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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has pledged that the commission’s loyalty is to Nigerians as its prepares for the general elections of 2023.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said this at a two-day induction retreat for the commission’s administrative secretaries held in Lagos.
Yakubu was represented by Mr. Sam Olumekun, the INEC National Commissioner, Election and Party Monitoring Committee (EPMC).
He asserts that the commission has made consistent progress in the 23 years since the restoration of democracy, with the quality of the country’s elections improving and public confidence in the system rising.
Yakubu said, “Let me repeat once again that the Commission’s allegiance is to Nigeria. Our loyalty is to Nigerians who want free, fair, credible and verifiable elections.
“It is in this respect that I want to warn all staff of the commission to be neutral and professional in their conduct during the forthcoming election.”
According to him, since the 2011 general elections, the reliance on new knowledge and experience gathered from the conduct of previous elections, enhancing electoral integrity and improving voter experience through innovations, planning and technology had guided INEC through several elections.
“Consequently, our elections have become better, electoral outcomes less contentious and less stressful, ” he added.
With only 88 days until the start of the general elections in 2023, according to Yakubu, it is more important than ever for the commission to stay focused and conduct a successful general election.
He said, “This retreat is therefore an opportunity to not only bring our Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) up to date about preparations, procedures and requirements for a successful election but also get the commitment of our Administrative Secretaries towards attaining the highest level of efficiency in implementing the strategies outlined for a successful 2023 General Election.
“In this regard Administrative Secretaries are expected to be effective coordinators and provide timely progress reports and highlight challenges to proactively addressed without affecting relevant timelines.”
Yakubu stated that Administrative Secretaries were also expected to completely support their respective RECs in order to make sure that the deployment and coordination of personnel and resources was effective and primarily focused on achieving desired results.
He asked INEC state offices to regularly examine their level of preparedness in order to spot potential bottlenecks, fix them, and inform the commission’s appropriate authorities.
“Over the last two years, the Commission has increased the deployment of technology in elections in Nigeria,” he added,
Yakubu claimed that INEC had developed systems, portals, and designed them to handle various electoral activities, such as voter registration, accreditation, and the transmission of results from the polling places.
He explained that in addition to other election-related tasks, this platform would handle the nomination of candidates by political parties, the accreditation of poll workers, and election observers.
“Of these innovations, most Nigerians are now familiar with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which doubles as a device for accreditation as well as upload of the Polling Unit level result sheets to the INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal on election day.
“The combination of the BVAS and the IReV portal have come to stay as a means of voter accreditation and transmission of election results.
“I urge you to thoroughly familiarise yourselves with the election technologies of INEC.
“There is no gainsaying in the fact that the tasks ahead rests squarely on you all as Accounting Officers whose ingenuity would be relied upon to effectively manage the logistics and indeed all aspects of the conduct of the elections.
“It is therefore incumbent on all participants to bring to bear your wealth of experience and expertise to ensure an efficient and effective management of the entire process of the election with particular attention to the election logistics in your respective states,” he said.
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