INEC: We Have No Plans to Postpone the Presidential Election…….
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stated yesterday that it has no plans to change or amend the dates for the upcoming elections.
The electoral body stressed that it would not, under any circumstances, allow anti-democratic elements and fifth columnists to mislead the Nigerian people about the Commission’s goals and intentions.
Following a claim by a national newspaper that the electoral body was considering postponing the presidential election by two weeks due to the recent attacks on the commission, particularly in the southeast, the clarification became necessary.
In response to the report, Festus Okoye, Chairman of the INEC National Commission on Publicity and Voter Education, told THISDAY that the Commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has consistently and emphatically assured the nation that the dates set for the conduct of the 2023 general election were fixed and firm.
“The idea of shifting, postponing, or adjustment of timetables is not on the table and is not being considered by the Commission,” he explained.
Postponement advocates cannot speak for the Commission. Their opinions are based on imaginative supposition rather than on actual reality.”
Okoye highlighted that the Commission has completed 12 of the 14 items on its timetable and activity program.
He stated that the whole Bi-modal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) required for the election’s conduct in the 176,846 polling stations, as well as redundancy for the 8,809 Registration Areas, had been tested and declared fit for purpose.
Mr. Okoye emphasized that 436 of these would be used for mock accreditation in 12 polling units in each of the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja. This is scheduled to happen on February 4, 2023.
Okoye stated that the Commission has amended and strengthened its Memorandum of Understanding with several transportation and maritime unions.
He emphasized that INEC would hire at least 100,000 vehicles to transport election staff and materials to polling places.
Okoye also stated that the Commission met with the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited and that they guaranteed the Commission of the availability of products during the period, which encouraged the Commission.
He revealed that INEC also met with the leadership of the federal courts, led by His Lordship, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, and assured the Commission that the judiciary was prepared for the elections.
“There is no valid justification for the conjecture linked to the suspension or rescheduling of the election,” Okoye remarked.
We must not enable anti-democratic elements and fifth columnists to mislead the Nigerian people about the Commission’s aims and intentions.
The Commission is working hard for the Nigerian people and will hold elections that are free, fair, credible, verifiable, and inclusive.”
Furthermore, Okoye stated that Sections 132 and 178 of the constitution have limited the time frame for holding national and state elections.
He stated that holding the polls on the dates and times given by the Commission would be in the best interests of the Nigerian people and “our democracy.”
“We must continue to ensure Nigerians that they will vote in a safe atmosphere, that their ballots will be safe, and that their votes will count and be counted. “We must not elevate erroneous speculations that are not based on facts and reality,” Okoye stated.