Insecurity: Though challenging, 2023 election must hold – INEC insists

Tunde Joshua Abuja

With the daunting security situation in the country, conducting the 2023 election no doubt will be challenging, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) insisted that election must hold next year.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu gave this assurance Thursday in Abuja at the official presentation of the INEC Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and the INEC Election Project Plan for the 2023 General Election The Trumpet gathered.

Yakubu said the Commission has carefully listened to the demand of Nigerians for seamless processes, particularly about enhanced voter education, better distribution of voters to polling units, quality training of election personnel, functionality of electronic devices, improved logistics, prompt commencement of polls, availability of assistive devices for persons with disability at polling units and greater transparency in result management.

He, however, said INEC is also aware of the security challenges and their impact on the electoral process.

Assuring Nigerians of plans to forge ahead despite the situation, he said “we will continue to engage early and intensely with the security agencies to ensure the safety of our personnel and materials, accredited observers and the media and, above all, the voters.

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“Clearly, these are challenging times but we are determined that election must hold in 2023.

Challenging Nigerians that credible election in 2023 is a shared responsibility, he said though INEC plays a critical role, the Commission alone cannot deliver the elections we all desire.

“I, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to join hands with us in ensuring that we make a success of the process”, he said.

Presentation of the documents, said the chairman, is the third in the series of strategic election plans since the era of deliberate planning of elections started in 2012.

He expressed delight that these plans have been finalised ten months ahead of the 2023 general election, disclosing that the Commission relied on three key elements; the knowledge and experience gathered from the conduct of previous elections, the use of innovations to enhance electoral integrity and improve voter experience and the institutionalization of the culture of planning, in putting together the two documents.

“The Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and the 2023 Election Project Plan drew lessons from and thoroughly reviewed, the level of implementation of the last plans. They build on the successes of the preceding plans, especially in the planning and conduct of the 2019 General Election as well as off-cycle and bye-elections.

“These concerns are reflected in the Plan’s five strategic objectives, each of which identified several key actions, key activities and key outcomes that constitute a broad guide to the vision of the Commission to provide electoral operations, systems and infrastructure to support the delivery of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections.

“The Plan also forms the basis for the Election Project Plan which focuses on five key objectives identified by the Commission as critical for the successful conduct of the 2023 General Election.”, he said.

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