The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, on Tuesday, said the attacks on the commission’s offices in some states will not deter it from conducting the 2023 general election.
Mr Yakubu stated this when he visited the burnt office of the commission in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
INEC’s office located in the Iyana Mortuary area of Abeokuta was razed recently.
The incident occurred a few days after the commission’s offices were similarly burnt down in other parts of the country.
The INEC chairman, who was accompanied by some management staff of the commission, said five of its offices have been attack in a space of four months but that it is unwavering in its commitment to organise the forthcoming elections holding in February and March.
He said despite hoodlums’ attacks on the offices, the commission will ensure it conducts credible, free and fair election in 2023.
He disclosed that a total of 65,699 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) were burnt at the Abeokuta office but pledged that the commission will reprint the cards within a short period of time for the owners.
“The purpose of our visit to this office is to further access the extent of damage, to meet our own staff, particularly in the place where they have relocated to in Oke-Ilewo, to boost their morale and to assure the people of Abeokuta South that in spite of this unfortunate incident, elections will hold in Abeokuta South in 2023.
“Whatever materials we have lost, the commission is making efforts to replace the materials. We lost 65,699 PVCs. We want to assure all those that have not collected their PVCs who may have been affected that we are making plans to reprint the PVCs quickly and to bring them back to Abeokuta South for people to collect and vote.
“We want to assure the people of Abeokuta South that this incident, terrible as it is, will not deter and will not discourage us, will not discourage our staff from conducting the 2023 general elections. And we want to once again assure the people of Abeokuta South, the people of Ogun State and the people of Nigeria that the commission is determined to make the 2023 elections our best ever, we will not be deterred or cowed by act of arson by undemocratic and retrogressive elements.
“As soon we get the VIN numbers to be harvested by the state office, we will reprint, it doesn’t take longer than two days to print 65,000 PVCs, but we have to get the Voter Identification Numbers (VIN) for the cards that were lost so that we can quickly reprint. It doesn’t take longer than two days to reprints those number of PVCs.
“It is very disappointing, particularly because in that last four months five of our offices were attacked nationwide, but this will never deter us, we will make sure that we replace burnt and destroyed equipment and also reprint the PVCs and conduct elections,” Mr Yakubu said.
The INEC chairman told all the relevant people and institutions in the electoral process to remain confident that the elections would hold.
“My message to stakeholders, political parties, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), security agencies and even people like you in the media is to remain confident that elections will hold inspite of this very temporary setback,” he said.
Mr Yakubu denied reports that a court ordered INEC to continue the registration of voters till next year.
“The court never made that judgement. In fact, the court said that INEC should proceed with its preparations for the elections. The court never said that INEC should resume the Continuous Voters’ Registration”, he said.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie - +2348098788999