Tuesday, 30 October 2018

INEC Warns US, UK, Russia Against Interfering In 2019 Poll

Tony Ezimakor and Innocent Oweh

Abuja – A head of the 2019 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has raised the alarm over possible foreign interference in the process through the internet.

Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, raised the concern on Monday in Abuja.

He put advanced democracies in Europe, North America, Russia and elsewhere on notice that the country would not accept meddling in the process and influencing the outcome of the general election.

Prof. Yakubu spoke through a representative at a media workshop on Reporting of Elections in the ECOWAS region held in Abuja.

He said the challenge of election meddling and foreign interference, using the internet, was a new phenomenon that must be tackled.

The United States is currently probing Russia’s involvement in its last presidential election.

Represented by Dr. Lecky Mustapha, a National Commissioner, Prof. Yakubu listed other challenges that the workshop must address, including the impact of fake news, the new media which, he said, was largely unregulated.

He said the media played a critical role in the electoral process and enjoined journalists to discharge their responsibility faithfully, ethically, and professionally.

“As the fourth estate of the realm, the media is the gatekeeper to ensuring transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

“This is in addition to their primary role of informing the public on all activities, timelines, and the dos and the don’ts, as well as providing platforms for discourse.

“Election managers and administrators always need the media to sensitise, mobilise, and sustain the interest of the citizens in the process.

“The media remains the most reliable instrument through which all electoral issues involving participation and inclusivity are encouraged. There is no doubt, therefore, that the media is an important stakeholder and partner,� Prof. Yakubu said.

The two-day workshop is organised with the support of the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), and has participants drawn from across the West African sub region.

2019: Let Nigerians Vote Whoever They Choose, Says Buhari

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated his desire to deliver free and fair election in 2019, saying Nigerians were at liberty to vote choice candidate.

Buhari said he was glad that Nigeria had left that era in which democratic norms were brazenly subverted and votes were awarded to those favoured by the authorities, while those short-changed were told to go to court if they were not happy.

“I am highly qualified to talk on this, having ended in Supreme Court three times after participating in elections with disputed results.

“Where will a man looking for where his next meal would come from have money to hire lawyers, particularly senior advocates?

“The 2019 polls would be free and fair because the president has only one vote, governors have a vote each, just like anybody else.

“Let the people vote for whoever they choose without their will being tampered with,� he stated.

The president spoke on Monday when he received members of the Joint United Nations, African Union, and ECOWAS Good Offices Mission on Elections at the State House, Abuja.

The president lauded the joint team for being in touch with Nigerian institutions, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

He said multi-party democracy gave a lot of choices to the people, adding that Nigeria had a vibrant young population “who trust us to handle their affairs and resources well,� adding, “A lot depends on leadership.�

Buhari said the 2015 elections were run with three campaign objectives: securing the country, reviving the economy, fighting corruption, “and the opposition has not succeeded in faulting us,� adding, “We are doing our best with the resources available to us.�

President of ECOWAS Commission, Jean-Claude Brou, said the team came on a solidarity visit to Nigeria before the forthcoming elections, as it did with other countries like Senegal, Mali, Gambia, and others which recently held polls.

He expressed appreciation over the strong role Nigeria played in the sub-region while also thanking President Buhari for his strides in the fight against corruption and terrorism.

Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, speaking on behalf of the UN, appreciated what he called “the strong leadership of President Buhari in Nigeria, West Africa, and Africa.�

He added: “You’ve always played politics according to the rules. We will do all that we can to strengthen the institutions. We’re convinced that INEC is ready to provide free and fair elections.�

The post INEC Warns US, UK, Russia Against Interfering In 2019 Poll appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.

INEC Warns US, UK, Russia Against Interfering In 2019 Poll



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