By Biodun Busari
The European Union on Thursday raised concerns about the security challenge in Nigeria, warning that if not urgently addressed, it might hinder the forthcoming general elections.
The organisation also deliberated on the workability of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System in all parts of the country, especially in the rural areas.
The Team Leader of EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria phase two programme, Rudolf Elbling, made the remarks during a seminar in Abuja to assess various security threats that could affect the conduct and credibility of the elections.
“For a country like Nigeria, elections always have the potential of creating unrest and instability for a country the size of Nigeria, and that is a very dangerous thing not only for Nigeria and Nigerians but for the whole region.
‘’So, the insecurity issue for the last one or two years is of concern for everybody. It’s a concern for every Nigerian because life has changed. You cannot move around as you could; so there is a huge potential for this to impact on the elections,” Elbling stated.
He described the innovations introduced by the INEC to the electoral process as “quite substantial”
He, however, added that insecurity, which he described as the “basic problem”, might prevent INEC from conducting elections in all parts of the country.
The EU official stated, “This would create a lot of legal implications for the entire process that might disrupt the process. There are a lot of potential legal implications which subsequently would have a lot of political implications and which would have a lot of potential to disrupt the poll but of course, you know, logistics is also and always an issue.
“And I’m afraid that the insecurity again, will add to this problem and complicate issues more. Also, will the election technology hold up? The BVAS is a very promising item, but will it be working everywhere?
“We also have the INEC Results Viewing Portal; all these kinds of things are what we are really looking forward to even as they worked very well in the Ekiti and Osun elections. But again, the security climate, the political climate, which is extremely hostile; how will it affect the acceptance and credibility of elections.”
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