As preparation for the 2023 General Elections picks up pace, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu is not mincing words as regards the Commission’s commitment to raising the bar of the standard set in previous elections.
He charged Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to work towards addressing some re-occurring logistics issues in the conduct of elections and ensure that the 2023 general elections are different from all previous elections in terms of INECs preparations and delivery.
The INEC Chairman made the call during the Commission’s second quarterly meeting with RECs in Abuja.
Professor Yakubu, explained that the meeting would review the engagements with stakeholders on the proposed expansion of voters’ access to Polling Units as well as preparations for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise, among other things.
He said “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 from previous elections in terms of our preparations and readiness”.
Speaking on the stakeholders’ engagement on the proposed expansion of Voters’ access to Polling Units and the CVR exercise. The INEC Chairman said “the two activities are inter-related. Our plan is to conclude the ongoing consultations and the actual work on the Polling Units in earnest so that the new locations will be made public for eligible registrants to choose where they wish to register and vote on election day”.
He added “furthermore, those who wish to replace their lost or damaged Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs), as well as those who are already registered 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”.
Commenting further on planning for elections, the INEC Chairman disclosed that the Commissions current Strategic Plan (SP) and the Strategic Programme of Action (SPA), 2017- 2021, was being reviewed to capture the period from 2022-2026.
To achieve this, he said a committee was inaugurated a few weeks ago with the mandate of reviewing the Commissions SP and SPA, and hinted that the Committees report would be ready by the end of March subject to stakeholders’ validation and subsequent implementation.
The INEC Chairman commended the RECs and staff of INEC for ensuring that the two elections conducted so far in 2021 met the standard for credible elections. The two elections were in Magama/Rijua Federal Constituency of Niger State and Kafin Hausa State Constituency in Jigawa State. He urged the RECs to continue to strive to do even better in future elections in Ekiti East State Constituency 1 bye election scheduled for 20th March, to be followed a week later by the Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency bye-election in Abia state holding on 27th of March 2021.
“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”, Professor Yakubu disclosed.
In attendance at the meeting were National Commissioners; Mohammed Kudu Haruna, Barr. May Agbamuch-Mbu, Festus Okoye Esq., AVM Ahmed Tijjani Mu’azu (Rtd), Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, and Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu.
Other Management staff of the Commission in attendance were; 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.