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2023 elections must hold despite insecurity- INEC

INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmud Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC says no amount of security challenges would stop the conduct of the 2023 general election.

INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmud Yakubu, gave the assurance on Thursday during the public presentation of the 2022-2026 strategic plan and the 2023 Election Project Plan in Abuja.

Yakubu however said no amount of security challenges would stop the conduct of the 2023 general election.

He said that about one million electoral officials, both regular and ad hoc staff, would be deployed to 176,846 polling units in 8,809 Wards and 774 Local Government Areas in the country.

According to him, the election will be conducted for 1,491 constituencies nationwide made up of one presidential constituency, 109 senatorial districts, 360 federal constituencies, 28 governorship elections and 993 state constituencies.

“The election will involve an estimated one million electoral officials (both permanent and temporary or ad hoc staff) deployed to 176,846 polling units in 8,809 Wards and 774 Local Government Areas across the country. The election will be governed by a new Electoral Act 2022, which contains many progressive provisions that will enhance the capacity of the commission to conduct elections and manage the electoral process better.

Yakubu said the commission was aware of the security challenges and their impact on the electoral process, noting that it would continue to engage early and intensely with the security agencies to ensure the safety of INEC personnel and materials, accredited observers, the media, and above all, the voters.

“Clearly, these are challenging times but we are determined that elections must hold in 2023. However, this is a shared responsibility. INEC plays a critical role but the commission alone cannot deliver the elections we all desire. I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to join hands with us in ensuring that we make a success of the process”, he said.

The INEC chairman said the activities in the timetable and schedule of activities for the 2023 general election are firm and fixed, adding that all stakeholders are advised to take this into consideration in planning their activities.

The Country Director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Seray Jah, who was represented by IFES Deputy Director, Obaje Ukeh said the foundation was ready to continue its support to INEC for the success of the forthcoming elections.

Jah said the five-year plan and the election project plan act as a road map that will provide focus and guidance for INEC to succeed in achieving its mandate by ensuring seamless conduct of the 2023 general election.

Also speaking, the National Security Adviser and co-chairman of Inter-Agency Consultative Committees on Elections Security, Babagana Monguno, who was represented by Sanusi Galadima, assured Nigerians and development partners of the commitment of security agencies to protect lives and property at the polls.

The chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, Yabagi Sani, pledged the support of IPAC to ensure smooth conduct of the 2023 general election and commended INEC for its efforts towards improving the country’s electoral process.

He said the project plan was a reflection of efforts at critical assessment and reappraisal with a view to improving on strategies and conduct of transparent and acceptable elections in Nigeria.