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Jega blasts NASS, says elections reordering undermines INEC’s independence

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, on Thursday criticised the National Assembly for reordering the sequence of elections after the electoral umpire has fixed the timetable for 2019 polls.

According to Jega, the action of the lawmakers is an attempt to undermine the independence and integrity of INEC.

The former INEC boss further disclosed that politicians were the greatest threat to Nigeria’s democracy.

Jega spoke at an election programme — Watching the Vote Series — with the theme “Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat? organised by Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) in Abuja.

He also stated that the biggest threat to democracy is the recklessness of politicians to undermine Nigeria’s democracy, thereby destabilising the process of development.

He said, “Nigeria like all countries face threats to its democracy, we must identify the threats that have the tendency to derail the development of our democracy and address them.

“We must also checkmate the threats of politicians to undermine our democracy because all we need now is adding value to the process.

“We also need to mobilise our people in towns and villages to be part of the electoral process and ensure that we do not engage in authoritarian reversal which would take us several years to get back on track.

“The signals are there, the fragility of the system is evident; we are a country with enormous systemic security challenges.”

Jega therefore, advised Nigerians to have quality representatives that would provide good governance and protect the interest of the people.

The Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr Garba Abari, said Nigeria’s democracy was under threat and the signs and indicators were evident.

According to Abari, there is the need for government to partner CSOs to educate Nigerians on elections to especially curb invalid votes.

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