2023: INEC urges political stakeholders to abide by Electoral Act, 2022

2023: INEC urges political stakeholders to abide by Electoral Act, 2022
Written by Maritime First

… As INEC seeks UN support on voter education, four other areas***

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday urged politicians and other key political stakeholders in the state to abide by the Electoral Act, 2022 in their electioneering activities.

The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Oyo State, Dr Mutiu Agboke, made the plea at a stakeholders’ meeting on the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) and devolution to ward level in Ibadan.

Agboke said that the Act required the cooperation of all to make the nation’s democracy work.

He said the nation would not make headway, “if stakeholders, particularly the political parties and politicians, work diametrically opposed to the principles of the law”.

According to him, let us all do the right thing and work together as a team, so as to get the best result in our electioneering activities.

“This will also enable the commission to conduct a credible, hitch-free, fair and inclusive 2023 general elections in the state,” REC said.

Updating stakeholders on the activities of the commission, Agboke said that the third quarter of the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) had been concluded with the recent display of the preliminary voters register for claims and objections.

According to him, over 172,559 applicants have visited the commission’s website, cvr.inecnigeria.irg, while over 129, 207 registrants have completed their registration.

He said that the fourth quarter, which would be the last in the series ahead of the 2023 general elections, was commencing on April 11 and was expected to end on June 30.

“I want to remind the gathering that the commission has devolved weekly rotational CVR to its 351 wards in the state, following the successful expansion of voter access to polling units.

“The exercise will enable those that just turned 18 years or more or those that have not registered before now, to register.

“It will also allow electorate that have obtained their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs), but who want to change their locations, or make corrections on the same if necessary, or replace defaced or damaged PVCs, or collect hitherto unclaimed printed PVCs as the case may be, to do so.”

REC assured all new registrants that their PVCs would be made available for collection, saying the commission was not resting on its oars.

In separate remarks, the stakeholders assured the electoral body that they would play their respective roles effectively for the success of the 2023 general elections in the state.

Speaking on behalf of the security agencies, Mrs Ngozi  Onadeko, the Commissioner of Police in Oyo State, pledged to provide adequate security for lives and property before, during and after the 2023 general elections.

Onadeko, represented by Mr Ademola Ajakaiye, urged members of the public to furnish the security operatives with useful information that would enhance the success of the elections.

She also admonished politicians to play the game of politics according to the rules.

Mr Dare Ojo, Chairman of the IntraParty Advisory Council (IPAC) in Oyo State, said the council was doing its best to sensitize members on the need to abide by the Electoral Act.

“IPAC has visited all heads of security agencies in the state, soliciting for their support to ensure a violence-free election.

“I use this opportunity to call on all political parties to prevail on their members to register for their PVCs, to enable all eligible Nigerians to perform their civic responsibility, comes 2023,” Ojo said.

Representatives of Christians and Muslim faithful at the event, Apostle Joshua Akinyemiju and Hassan Ameen pledged to intensify awareness and sensitize their congregations on the need to participate actively in the nation’s electoral processes.

In the same vein, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has identified voter education and sensitisation as one of the core areas it would require the support of the United Nations to successfully conduct a free, fair, credible, and inclusive 2023 general election.

The Daily bulletin issued by the commission quoted INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, as listing the areas of required support when he received in audience the United Nations Needs Assessment Mission, led by Serge Gakwandi Kubwimana, at the Commission’s headquarters, Abuja, on Wednesday.

Yakubu said that given the size of Nigeria, there was a need to keep engaging citizens and stakeholders using different media platforms.

The INEC Chairman reiterated that the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections remains the core concern of the commission.

He listed other areas of priority for the Commission to include consolidating the gains of electoral reforms through increased capacity building for the Commission and other stakeholders.

Also identified by Yakubu were enhancing the security of elections, increasing inclusivity and participation, as well as expanding the use of relevant technology in the electoral process.

He said that there were issues in the conduct and management of the electoral process that were actually sovereign responsibilities to be borne by the Nigerian government.

Yakubu, however, said that “there are some areas of electoral activity where support will be appreciated and we have prioritized 5 areas.

“The first one is Training and Capacity Building support for the staff of the Commission.

The second is Voter Education and Sensitization.

Given the size of the country we need to keep engaging using different media”.

Number three area of support as highlighted by the INEC Chairman “is election security and conflict mitigation.

The fourth area of support enumerated was capacity building for political parties, which nominated candidates for elections.

“So we need to build the capacity of the parties to nominate good candidates so that when elected they can represent the country well,” he added.

The INEC Chairman further identified inclusivity measures as the fifth area of support.

Speaking on the huge task ahead of the Commission in conducting the 2023 general election, Yakubu explained that the general election will be conducted in 1,491 Constituencies across the country.

“We have 18 political parties. Assuming that half of them field candidates in all the constituencies, we are talking about close to 15,000 nominations which is really a huge task.”

Commenting on the size of the voting population in Nigeria, Yakubu said it was currently 11 million larger than the other 14 countries in the West African sub-region put together.

“In 2019, we had 84 million registered voters, we are still registering voters for the 2023 general election, and in our estimation, the voter population will be at least 90 million for 2023. At 90 million, it will make our voter register in Nigeria the largest in West Africa.

“Minus Nigeria, the other 14 countries in West Africa all together have about 73 million registered voters.

“At present, we have 84 million registered voters, so we have 11 million more registered voters than the rest of West Africa combined.

“So each time we conduct an election in Nigeria, it is like we are conducting an election in the whole of West Africa. So, election in Nigeria is no joke at all”.

He further hinted that the 2023 general election will involve about 1 million election officials, including regular and temporary or ad-hoc staff across 176,846 polling units, across 8,809 Wards, and 774 Local Government Areas across the country.

Yakubu expressed delight that the election would be governed by the new Electoral Act 2022.

Earlier in his remarks, the leader of the delegation from the United Nations, Kubwimana, said they were in Nigeria in response to a letter written in January to the United Nations Secretary-General, seeking the support of the organisation ahead of the 2023 general election.

He explained that the meeting with the Chairman and members of the Commission was the high point of a series of scheduled meetings with other key players in the democratic process such as the Leadership of the National Assembly, Leaders of Political Parties and the Government of Nigeria.

This, according to him, is to explore ways of the U.N. intervention through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other entities on the ground that can support the democratic process in Nigeria.

Kubwimana also said that the visit to Nigeria would equally help the UN keep abreast with the state of preparedness for the 2023 general election.

He added that they were available to listen to other issues that the Commission may wish to bring to their notice.

“We also use this to serve as your ambassadors when we go back.

If need be to encourage others to support the very important work that you do,” he added.


About the author

Maritime First