Mahmood Yakubu: Insecurity Will Not Stop 2023 Polls
IN SPITE of the raging waves of insecurity in the country and the killing of one of its staff on voter registration duty last week in Imo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has vowed to continue with its preparations for next year’s General Elections, declaring that the exercise must hold.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed, yesterday, in Abuja at the official presentation of the INEC Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and the INEC Election Project Plan for the 2023 General Election.
The election umpire spoke as President Muhammadu Buhari expressed sadness over the persistent insecurity in the country, which the nation’s security agencies have been unable to end, according to the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno, retd.
The President, who was not happy that his previous directives to the military to end insecurity in the country had not yielded many results, further directed all the operational and intelligence agencies to rescue unhurt all kidnapped persons by terrorists, including those in the Abuja-Kaduna bound train.
Briefing State House correspondents after a three and half hours meeting of the National Security Council presided over by the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the NSA said Buhari cannot be happy when people are being killed on a daily basis.
No going back on 2023 polls – INEC
The INEC boss said the Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and the 2023 Election Project Plan drew lessons from and thoroughly reviewed the level of implementation of the last plans.
“They build on the successes of the preceding plans, especially in the planning and conduct of the 2019 General Election as well as off-cycle and bye-elections. Against the backdrop of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current security situation in the country, both plans had to prioritise the institutionalisation of the Commission’s processes for the effective delivery of its mandate by focusing on capacity-building, promotion of professionalism, encouraging greater synergy among departments, improving efficient utilisation of resources, increased deployment of technology as well as greater sensitivity to threats to the electoral process as well as election personnel and infrastructure.
“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 the 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 pleaded.
He said by next week, the Commission will conclude the revision of the Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
“Work has also commenced on the review of the manuals for the training of election duty personnel. With the planning processes virtually completed, the Commission will now focus its attention on election technology and election administration.”