Hours to Saturday’s off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, says the recently held elections have offered some lessons to the electoral body.
“As with every election, lessons have been learnt from recent elections,” Yakubu disclosed yesterday in a statement addressed to stakeholders.
Describing elections as a multi-stakeholder responsibility, he added, “We will continue to ensure free, fair, and credible and inclusive elections but INEC cannot do it alone.”
According to him, the commission has received assurances from the security agencies that the environment will be secure for electoral activities and all participants, including voters, electoral officials, accredited observers, the media and polling/collation agents.
“Political parties and candidates have signed the peace accord under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC). Let us maintain the peace and play our roles conscientiously. By doing so, we shall continue to consolidate our democracy,” the INEC chairman added.
See the full statement below:
CHAIRMAN’S MESSAGE ON THE OFF-CYCLE GOVERNORSHIP ELECTIONS
Saturday 11th November 2023
In less than 48 hours, 5,169,692 Nigerians who collected their Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) are expected to vote in off-cycle Governorship elections. This is the first time in our history that these elections are held on the same day and across three geo-political zones of the country: North Central (Kogi), South East (Imo) and South South (Bayelsa).
As we approach the Election Day, I wish to call on our officials (both regular and ad-hoc) to demonstrate the highest level of patriotism and professionalism. As I said repeatedly, not least during my recent readiness assessment visits to the three States, INEC is not a political party and we have no candidate in the election. Our responsibility is to safeguard the process and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates. The choice of who becomes the Governor of Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States is entirely in the hands of voters.
We have delivered all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the elections.
The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) have been configured for deployment to Polling Units as the only means of voter verification and fingerprint/facial biometric authentication of voters. Polling Unit results will be uploaded to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal. All election duty officials have been trained. Arrangements have been made for land and maritime transportation to enable us commence voting on schedule. In spite of the extremely difficult terrain and physical infrastructure in some locations, we are determined to ensure that our officials are there waiting for voters rather than the voters waiting for our arrival.
For these off-cycle elections, the Commission is deploying two (2) National Commissioners, nine (9) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and Administrative Secretaries (ASs) as well as additional staff from different States to each of the three States to support the process. They will be deployed across the senatorial zones in the States.
Election is a multi-stakeholder responsibility. As with every election, lessons have been learnt from recent elections. We will continue to ensure free, fair and credible and inclusive elections but INEC cannot do it alone. We have received assurances from the security agencies that the environment will be secure for electoral activities and all participants: voters, electoral officials, accredited observers, the media and polling/collation agents. Political parties and candidates have signed the peace accord under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC). Let us maintain the peace and play our roles conscientiously. By doing so, we shall continue to consolidate our democracy.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu
9th November 2023