Government & Politics

Economic Recession: 2019 Elections May Not Hold – Says Odinkalu

In this photo taken Monday, March 24, 2014. Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission speaks during an interview in Lagos, Nigeria. Two generals and officials of Nigeria’s feared State Security Service had to testify under oath at a hearing of the National Human Rights Commission into killings of unarmed civilians _ a “quantum leap” in accountability in Nigeria, according to the country’s top rights advocate. The December hearings were the first time such high-ranking officers, including the chief of army staff, have been held to account since Nigeria's military dictatorship, said Chidi Anselm Odinkalu, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.  It published a report blaming State Security agents for the unlawful gunning down of eight civilians and wounding of 11 others, and ordered the government to pay reparations of some $820,000.  (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Chidi Odinkalu, a former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday raised the alarm over the level of preparation for the poll.

Mr. Odinkalu, said this in Abuja at a town hall meeting during the presentation of the findings of a post- 2015 elections research conducted by ActionAid Nigeria.

He said going ahead without proper preparation may result in crisis and deaths.

Although he acknowledged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) recorded some gains in 2015 elections, Mr. Odinkalu said 2019 may be different.

Odinkalu said: “Today, the executive has gone into lax mode; judiciary has become lawless; National Assembly is lacking in credibility; INEC is troubled; politicians have gone unruly. Government says it has no money to run the economy. Every element that made 2015 is currently missing,” he said.

“There is absolutely no reason why the executive should allow the number of vacancies we have in INEC to be. By next month, INEC will have 28 vacancies among RECs (Resident Electoral Commissioners) and seven commissioners. The Executive is carrying on as if this normal. It isn’t.

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“Citizens are carrying on like: ‘We will tweet it on social media’. We should do more than that, because our country is at stake. The way we are carrying on, 2015 is history; 2019 may not happen, if we don’t reset. We‘ve got to take our country very seriously. There will be no elections in 2019.

“I’m sorry to sound alarmist. But, continuing the way we are going, we will not be able to have elections in 2019. If it happens, there would be too many broken heads and dead people”, he said.

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