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2023: INEC agonises over insecurity, campaign financing

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the perennial insecurity in the country and campaign financing still remained a source for concern in the preparation for next year’s general electionINEC Chairman Prof Mahmood Yakubu, at stakeholders’ forum by the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room in Abuja, yesterday, said the situation was compounded by incidents of attacks on campaigns, rallies and processions across all political parties. Yakubu stated that although the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and the commission’s regulations and guidelines for political parties are clear, INEC has found it necessary to remind political parties, candidates and their supporters on the provisions of the law and their responsibilities.

He disclosed the Commission held an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in the wake of the recent attacks on its local government offices in Ogun and Osun states, adding that far-reaching resolutions were arrived at, including the deployment of joint security teams to our facilities nationwide. “Beyond that, the Inspector- General of Police summoned an extraordinary meeting with leaders of political parties on the imperative of peaceful campaigns. “We will continue to follow up on that bold step in our engagement with political parties and other critical stakeholders,” he added.

Yakubu said INEC would release a summary highlighting the legal provisions governing the conduct of political rallies, processions and campaigns tomorrow. Also to be published, according to him, is a summary of the guidelines on finances and election expenses of parties and candidates.

This, he said, is the alleged violation of parties and their candidates on campaign expenditure beyond what is provided by law, including the practice of vote-buying at polling units on election day. “Beyond that, we are mobilising every national institution with the responsibility for tracking and combating the illicit flow of funds as well as the broadcast and print media regulatory agencies to confront the problem head-on.” He reiterated the determination of the commission to deploy technology to conduct the 2023 general election, including the transmission of election results.

“Results from polling units will be uploaded to the IReV portal in realtime. Nigerians will view the results as they are uploaded. “For the last two years beginning from August 2020, the commission has published results direct from polling units in 105 off-cycle governorship and bye-elections in real-time and the results can still be viewed on the IReV portal.

“The 2023 general election will not be different. There is no truth in any insinuation to the contrary. “This should put to rest the erroneous notion that Nigerians will not have the opportunity to view polling unit results uploaded by presiding officers in real-time on election day,” he assured. The INEC boss assured new registrants and those who transferred to other polling units and replacement of damaged or lost cards, that the commission would soon release the timelines and procedure for the collection of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs), adding: “We understand the anxiety of Nigerians to collect their PVCs and appeal for a little patience as we speedily conclude the necessary safeguards for a transparent process.”

 

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