Some politicians in Lagos on Monday condemned plans by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to allow electoral officers exercise their franchise in the 2015 general elections. The politicians argued that the proposal would not serve the electoral process well, but would rather compound its problems. It would be recalled that Prof. Attahiru Jega, INEC Chairman, had on June 21, categorically said that electoral officers would vote in 2015, to end their disenfranchisement in the country’s electoral history. He explained that it was one of the measures being put in place by the commission to enhance the credibility of electoral process. In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr Sunny Moniedafe, said that electoral officers should be excluded from voting. “I don’t think it is proper for them to vote because it will affect their job of conducting election and they will be distracted. Of course, if there are competent people to take over while they go and vote, fine,” he said.
The Executive Director, Changing the Face of a Nation Initiative (CFNI), Mr Olorunfemi Adedurin, also said it was wrong for INEC officers to vote during elections. “How can a judge be a party to what he is judging? It will bring sentiment to the system. They should be an umpire that is not biased, that is what anybody that is working with INEC should be and not to be party to any of the elections, ” Adedurin said.
The South-West Secretary-General of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), Chief Gboyega Adeniyi, said that he was not in support of INEC plans. “It will be very unwise of us to give electoral officers franchise considering the level of Nigeria civilisation and the things happening around us. I think it will be most appropriate that we maintain the status quo,” he said.