The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, says the commission received “repeated assurance” from the military, police and SSS to go ahead with the presidential, parliamentary, and governorship elections.
Mr. Yakubu walked back comments that the electoral body contemplated adjusting the election timetable, including postponing the polls.
On Monday, Mr Yakubu, represented by the chairman of the Board of Electoral Institute, Abdullahi Zuru, revealed that “if the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder declaration of election results and precipitate (a) constitutional crisis.”
Mr Yakubu said at the presentation of the electronic copy of the 93,469,008 voter register to leaders of political parties on Wednesday in Abuja that, more than ever before, INEC was more prepared for the elections.
“Already, substantial quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to various locations across the country. The last batch of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been received, while the ongoing configuration of the critical technology in readiness for elections will soon be completed,” stated the INEC chair. “In the last two days, we commenced the airlifting of other sensitive materials to States across the country.”
He also explained that materials for 17 states in three geo-political zones had been delivered.
“Furthermore, 13,868,441 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) have been printed, delivered to States and are being collected by citizens as new voters or by existing voters who applied for transfer or replacement of cards as provided by law,” Mr Yakubu explained.
According to him, a new national register of voters has been compiled following the display of the voters’ register nationwide and the conclusion of claims and objections by citizens.
“In short, at no time in the recent history of the commission has so much of the forward planning and implementation been accomplished 44 days ahead of a general election,” insisted the INEC chair. “Therefore, the commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable, let alone the postponement of the general election.”
Mr Yakubu stressed that “for the avoidance of doubt, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023, while governorship and state assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday, March 11, 2023.”
He added, “The repeated assurance by the security agencies for the adequate protection of our personnel, materials and processes also reinforces our determination to proceed. The 2023 general election will hold as scheduled. Any report to the contrary is not the official position of the commission.”