By Olayinka Ajayi
LAGOS – The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has restated that the commission would recover from recent attacks on its facilities.
The INEC chairman, Professor Mahmoud made this disclosure on Tuesday, while speaking at a retreat organised for Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs.
He said, “In the last four months, five of our offices were attacked, buildings damaged, and materials destroyed across the country.
“It worrisome for us because we lost over 1990 ballots boxes, 399 voting cubicles, 24 generators, and quite a number of PVCs among many other items.
“These attacks must stop and the perpetrators prosecuted. Our responsibility is to conduct elections and I want to assure Nigerians that we will recover from these attacks and
that the lost materials will be replaced.
“We will continue to work with security agencies, traditional and community leaders, and we’ll meaning Nigerians to stop the attacks. But the ultimate solution is to arrest and prosecute the culprits.
” One of the most painful is the recent attack in Ebonyi State. Staff relocated to the office on Friday and on Sunday the facility was attacked.
“We are confident that we will recover but there’s a limit as to how much we can recover if the attacks continue with 86 days to the general elections.
“We are committed to ensuring that nothing will stop the election from going ahead as scheduled and the will of Nigerian people will prevail.
Asked on insinuations that voters can vote without PVCs, Yakubu, who criticize the online report said, “For anybody to vote, the commission has always maintained the policy of no PVC, no voting. So nothing has changed and that would violate section 47, sub-section 1 of the electoral act of 2022.
“Any Nigerian who wishes to vote on election day must present his or her PVC to the presiding officer at the polling unit. The policy hasn’t changed and we will be the last to violate the electoral act. So Nigerians should discountenance the insinuation that people can vote on election day without PVC.”
The INEC boss has, however, charged the RECs to be professional in their duties.
He said, “Our success ultimately depends on our integrity. The commission is not a political party, the commission has no candidate in the forthcoming elections. All political parties have equal standing before the commission.
“Our responsibility is to uphold the sanctity of ballot nothing more nothing less.”
“The retreat is to familiarize RECs with the processes and procedures because the election is held in the next 86 days.
ON court judgement to continue with voters registration, he said, ” We have consistently said there’s no court judgement that says INEC should continue voters registration. It’s a misinformation and that should also be discountenanced. We have less than 90 days to the election and there’s no court order to resume the election.”
UNDP tasked INEC with credible elections
On his part, a representative of the United Nations Development Programme , UNDP, Chief Technical Advisor on Elections, Deryck Fritz at the retreat who warned that Democracy is threatened globally urged INEC to ensure that the forthcoming elections are credible.
He said, “In several countries, election results are not being accepted, are being challenged and illegal means are being used to address the electoral process. The new electoral act should be the basis for addressing the aggrieved person. So INEC should ensure that it conducts credible elections.”