…Urges NASS to pass Electoral Offenses Tribunal
By Nnamdi Ojiego
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has assured that those whose permanent voter cards, PVCs, were destroyed following incessant attacks on the commission’s offices across the country would be able to vote in the 2021 general elections.
The commission also said it was partnering with security agencies and other critical stakeholders like Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, to ensure that it conducts free, fair and credible elections.
The INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, gave this assurance on Friday in Lagos, at an interactive session with the line editors of media organizations.
According to him, “every PVC has a Voter Identification Number, VIN. INEC will retrieve the VINs and will quickly reprint the burnt/damaged cards to enable the affected voters to vote. Yes, they will be able to vote.
“Our responsibility is clearly cut out and that is to conduct the coming elections in all parts of the country. Security agencies provide security.
“Presently, we are working with security agencies to conduct the 2023 elections. We are determined and committed, and with the support of everybody, not only the security agencies, we will conduct credible elections in all parts of the country in 2023 and subsequently.
“For example, who believed that we we will have a credible election in Anambra in 2021? But we did because there was collaboration between INEC and the security agencies to make sure we had free and fair governorship poll there.”
The INEC chairman, however, assured that the commission was working to ensure that all registered voters participated in the elections.
“Those whose Permanent Voters’ Cards are burnt will vote if they apply for a new card. We will reprint those cards and the owners can vote. This also covers those who have lost their PVCs.”
Yakubu said the commission was really worried by electoral violence, targeted attacks on its facilities destruction of its offices, materials, pointing out that it was not a good omen for the 2023 elections.
While urging the National Assembly to ensure the proposed Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal came into being, Yakubu said it was important to ensure that electoral offenders were effectively punished.
He pleaded with journalists to assist in countering misinformation, disinformation and fake news.
Speaking on reservations by Nigerians on the possibility of using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) in poor network areas as it depended on telecommunications network to work, Yakubu said the commission would be meeting with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Tuesday, on mobile network issues that might affect transmission of results.
He said that Nigerians had nothing to fear about the effectiveness of result transmission in the 2023 general elections using the BVAS.
The INEC chairman said they were liaising with NCC to make sure there would be seamless transmission of results in the 2023 elections.
“INEC has identified blind spots (where there is poor or no networks) and we are working to make sure there won’t be any problem.
“We are working with the NCC to make sure we transmit from blind spots. They are the network regulators and they will be very vital to that.
“We are making sure and working hard so that we transmit freely all around the country,” he said.