By Emmanuel Adeleke
The chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the 2023 general elections will hold as scheduled despite the security challenges ravaging the country.
Yakubu stated this on Thursday at a public presentation of the 2022-2026 strategic plan and the 2023 election project plan in Abuja.
The INEC boss said the 2023 elections will be governed by the new electoral act, which he said contained provisions that will enhance the capacity and ability of the commission to better manage the electoral process.
“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, 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 and 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,” Yakubu said.
The chairman appreciated stakeholders and international organisations for their support in developing the election project plan.
“On this note, I would like to thank all stakeholders for honouring our invitation.
“The commission also appreciates our development partners, especially the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES), for consistently supporting the commission’s efforts to deepen electoral integrity and consolidate our democracy,” he said.
According to INEC’s time table, the presidential and national assembly elections will hold on February 25, 2023, while the governorship and house of assembly polls will take place on March 11, 2023.
However, there have been calls for the elections to be postponed.
Afe Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD), Ado Ekiti, had urged President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the 2023 general elections and put an interim government in place for six months so as to develop “a new-look peoples’ constitution which should provide for part-time legislators and non-executive president.”