Insecurity may force cancellation, postponement of 2023 general elections – INEC

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Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Insecurity, cancellation, postponement, 2023 general elections, INEC, Nigeria
INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu

Insecurity may force cancellation, postponement of 2023 general elections – INEC

Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday expressed worry over the level of insecurity ahead of the 2023 general elections.

The commission specifically said if the menace is not decisively dealt with, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder declaration of elections results and precipitate constitutional crisis.

INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, raised the concern in a message to the validation of election security training resources in Abuja.

The concern is coming amid various assurances and reassurances by the nation’s security chiefs that the nation would be secured before, during and after the polls

INEC however does not feel reassured as it expressed the view that security personnel must step up to forestall possible incidence of cancellation or postponement in sufficient constituencies.

Represented by Chairman Board of Electoral Institute, Professor Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, the INEC chair said this must not be allowed to happen.

He called on the security personnel in particular and all election officials in general to be security conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment, and must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all times.

He said: “Consequently, in preparations for the 2023 general elections, the Commission is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that intensive and extensive security are provided for election personnel, materials and processes.

“This is particularly significant to the Commission given the current insecurity challenges in various parts the country and the fact that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members constitute the core of the polling unit election officials.

“Moreover, if the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder declaration of elections results and precipitate constitutional crisis.

“This must not be allowed to happen and shall not be allowed to happen. Therefore, security personnel in particular and all election officials in general must be security conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment and must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all time.”

“To this end, the National Security Adviser, General Mohammed Babagana Monguno, CFR and the Chairman, INEC have jointly assured the nation that conducive environment will be provided for successful conduct of the 2023 general Election.

“Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, CFR, psc (+), NPM, fdc has conducted Election Security Management Workshops across the six geopolitical zones.

“On its part, the Commission, through The Electoral Institute, has institutionalised the development and implementation of a cascaded training mechanism for security personnel as a critical component of its training plan.

“We are also aware that there is a new Electoral Legal Framework that will guide the 2023 as a result of the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022 which prompted the review of the INEC Regulations and Guidelines for Conduct of Elections 2022.

“In particular, Sections 47(2), 60(1, 2 & 5), 62(1), 64(4a & 4b) and 64(5) of the Electoral Act 2022, which confers INEC with the power to use any technological device to transmit or transfer election results electronically are instructive in this regard.

“Emboldened by these legal protections, the Commission introduced new innovative technologies and procedures and made commitments to the Nigeria People that (a) Continuous Verification, Accreditation and Voting will be conducted at the Polling Units using the Bimodal Verification and Accreditation System (BVAS) and (b) Real-Time Polling Unit-level results will be uploaded on to the INEC Results Viewing (IReV) Portal using the same BVAS.

“These commitments require innovative security strategies and deployments for protection of voters, election personnel, materials, equipment, the electoral processes as well as the general public and infrastructure.

“These innovative systems and processes minimize human errors and delays in results collation and improves the accuracy, transparency, and credibility of the results collation process thereby ensuring credibility of the process.

“They were tested during the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections, held on June 18, 2022 and July 16, 2022, respectively. The Hon. Chairman INEC has severally assured the nation that the BVAS and IReV will be deployed during the 2023 General Elections.

“Reports on the conduct of security operatives during the elections conducted by the Commission specifically stand-alone Governorship Elections in Ekiti and Osun states have shown progressive and commendable improvement in their disposition to electoral training and professionalism on election duties.

“It is believed that the efficiency and effectiveness of security operatives during these Elections owe a lot to the Electoral Security Training conducted by The Electoral Institute (TEI) as reviewed by other critical stakeholders,” the commission further said.

The INEC chief further said: “In a bid to consolidate on these gains, TEI in collaboration with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) held a three-day workshop to review the Electoral Security Personnel Training Manual and Handbook in Kano on the 9th through 11th August, 2022.

“The workshop: Reviewed the subsisting Election Security Personnel (ESP) Manual and Handbook in the light of the prevailing security challenges in the country as well as the impact of the new provisions in the Electoral Act, 2022 on the operations of election security personnel; and developed a Training Guide (Facilitator) for Electoral Security Personnel training.

“In view of the above, the Commission has invited renown election security experts and key critical stakeholders on election security management and conduct of elections in challenging electoral environments to interrogate and validate these Election Training Resources: (i) Election Security Personnel (ESP) Training Manual, 2023; (ii) Handbook on Election Security for Security Personnel (iii) Trainers’ Guide on Handbook for Election Security, 2023 and (iv) Basic Security on Election Duties (BaSED) Handbook , 2023.

“It very important to authenticate, refine and validate these training resources to ensure adequate preparation for the 2023 General Elections. Given the calibre of participants gathered here today, I have no doubt that the discussions will be quite engaging, illuminating and fruitful.”

 

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Insecurity may force cancellation, postponement of 2023 general elections – INEC

Insecurity may force cancellation, postponement of 2023 general elections – INEC

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