- Assures Commission Ready To Conduct Elections Despite Attacks On Facilities
The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday addressed the Chatham House, London, doubling down on the commission’s strategy as Nigeria prepares for its general elections in February/March 2023.
The New Diplomat reports that the presidential and the National Assembly elections will hold on 25 February while the governorship and State Assembly elections come up on 11 March.
Speaking to a global audience inside a packed auditorium during the interactive session, Yakubu said the commission has perfected plans to deploy several technological tools to help facilitate a seamless electioneering process as he noted that Nigeria’s election is the biggest on the African continent as per logistics deployment and INEC database with 93 million eligible voters.
According to the INEC boss, the commission opted for the technological innovations to help reduce election violence cases and monitor electoral materials from procurement through storage to delivery at the polling unit.
He assured that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing (IReV) portal will be used in voter accreditation and result viewing during the election. Yakubu also listed other technologies to be deployed by the commission to ensure a credible and transparent elections.
The INEC boss also added that the electoral commission has developed an android and web-based Logistics Management System which will enable it to monitor the movement of election materials from procurement through storage to delivery.
According to him, the commission, for the first time, has a comprehensive Election Logistics Framework (ELF) “to guide logistics for the general elections from planning, through deployment to retrieval. This is the first deployment of an end-to-end logistics framework for elections.”
He also added that the commission has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the umbrella bodies of road transport and marine unions to ensure the smooth and safe delivery of materials before, during and after the elections.
Yakubu, during the session also asserted that the 2023 general election will be held in spite of the various attacks on the commission’s facilities across the nation.
The electoral umpire chair, while noting that 50 facilities of the commission had been attacked in four years, said the implications of the attacks were that the commission would need to continue to rebuild the burnt facilities and replace materials.
He, however, assured that INEC, in collaboration with security agencies, had increased security presence in some of the attack-prone locations.
“In four years, 50 facilities (have been) attacked in various parts of the country. The implications of the attacks is that we have to rebuild facilities and replace materials. The commission and security agencies have increased their presence in some of these locations. The last attack happened on Sunday last week but because of the cooperation between the military and the electoral commission, we were able to respond and the damage was limited to just a section of the building in a local government office.
“The commission has repeatedly called for concerted efforts to control and check these attacks and in December last year the National Assembly held a public hearing on these attacks and we hope that authorities have these attacks under control and the response by the security agencies is more coordinated.
Speaking further, Yakubu, while giving a breakdown of the voters’ register ahead of the polls, said Nigeria has a total of 93.4million voters.
He continued, “We have 93.4 million registered voters of which 37 million, that is 39.5 percent, are young people between the ages of 18 and 34. Then, there are closely followed by 33.4 million or 36.75 percent middle age voters between 35 and 49. Put together, these two categories constitute 75.39 percent of registered voters in Nigeria,” he said while speaking on ‘Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Preparations and Priorities for Electoral Integrity and Inclusion’.
“Actually, the 2023 election is the election of the young people because they have the numbers. Even the majority of the PVCs collected are collected by young people. So, out of the 93.4 million registered voters, 70.4 million are between the ages of 18 and 49.”