The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will scrupulously apply laws, particularly the Electoral Act, of 2022 without fear or favour to ensure free, fair, credible, inclusive and transparent elections in 2023.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this known on Wednesday in Abuja, at the 4th Memorial Lecture in honour of the Late Director-General of The Electoral Institute (TEI), Prof. Abubakar Momoh, who died on May 29, 2017.
Yakubu was represented by Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, National Commissioner and Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute.
Yakubu assured Nigerians that INEC has no preferred party or candidate, but shall only ensure that all valid votes count and the winners are decided solely by the voters.
The chairman said that as the 2023 general elections draws near, it was imperative for all stakeholders especially the political parties to note the major features introduced by the new Electoral Act 2022.
He also advised party leaders to note the possible implications of these changes on the upcoming elections, saying the happenings that accompanied the recent party primaries attest to this.
“These changes include amongst others, the conduct of early party primaries by political parties, technological changes in the electoral process;
“The Commission’s power to review the decision of the returning officer and overvoting based on the number of accredited Voters.
Yakubu said that those new initiatives served as the bedrock for the reviewed Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022, and the review of the Manual for Election Officials, 2022.
He said that the use of electronic devices was now legally allowed in the accreditation process for voters, collation of results and in the general conduct of elections.
According to him, these include the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED); INEC Results Viewing Portal (IRev) and other technological devices.
“Please be assured that these innovations are intended to deepen the electoral process in our country.
“Their optimal performance in the just concluded gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States is an eloquent testimony to their electoral value.
“We shall only do more to consolidate their deployment,” Yakubu said.