The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has assured Nigerians that the 2023 elections will be held as planned despite numerous attacks on its facilities.
The Commission said the 2022 attack on its facilities constitutes the deepest concerns of INEC following the coordinated attacks as the 2023 elections hold next month.
The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu made this statement while giving an address at Chatham House London on Monday.
Professor Mahmood said the implications of the attacks is that several INEC facilities and election materials must be replaced which is an added cost to the commission.
“So far, the destroyed facilities will be rebuilt or alternatives found and materials lost are being replaced. However, the Commission has repeatedly called for more concerted efforts to control the attacks”, he said.
The INEC boss while speaking on the number of registered voters said 39.65% of the registered voters are youths between the ages of eighteen and thirty- four, closely followed 35.75% middle aged voters between thirty-five and forty- nine which according to him shows the 2023 elections is for the youths and enjoined all Nigerians to collect their PVCS as collection of the permanent Voters Card will be suspended on the 22nd of January.
He expressed readiness of the Commission to serve Nigerians and enhance a free, fair and credible election with the introduction of the Biomodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing Portal(IReV) which performance and functionality has being tested in the Anambra State in November 2021 and in the area council elections in the Federal Capital Territory in Feb2022.
Mahmood reiterated the commitment of the commission to conduct an all inclusive elections in Nigeria.
“Over the years we have worked with various stakeholders to increase the participation of young people and women. Just recently, the commission met with community of persons with disability and we are working together for the launch of a data board that captures all registered voters with disabilities in all polling unit nationwide. This will further ensure that we are able to better serve this community of voters”, he said.
While addressing concerns of diaspora voting, he said the 1999 Constitution and the 2022 electoral act provides that voters can only be registered and vote within the country and hope that the legal issues will be cleared at some point to enable Nigerians in diaspora to vote in the elections.