Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said despite recent attacks on its facilities, the Commission remains focused in its determination to conduct the best ever election in the history of Nigeria in 2023.
The INEC Chairman gave this assurance when he received the African Union (AU) Special Pre-Electoral Political Mission, led by Her Excellency, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja, on Monday.
He said the Commission, learning from the 2019 General Election and given the progressive provisions of the new Electoral Act 2022, has prepared well and adequately for the 2023 General Election.
The Chairman said “I am very comfortable to say that at this point with about 3 months to the election, we have 50% of the non-sensitive materials already been deployed to locations so we are making very good progress indeed.”
Decrying the attacks on INEC’s facilities, Prof. Yakubu said, “In spite of the progress that we are making, the Commission is still concerned about the security situation generally in the country particularly the incidence of attacks on our facilities.”
“In the last three weeks, three of our Local Government Area offices were attacked in three different states of the federation. The last one occurred yesterday in the South Eastern part of the country. Now, although there were no casualties but quite a number of the materials already acquired and delivered for the elections have been lost.”
Giving some cheering update on the damage caused by the attacks, the INEC Chairman said “the good thing is so far, we can recover from all the loses but it’s a source of concern. This shouldn’t be allowed to continue.
“We will continue to engage with the security agencies to make sure that these offices as well as personnel and our facilities are protected ahead of the election,” the Chairman added.
Prof. Yakubu assured that the attacks will not dampen the spirit of the Commission towards going ahead with plans to conduct the 2023 General Election. He said “we may express some concerns about the attack on these facilities, but it will never deter the Commission from going ahead with the election as scheduled.”
“I want to reassure you that, yes we may suffer a little hitch- here and there but overall, the Commission is required to proceed with the election and to proceed in the manner that the law requires us to do.”
Earlier, the Leader of the delegation, Her Excellency Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said that the team was in Nigeria on a special Pre-Electoral Political Mission. She explained that they were in the Commission to ascertain the level of preparedness by the Commission ahead of the 2023 General Election and also its engagements with critical stakeholders in the electoral process.
The leader of the delegation also said “we are also keen to hear about the role and contributions of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), women and young people in particular which we know as people are very much interested in the process and the outcome of this elections.”
In attendance to receive the guests alongside the INEC Chairman were National Commissioners Barr. Mrs. May Agbamuche- Mbu, Prof. Muhammad Sani Kallah, Festus Okoye Esq, and Secretary to the Commission, Mrs. Rose Oriaran-Anthony.
Others were, Chief Technical Adviser (CTA) to Hon. Chairman, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Special Adviser to INEC Chairman, Prof. Mohammad Kuna and the Chief Press Secretary to Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi