must stop in order to forestall disruptions to the upcoming electoral activities, particularly the continuous voter registration scheduled to hold in 2,673 centres nationwide for over one year.
The worrisome part is that the insecurity in the country has continued to spread even across the relatively peaceful regions; as it manifests in different forms. While the northern region battles with terrorism, banditry and kidnapping, the southern region, especially the Southeastern region now witnesses attacks on key government properties and assets such as that of the Nigerian Police and INEC.
Amid the growing insecurity in the South East, the acting Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba launched Operation Restore Peace in order to arrest the ugly situation.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Military may also begin an offensive against the terrorists operating in the Northern part of the country as the United States plans to supply drones to Nigeria. According to the American Ambassador to Nigeria, Ms. Mary Beth Leonard, the supply of drones was part of the US commitment to help Nigeria overcome its insecurity challenges which has shortchanged the development of the country in many areas of human endeavor.
Given INEC’s responsibility of ensuring credible electoral process necessary for peaceful change of government, we expect that its assets should have been better protected by FG. Nevertheless, we note that it is time INEC embraced technology such as cloud storage and electronic voting system in order to mitigate risk associated with vandalized physical properties.
Meanwhile, we expect to see significant improvement in the fight against the insurgents as the military gets support from the US. With the use of drones, Nigerian soldiers should suffer less casualty as they engage the terrorists in battle.