From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has admitted that it will be extremely difficult to deliver well-desired elections next year without the support of Nigerians and the security agents.
Commission Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu raised the battle cry in his remarks at the Public Presentation of the 2022-2026 strategic plan (SP) and the 2023 Election Project Plan (EPP) in Abuja on Thursday.
He further noted that though the Commission has meticulously met the demands of Nigerians in some areas of improvement, however security will still pose a challenge to the poll if not adequately tackled.
“We have carefully listened to the demand of Nigerians for seamless processes, particularly with regard to enhanced voter education, better distribution of voters to polling units, quality training of election personnel, the functionality of electronic devices, improved logistics, prompt commencement of polls, availability of assistive devices for persons with disability at polling units and greater transparency in result management.
“We are also aware of the security challenges and their impact on the electoral process. We will continue to engage early and intensely with the security agencies to ensure the safety of our personnel and materials, accredited observers, the media and, above all, the voters.
“Clearly, these are challenging times but we are determined that election 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 boss also disclosed that no fewer than one million electoral officials, both permanent and temporary or ad hoc staff will participate in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
“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,” the Commission’s boss said.
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