INEC Sets Stage For November 11 Governorship Polls In Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi With 46,000 Staff,11,000 Observers Accredited

Daud Olatunji

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is gearing up for the governorship elections scheduled for November 11, 2023, in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi states.

 INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu announced on Friday that the commission would deploy an impressive contingent of 46,084 staff to ensure the smooth conduct of these critical elections.

In a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), Yakubu revealed that INEC had also accredited 11,000 observers from national and international organizations, showcasing a strong commitment to transparency and accountability in the electoral process.

With non-sensitive materials already delivered to the three states, INEC aims to learn from the lessons of the 2023 general election to improve its performance in these upcoming polls.

The governorship elections will involve a significant number of registered voters, with 5,409,438 citizens eligible to cast their ballots in 10,510 polling units spread across 649 electoral wards in 56 local councils.

Chairman Yakubu emphasized, “While we are leaving no stone unturned in other areas of preparations for the governorship elections, the commission plans to deploy a total of 46,084 regular and ad hoc staff for the elections. 

We have so far accredited 126 national and international organizations collectively deploying 11,000 observers for the election.”

In addition to this extensive staff and observer presence, INEC has received applications from 80 media organizations seeking to deploy 1,203 personnel, including journalists and technical/support staff, to report on the elections.

A total of 18 political parties will participate in the elections, deploying 137,934 agents, comprising 130,093 polling agents and 7,841 coalition agents. 

INEC is also finalizing arrangements for the transportation of personnel and materials, including vehicles and boats for both land and maritime movement.

Security remains a key concern, with ongoing insecurity and election-related violence in the three states. 

Yakubu stated, “We are concerned about the prevailing insecurity and election-related violence in the three states. We have been reassured of adequate deployment by the security agencies.”

To address these concerns, INEC is deepening its engagement with security agencies and planning additional meetings in the coming days. 

The commission will also hold a series of meetings with stakeholders at the national and state levels to ensure a secure and successful electoral process.

Furthermore, INEC conducted a mock accreditation exercise involving actual voters in designated polling units in the three states. 

The exercise aimed to test the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for biometric authentication of voters and uploading results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV).

 Chairman Yakubu confirmed the success of both tests and expressed confidence in the improved performance of BVAS for voter accreditation and result upload in the upcoming elections.

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