The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the Commission will not be discouraged from conducting transparent and credible elections in 2023.
Mahmood was speaking against the background of Thursday’s attacks on the commission’s offices in Ogun and Osun States.
The INEC Chairman stated this during an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security on Friday.
Yakubu expressed worry, noting that if no urgent and decisive steps were taken, the attacks would intensify as we approach the election date.
He noted, “As we all know, a peaceful campaign heralds a peaceful election. We need to take decisive steps to stem the ugly trend.
“Nigerians expect a decisive action from ICCES. It is important that we move swiftly to apprehend perpetrators, prosecute them as required by law, and reinforce security around election officials and electoral infrastructure around the country.
“As we have stated on several occasions, an election is a multi-stakeholder activity involving not just INEC and the security agencies. The political class plays perhaps the most critical role in ensuring peaceful elections. We must all rise to the occasion. Nigerians are watching us. The world is watching us. We must never disappoint them.
“The Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that we remain committed to delivering credible elections in spite of the challenges. The attempt to sabotage or weaken our resolve will not deter us from conducting transparent elections in which only the votes cast by Nigerians on Election Day will determine winners of elections.”
However, the INEC Chairman explained that the Commission is urgently taking steps to repair the damaged INEC building in Osun and replace the burnt PVCs.
He said, “The Commission is taking urgent steps to repair the damage to the building and replace the facilities in the Ede South Local Government Area so that the office becomes functional again immediately.
“For Abeokuta South Local Government Area office, the destruction was total. Consequently, the Commission is relocating our staff to the old State office (also known as INEC Office Annex) in Oke-Ilewo area of Abeokuta.
“All activities involving the 15 Registration Areas (Wards) and 445 Polling Units in Abeokuta South Local Government Area will henceforth be coordinated from the new location in Oke-Ilewo.
“Similarly, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Ogun State has been directed to compile the Voter Identification Numbers of all the 65,699 Permanent Voters Cards lost in the attack from our database and submit the record for immediate reprint.
“We want to assure affected registered voters in Abeokuta South that no one will be disenfranchised as a result of this dastardly act.”