2023 General Election Must Be Better Than Previous Ones, INEC Chairman Tells RECs

By Nathaniel Gana

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has put the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on notice that the 2023 General Election must be better than all the previous general elections conducted by the Commission.

To achieve the dream, the RECs have been directed to compile and submit an inventory of all election materials in their possession in order to determine existing shortfalls and take early, proactive steps to fill the gaps.

Prof. Yakubu, who spoke today in Abuja at the Commission’s second quarterly meeting with the RECs this year, also noted that the decision to begin preparations well ahead of time was intended to enable the Commission address some of the logistics issues that had become a recurring decimal in the conduct of previous elections.

His words: “As we continue to plan for the next General Election, the RECs have been directed to compile and submit an inventory of all election materials in order to determine shortfalls and take early steps to ensure their adequacy and availability.

“Only a few States are still outstanding. I wish to remind the States that are yet to make their submissions to do so by the end of this week. This will enable us to address some of the logistics issues that have become a recurring decimal in the conduct of elections in the past. The 2023 General Election must be different formal previous elections in terms of our preparations and readiness”.

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu (left) and National Commissioner, Barrister Festus Okoye at the meeting.

Prof Yakubu also described the current engagements with stakeholders over the proposed expansion of voter access to polling units as well as the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) as “inter-related.” He revealed the plan to conclude the ongoing consultations and the actual work on the polling units to enable INEC make the new locations public for eligible registrants to choose where they wish to register and vote on Election Day.

He also said that those who wish to replace their lost or damaged Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and the already registered voters but who may wish to apply for transfer of their registration from one location to another will be able to do so as provided by law.

Reiterating the Commission’s commitment to deepening the culture of planning for elections, Prof Yakubu said: “The current five-year plan covering the period 2017-2021 expires this year. For this reason, a Committee involving the participation of some Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) was inaugurated a few weeks ago to review the Strategic Plan (SP) and the Strategic Programme of Action (SPA) to cover the next cycle of five years from 2022-2026. The Committee is making good progress. Its report should be submitted by the end of this month to enable the Commission engage stakeholders for its validation and subsequent implementation. I want to assure Nigerians that this will be accomplished long before the expiry of the current plan at the end of this year.”

The INEC Chairman commended the RECs and staff of the Commission for ensuring the that the two elections conducted so far in 2021 met the standard for credible elections. He urged them to strive to do even better in the Ekiti East State Constituency 1 bye election scheduled for 20th March and the Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency bye-election in Abia state holding on 27th of March.

He added: “Similarly, with the recent declaration of vacancy by the Delta State House of Assembly, I wish to assure the people of Isoko North State Constituency that the timetable for the bye-election to fill the vacancy in the State House of Assembly will be released before the end of this week”.

In attendance at the meeting were National Commissioners: Mr. Mohammed Kudu Haruna, Barrister May Agbamuche-Mbu, Festus Okoye Esq., Air Vice Marshal Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu (Rtd), Dr Adekunle Ogunmola, and Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu.

Others include the Chairman’s Technical team comprising the Chief Technical Adviser, Prof. Bolade Eyinla, Special Adviser, Prof. Mohammad Kuna and Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi as well the Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Rose Oriaran-Anthony, the Director General (DG) the Electoral Institute, Dr. Sa’ad Idris and other Directors of the Commission.

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