2023 elections

February 25, 2023

2023 Elections: Insecurity, logistic issues caused delay in voting – INEC

INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC said insecurity was responsible for the delay in voting and opening of polling units by election officials.

According to the Commission, peculiar insecurity in some states and logistics issues further hinder early voting in the ongoing elections.

The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, disclose this during a media briefing in Abuja on Saturday.

Yakubu added that thugs attacked three polling units and cart away five Bimodal Voter Authentication Systems, BVAS.

The INEC Chief said polling units in Nigeria, Delta and Katsina States were attacked by thugs, and eight BVAS were moved by thugs, and that the machines were later recovered.

He said, “One of the challenges identified is the inability of the commission in a number of places to open the polling units at the appointed time of 8:30 am. Some of the polling units opened late. But in line with our policy, any Nigerian who is in the queue will have the opportunity to vote no matter how long it takes until the last person in the queue before 2:30 pm votes.

“Some of the reasons why we could not open some of the polling units on time include; perennial problems of logistics in spite of our best efforts. I think we have conquered the challenge of getting election materials to various locations. Though there may be complaints here and there, generally speaking, we have delivered millions of ballot papers and result sheets that we are supposed to deliver for the election.

“But another contributing factor to the late opening of polling units is actually the perennial insecurity in the country. For instance, we could not deploy early enough to Alawa in Shiroro Local Government Area in Niger State. Bandits launched an attack, not necessarily on INEC offices or facilities but in the area. With the advice of the security agencies, we tarried a while but I am happy to say that we are able to deploy to Alawa, and voting in that location is ongoing as we speak.

“Similarly, in Oshimili LGA of Delta State, thugs attacked a polling unit and two BVAS machines were lost in the process. But again, determined that the election must continue, we were able to replace the stolen BVAS machine, and reinforce security agencies and voting contained in that polling unit.

“Similarly, in Safana LGA of Katsina State, thugs attacked one of our voting locations and snatched 6 BVAS machines. But again, we were able to recover and use the spare BVAS machines and reinforce security for voting to continue in that location. Happily, security agencies have recovered the BVAS machines but three are still held by the thugs.”

Yakubu noted that the attacks by the thugs were targeted at the BVAS.

“So in these locations, the target of attacks was actually the BVAS machines no longer our ballot papers or the ballot box,” he said.