Stop harassment of election officials says Nigerian editorial

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JOHANNESBURG, February 21 – An editorial in Nigeria’s Premium Times has accused the state of bullying and harassing electoral officials following the postponement of last week’s elections to next week.

In a Wednesday editorial, the Times said it has observed with increasing alarm the bullying behaviour, lack of restraint and a disregard for the requisite separation between the state and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The editorial pointed the finger at Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) which has been summoning senior officials from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as “a culmination of a series of actions taken by the executive arm of government, with alarming erosive consequences on Nigeria’s democratic institutions.”

Top INEC officials were summoned after what was described by the paper as strange allegations that the logistical blunders that led to the postponement of the presidential and national assembly elections could have been a deliberate ploy by the electoral body to undermine the electoral process.

Although the summons were subsequently withdrawn, the action came in the wake of the ongoing demonisation of the INEC and its top officials who have also been accused of favouritism although there is no supporting evidence to back up this accusation.

The Times’ editorial acknowledged the failures of the electoral body but said the ruling party and the opposition were also to blame for these shortcomings – pointing out that delayed voting had dogged Nigeria’s electoral system for years. (ANA)