INEC expresses concern over violent campaigns, summons emergency meeting
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday expressed concerns over the spate of violence at the ongoing electioneering campaign.
The commission said it would summon the leaders of political parties participating in the 2023 general election over the threat of violence next week.
INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu raised concerns at the training of master trainers on technologies for the 2023 general elections in Abuja.
This came barely 24 hours after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign was attacked by suspected thugs in Kaduna state.
Describing the development as worrisome, Yakubu cautioned parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other.
He noted that the violent acts were not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022 but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord.
Yakubu said: “Even as the Commission is working hard to ensure a credible process in the forthcoming elections, reports of clashes among parties and their supporters in some States of the country during the ongoing electioneering campaign is worrisome.
“So too is the reported denial of access to public facilities for parties and candidates in some States of the Federation. Let me caution parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other.
“These are not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022 but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord signed about three weeks ago under the auspices of the National Peace Committee (NPC).
“Parties, candidates and their supporters should not by acts of commission or omission further complicate the prevailing security situation in the country. A peaceful electioneering campaign is critical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.
“The Commission will continue to monitor the situation closely and will convene a meeting with leaders of political parties next week to discuss, among the other issues, the imperative of peaceful campaigns and equal access to public facilities.
“In the same vein, the Commission will also meet with the security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week.”
The INEC chairman stressed the need to build the capacity of the staff that would be engaged for the 2023 poll on use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other relevant technologies.
According to him, the training was not only to teach them on how to competently handle the devices during the accreditation process but also respond effectively to any glitches that may occur during elections.
He added that the commission’s plan for the 2023 general election was to commence the training of election officials early and for a longer period of time for optimal understanding of the processes and procedures in order to serve Nigerians better.
He explained:”Today, we begin the process with the training of master trainers to serve as Registration Area Technical Support (RATECH). A total of 82 officials drawn from our offices nationwide will form the nucleus of the training. Over the next three days, they will receive intensive hands-on training on the new technology.
“Thereafter, they will train more officials at zonal level to cover all the 8,809 Registration Areas (or Wards). In turn, these officials will be involved in the training ad hoc staff for the 176,846 Polling Units nationwide.
“I urge the 82 staff involved to pay special attention to the training that you will receive at this Workshop. Your role as master trainers is critical to the success of training at subsequent levels and ultimately the successful deployment of the devices during elections.
“For this reason, the Commission will not accept laxity on your part. Much as we have confidence in your ability to understand and discharge your responsibilities to the officials you will subsequently train, there will be consequences for unethical behaviour or any act of misconduct. I wish you a successful training.”