Outgoing Electoral Commissioner advocates reduced security at elections

Ben Adam Shemang & Adoba Echono, Abuja

Outgoing Resident Electoral Commissioner in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Professor Jacob Jatau

The outgoing Resident Electoral Commissioner in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, Professor Jacob Jatau, has called on the Nigerian government to do its utmost best to reduce the ever teeming presence of security personnel at election venues in the country.

He said that in a typical democratic setting, the presence of security implies that all is not well.

Professor Jacob also observed that many security personnel, election officials and other people classified as doing election duties were always being disenfranchised in the process, even when their votes will count.

The professor however called on Nigerians not to see and take elections as a do or die activity stressing that other countries are going it right as he witnessed in Gambia.

“I went to Gambia in their last presidential elections on December 1st 2016 and the way I saw their mode of going to vote I was so impressed. You could see even the police in uniform going and queuing up to vote and the military also in their uniform queuing and voting. These are things we need to do in Nigeria,” he explained.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner however made a passionate appeal to Nigerians, saying that election must not be seen as a state of emergency but a call to serve diligently.

FCT Lawmakers

He is also of the opinion that the number of law makers representing the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, should be increased from the present two where the Senate and House of Representatives have one each.

“I think that the representation of the FCT should be increased because of its current population which has increased so much since 1999 when the demarcations were done and it was in 1996 we had the delineations done, so from that time till now a lot of people have come to FCT”.

He admonished politicians not to go into politics just to enrich themselves advising them to shun corruption at all times.

He said one of the greatest challenge he had was not just managing elections but managing the politicians who at a point mounted undue pressure on him.

He called on electoral officers to always be above boards at all times as unbiased umpires.

Professor Jacob Jatau read engineering in Russia and was lecturing at the Abubakar Tafawa Belewa University, Bauchi, Northeast Nigeria before he was appointed to serve at the Independent national Electoral Commission.

Now that he has ended in assignment, he says he is returning to his lecturing job in the same university.