Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, chairman Independent national electoral commission (INEC), has commended security agencies for the professional conduct of personnel before, during and after the CVR and the Governorship elections.
In a briefing held at the INEC conference room in Abuja on Friday 28th of October 2020, Prof Yakubu highlighted several points that would ensure the success of the 2023 elections.
“I warmly welcome you all to our third regular meeting for this year. You may recall that we also had cause to meet a couple of times in emergency and extraordinary sessions to review our preparations for the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) as well as the Ekiti and Osun State Governorship elections.
Happily, the two activities passed off peacefully. On behalf of ICCES and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I extend our profound appreciation to all the security agencies for the professional conduct of personnel before, during and after the CVR and the Governorship elections.
There are important lessons from the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections that will help our planning for the 2023 General Election. Synergy among the security agencies facilitated the timely deployment of election materials, the coordinated escort of personnel to various locations before the elections and the effective security at the polling units and collation centres.
As a result, polling units opened on time, collation of results started promptly and declarations made in good time. Going forward, Nigerians expect an even better performance during the 2023 General Election. Therefore, a lot of work lies ahead but I am confident that we will do it effectively and professionally.
One of the worrisome practices perpetrated during elections by desperate individuals is vote buying and selling at polling units on election day.
This Committee has severally discussed this matter. In our determination to curb the menace, the membership of ICCES was expanded to include the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The two agencies have been deploying their operatives during elections and this effort is paying off. For instance, following arrests made during the recent Osun State Governorship election held on 16th July this year, the EFCC made arrests and after investigation found evidence to charge the suspects to court in Osogbo.
We are right now working with the EFCC to ensure their prosecution. I wish to commend the EFCC for this initiative and assure them of our support at all times.
” Beyond vote buying, there must also be decisive action against negative mobilisation, incitement and violence during the electioneering campaign. It is exactly a month since the commencement of campaign by political parties on 28th September 2022, yet the incidents of physical attacks on supporters and destruction of campaign materials across the country is worrisome.
At our consultative meeting two days ago, leaders of political parties in Nigeria also complained about the denial of access to public facilities and exorbitant charges in some States for the use of such facilities for the dissemination of their campaign materials, messages and rallies.
These attacks and denials are a violation of the Electoral Act 2022 and ominous signs of what will follow as the campaigns enter critical stages. They may also be a prelude to violence on Election Day and beyond. We should tackle the smoke before it snowballs into a major inferno.
The effective enforcement of our electoral law is the best way to deal with the menace. We should work together to ensure the arrest and prosecution of violators of the provisions of especially Sections 92 – 93 of the Electoral Act 2022.
“As the 2023 General Election approaches, we will continue to appraise the security situation in the country and its possible impact on the conduct of elections.
We are right now working to harmonise our Election Risk Management (ERM) and Election Violence Mitigation and Advocacy Tool (EVMAT) for a more effective risk assessment and mitigation measures ahead of the General Election.
We will continue to share information with the security agencies and most importantly work together to ensure that elections hold peacefully nationwide as scheduled.
“Beyond the General Election, the Commission has released the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the three off-cycle Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States holding on Saturday 11th November 2022. The Electoral Act 2022 requires the Commission to publish the Notice of Election not later than 360 days before the date fixed for the elections. Beyond meeting the statutory requirements, this will give us ample time to prepare for the elections. Hard copies of the Timetable are included in your folders for this meeting and also published on our website and social media platforms.
” On the recently suspended CVR, a total of 12,298,944 Nigerians successfully completed the registration as new voters. After a rigorous cleaning-up of the data using the Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS), a total of 2,780,756 (22.6%) were identified as ineligible registrants and invalidated from our record. Consequently, the number of valid registrations (post-ABIS) is 9,518,188. This figure has been added to the existing register of 84,004,084 voters. The PRELIMINARY register pending the statutory two-week claims and objections by citizens stands at 93,522,272.
Thereafter, the register will be finalized and published. Hard copies of the full details of the distribution of the new voters are included in your folders for this meeting. The soft copy has already been uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms.
” It is clear to the Commission that as the General Election approaches, there will be need for more frequent meetings of ICCES to review or respond to any situation that may arise. The invitations may come at short notice. Please note this reality and plan accordingly.
The inter – agency consultative committee on election security (ICCES), held at the INEC conference room, Abuja, on Friday 28TH Oct 2022.