Femi Falana, a lawyer and human rights activist, has raised the alarm that enemies of progress are frustrating the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)’s reforms.
The INEC has introduced many reforms ahead of the general elections in 2023, among them is the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the electronic transfer of results.
But Falana while reacting on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics to the latest attack on INEC’s facilities in Ebonyi State, said many enemies of democracy were bent on frustrating INEC.
Several Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and other items were destroyed when some hoodlums set the INEC office in the Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State on fire on Sunday.
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Falana, who expressed disappointment over the government’s inability to stop the wave of attacks on INEC facilities, posited that there were people who didn’t want the elections to hold in 2023.
He said elections might not hold in many parts of Nigeria, claiming that 616 local government areas of the country had been taken over by non-state actors.
He called on security agencies in the country to ensure that the Ebonyi attack would be the last ahead of the elections.
Falana warned that the credibility of the 2023 elections would be affected if the violence continued.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) acknowledged that INEC was doing a lot but said the electoral body could not do it all alone.
He called on Nigerians to not only protect their votes but also show vigilance throughout the election process.
“INEC alone cannot conduct credible elections. The people themselves must, beyond organising rallies, must defend their votes.
“Under the new electoral act, elections would be won and lost in each of the polling units and then there would be an automatic electronic transmission of results.
“Efforts were made after the law has been passed by both chambers of the National Assembly to amend that provision and remove the clause that allows electronic transmission of results but because of the vigilance of Nigerians, that was not allowed.
“Such vigilance must characterise the entire democratic process and that is the only way INEC can succeed,” Falana said.
He also called on the House of Representatives to pass the electoral offenders act just like the Senate.
“Electoral Offences Commission would monitor, prosecute parties spending above the ceiling,” he added.