Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has said in line with its tradition of adequately preparing for eventualities, it has enough logistics to take care of a possible run-off in next year’s Presidential Election.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this on Friday in Abuja at a meeting with Bureau Chiefs and Regional Editors of media organizations.
Represented by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr. Festus Okoye, the INEC Chairman said the commission has always prepared for all elections and that it would not have the time to start printing new ballot papers within a space of three weeks in the event of a tie.
“This is because the law gives the commission just 21 days within which to engage in reverse logistics and conduct a run-off election in case there’s no winner,” he said.
INEC also advised Nigerians to follow the procedure outlined in the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended) to make their claims and objections on the voters’ register as displayed nationwide.
He said; “We will harvest all the claims, objections and complaints and carefully and objectively deal with them.
“The whole essence of the display is for Nigerians to double check the register and assist the Commission put in place a robust, comprehensive, and acceptable register.
“While it is Important to use the social media to point out errors, issues and challenges in the register, the correction of the errors and removal of malicious registrations must follow the procedure and sequence outlined in section 19 and 20 of the Electoral Act 2022.
“We urge members of the public to approach our Revision Officers for assistance in making their claims, objections, and complaints.
“We also encourage members of the public to visit the Commissions website and follow the protocols outlined therein in making their claims”.
On the collection of Permanent Voter Cards PVCs, he said; “We assure all Nigerians that the PVCs of those that registered between January 15, 2022 and July 31 2022, will be ready this month (November). The Chairman will give the exact date for collection.
“All those that registered within this period as well as all those that carried out transfer and those that applied for replacement will get their cards. Nigerians will have sufficient time for PVC collection.
“No Nigerian that validly and genuinely registered will be denied the opportunity of collecting his or her Permanent Voters Card.
“We plead that Nigerians should not wait till the 11th hour before approaching our Local Government Offices and the Wards for PVC collection.”
Okoye also said that the use of Bimodal Voter Verification System (BVAS) for 2023 polls, Okoye said “it is mandatory and it is not an option of charity.”
On his part, General Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Editors NGE, Iyobosa Uwugiaren expressed the support of the Guild to the commission at all times.
Also speaking, the Dean of Bureau Chiefs, Yusuf Alli, urged INEC to ensure that the 2023 general elections is free, fair, transparent and credible.