The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said it would conduct the 2023 general elections across the country, despite attacks on its facilities and staff in some parts of the country.
The commission, however, said it would not announce results from polling units where violent incidents were orchestrated.
While reacting to the violent attacks on its facilities and staff in Imo State last week, INEC assured Nigerians that the body would devise strategies to protect its offices, assets, and personnel nationwide.
INEC described the attacks on its facilities and staff in Imo State as clear display of ignorance, and assured Nigerians of a transparent election in 2023.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Akwa Ibom State, Mike Igini, who gave the assurance, said INEC had developed robust systems that were replicable and sustainable to deliver credible elections.
Igini who spoke yesterday, on ‘The Morning Show’ on Arise News Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, explained that as part of preparation for the 2023 elections, there would be a re-assessment across board.
He further said by virtue of the 2022 Electoral Act, results from polling units were going to be uploaded into the cloud.
“The question of people thinking that at the polling units, results are going to be changed, that’s not going to happen anymore. In fact, the polling units is now going to be the centre of the entire election processes.
“We want to end the business of people going to tribunal in this country. What we have done to handle 2023 election is different from what we have been doing before.
“If you look at all the elections we have conducted recently, nobody has gone to tribunal to challenge the true procedure of that election, because of the significant changes that INEC has made,” Igini stated.
According to him, “there would be no way elections could be carried out under the situation we find ourselves in the country, but the elections will go on based on INEC’s new arrangement.”
He said it should be appreciated that, “the 2023 elections would not be like any type of elections as it is not an election for second term,” adding that it is important that all Nigerians who have attained the age of 18 and above who have not registered before should do so now
“This is an election where we have elite formation that will determine the next four, eight or sixteen years,” Igini said
Speaking further, he urged people who have issues with their permanent voter’s card (PVCs) to have them sorted out as soon as possible.
He explained that all those who had been buying PVCs in previous elections, would be wasting their resources, should they do same in the forthcoming general elections, as there would not be avenues to rig the elections, through the buying of PVCs.
Igini revealed that INEC has migrated from Automated Finger Identification System to Automated Biometric Identification System, which includes facial recognition.
He said: “This is why across Nigeria, we were able to detect all those who had done multiple registration and they were over one million people. As I speak, from the first quarter and the second quarter, which ended last December, we have registered over 1.8 million people.”
The INEC boss announced that the fourth and final quarter for registration of PVCs is ongoing and ending on the 30th of June 2022.
He advised Nigerians to take advantage of the opportunity.
“It is the assumption that the people will make informed rational choice on election day but as we have seen, across the world, poverty and the level of illiteracy will determine whether a voter will use his or her ballot paper as a commodity for sale.
“Nigerians need to be informed and assured that their votes will count. When people sell their votes, they should know that they will automatically forfeit their rights to ask for accountability in elections,” Igini added.