The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Professor Yakubu Mahmud, says the commission will not be shifting the February 25 and March 11 dates for the 2023 General elections and that the commission is also prepared for a run-off election if the need arises.
Yakubu stated this at a lecture at Chatham House in London on Tuesday, January 17.
Yakubu who decried the spate of attacks on its facilities in form of arson said 50 facilities of the commission had been attacked in four years. He, however, vowed that the 2023 general election would hold in spite of the attacks explaining that the commission would need to continue to rebuild the burnt facilities and replace materials.
“We are going ahead to conduct the election as scheduled. There are no plans to postpone. Even though there are tremendous challenges and expectations of INEC, the Commission is a beneficiary of enormous goodwill in Nigeria and beyond. We can surmount the challenges and ensure elections continue to get better,” he said.
Yakubu said the turnout for new registration was very high and that at the moment, Nigerian voters were 16.7million more than the rest of West Africa.
He revealed that over 600, 000 PVCs were collected in Lagos in the last month, but lamented that the state had the largest number of uncollected cards. He also stated that most of the collected PVC’s were from newly registered votes, while uncollected PVC’s dates to 2015.
Speaking on voters who have been displaced as a result of insecurity in the North East and North West, he said the Commission would conduct polls in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps to ensure that no one in disenfranchised.
He also said the commission would conduct mock elections in some select states to test the use of the technology to be deployed.