The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission,
Attahiru Jega, has concluded a briefing meeting with 25 civil society
groups in Abuja Saturday informing them that all security agencies in
the country have indicated to him, in writing, that they are not
available to support the elections planned for February 14 and 28.
Mr. Jega, who had an earlier meeting with political parties, is
rounding up another meeting with his 36 resident electoral commissioners
now on what will amount to an INEC position on whether to postpone or
go ahead with the elections.
Insiders at the meeting said “its pretty much a done deal at this
point that the elections will be postponed” and many of the attendees
told PREMIUM TIMES they were shell-shocked and depressed at what they
characterize as “a clear case of political blackmail of the state
against civil society”.
Jibrin Ibrahim, a leading African election expert and senior fellow
at the Centre for Democracy and Development, CDD, in Abuja, who was at
the meeting, said Mr. Jega told the meeting that security operatives
from all the agencies told INEC that they were commencing a six weeks
special operations against Boko Haram insurgents in the north eastern
corridors of the country and would rather not be distracted by the
Mr. Jega announced that the security forces also said the operations
are due to commence on February 14, the date INEC had planned for the
presidential and federal legislative elections.
This decision, by the security forces, successfully renders INEC’s
hitherto insistence to go ahead with the elections a risky venture.
To even collect ballot papers from their storage in the Central Bank
of Nigeria for the elections will require security escort, which
apparently is now unavailable in the light of the move by the security