Attacks on our offices may compromise 2023 elections – INEC Chairman
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday said repeated attacks on the commissions facilities across the country could compromise the 2023 general election.
Yakubu said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee setup to Investigate the attacks on Offices and Facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The chairman noted that despite the attacks, the commission was determined to continue with preparations for the elections, but if not checked, the implications would be far reaching
We are determined that we would continue with our preparations for the 2023 general elections. So far all the facilities would be rebuilt or alternatives found and materials would be replaced. However, should such attacks continue at the pace at which they are happening at the moment, the Commission may find it increasingly difficult to recover in good time for the election. If it is about stopping the attacks, yes we can recover, but if the attacks continue it would be very difficult for the commission to recover. That is why concerted efforts to stop these attacks has become imperative and we hope this public hearing would contribute to the required outcome,” he said.
He, however, assured that the commission would make alternative arrangements to deal with facilities that have been destroyed so far.
The attacks have far reaching implications on preparation for the general elections. First the facilities that are destroyed, especially offices, would take time to rebuild. They are not like items of procurement that you can procure off the shelf. So an alternative arrangement has to be made. So in some of the states, in addition to these malicious attacks, other matters that have arisen as a result of fire and flooding, we would have to make alternative arrangements by renting. In some places we can find facilities to rent. In some of the remote areas, we may not find facilities to rent. So we have to look for alternative to damaged facilities.
“Secondly several materials lost would have to be replaced. In the recent attacks, some of the PVCs for instance were lost. But for the PVCs we have instructed our state offices to send the Voter Identification Numbers of the PVCs lost so we can reprint. We can from our database quickly regenerate and reprint the cards so that citizens are not disenfranchised.
“The commission and security agencies must also continue to provide safety around the facilities and this as I said earlier may be very challenging, because the security agencies are also protecting all of us and other national assets. So these attacks on our facilities are actually other challenges that our security agencies can do without
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Alkali Baba Usman in submission blamed politicians and secessionist groups in the South East and South West for the violence.
The IGP who was represented by DIG in charge of Operations, Dandaura Mustapha, he said, “The Nigeria Police being the lead agency in internal security and elections generally is always at the receiving end. Whatever happens — it is duty of the police to protect here and there.