January 07, 2019 01.00PM / Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV
As the 2019 elections draws near we take a look at 10 key players to watch who will shape the February 16th Presidential polls.
Prof. MahmoodYakubu: Chairman, INEC
He was appointed to office on the 21st of October 2015. In preparation for the 2019 general elections intense activities have commenced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)to ensure smooth and trouble-free polls.
There are high expectations that Professor Yakubu and INEC officials will conduct credible Presidential and National Assembly elections to be held on February 16, 2019 and Governorship, State Assembly and Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on March 2, 2019.
INEC Chairman’s statements, moods and body language will be closely monitored as Nigerians and the international community expect that he will, at least, measure up to the standards of former Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega.
MuhammaduBuhari: President of Nigeria
President Muhammadu Buhari who is also the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has the responsibility of guaranteeing a free and fair election process that is transparent and credible.
In his 2019 new year message President Buhari reassured Nigerians of his commitment to fair elections in Nigeria.
Analysts have noted that actions speak much more louder than words and all eyes will be on the President before, during and after the 2019 polls.
If he loses the elections it will be expected that he follows the path of his predecessor (Former President Goodluck Jonathan) by conceding defeat and congratulating the winner.
Ibrahim Kpotun Idris: IG of Police
An election period is a time to protect the lives and properties of citizens. Several policemen have been deployed to various states to make security stronger.
The Nigeria Police Force is expected to provide adequate security for the elections. As the tenure of the Inspector General of Police ends, there are suggestions that he should remain till the end of the 2019 elections before retiring.
As the case may be, IGP Ibrahim Kpotun Idris’s continued presence in office has raised concerns amongst opposition party members over his impartiality during the forthcoming elections
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar: PDP Presidential Candidate
The Nigerian politician and business tycoon is the PDP presidential candidate for the upcoming elections. As the major opposition candidate his actions or inactions will be very critical and will be closely followed by the media.
Statements made by him as front running opposition presidential candidate could have a major impact on the nation’s political fortunes.
In the event of losing the elections, his reactions will be closely observed by Nigerians who would expect that he goes to court if dissatisfied with the electoral process.
International Observer groups from across the globe will play a key role in validating the credibility of the Presidential elections.
From the US, European Union (EU), UK to African groups their statements will be taken seriously by the global community.
INEC Officials and Volunteers
INEC officials and volunteers will be the drivers of a transparent and fair electoral process.
From accreditation, voting, transmission, collation and final announcement of results across the states, it is expected that INEC officials and volunteers will display a high-sense of responsibility and avoid acts that would compromise the process.
Recently the Chief of Army Staff Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai said the army has launched Operation Safe Conduct to secure the electoral process in 2019. Protecting the entire nation from any attack like that of the insurgents, in areas like the North-East.
They are expected to support other security agencies during this period to ensure the absence of violence..
The military has pledged unflinching loyalty and commitment to the defence of democratic governance in Nigeria and must remain impartial.
We expect that the international community from the US, UK to the EU will re-emphasize the need for credible elections in Nigeria. The role of international community is very crucial in ensuring peaceful polls.
It is also expected that there will be no external interference or preferential treatment for any of the Presidential candidates.
Party supporters play a major role in the success of elections, 2019 elections inclusive. The actions of supporters of the various political parties, during and after elections will be critical in sustaining peace.
The party supporters need to avoid violence as this could lead to disruption of the electoral process. It is the duty of supporters to cast their votes without influence from external persons. Other voters should not be forced, cajoled or coerced into voting for particular candidates.
Civil Society Groups
The role of civil society groups during the general elections will be crucial. The role of CSOs in election management can be emphasized as they are among key stakeholders in ensuring civil peace and stability. Some of them include “The Situation Room Nigeria” and “Enough Is Enough” group.
Their participation is known to deepen and consolidate democracy worldwide and to also promote government accountability. They advocate for electoral reforms, media sensitivity and citizen participation to improve the political engagement process.