The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has expressed the commitment of the Commission to ensure free and fair elections in 2023.
Yakubu, stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the opening of Election Security Management Training organised by the Nigeria Police Force, at the International Conference Center.
He specifically applauded the Inspector General of Police, IGP, for convening this very important Workshop on security management training for Police and other security personnel ahead of the 2023 General Election.
“I am also glad that the initiative does not begin and end here in Abuja but extended to the six geo-political zones. The Commission supports this laudable initiative and will fully participate in the training workshops nationwide.” Yakubu said.
Speaking further, he said, “Election preparations, deployment and implementation constitute the most extensive mobilization that could happen in a country, whether in peacetime or in wartime. In Nigeria, it involves the recruitment and training of staff and managing the logistics for their deployment to 176,846 Polling Units spread across 8,809 electoral Wards, 774 Local Areas and 37 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“It also involves a projected voter population of about 95 million for the 2023 General Election which is over 20 million more than the combined voter population of the other 14 countries in West Africa. Voters will also elect candidates for 1,491 constituencies (1 Presidential constituency, 28 Governorship elections, 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal Constituencies and 993 State Assembly seats). Ensuring the safety and security of voters, election personnel and materials, candidates, party agents, observers, the media and transporters are enormous. This responsibility has become more challenging in the context of the current security situation in the country.”
He therefore said he was glad that the Nigeria Police as the lead agency in election security has once again demonstrated its leadership role by convening this Workshop, adding, “With about seven months to the next General Election, there is time for proactive measures to ensure that the entire country is secure for election to hold nationwide.”
“In addition to physical security, I am glad to note that this Workshop will also focus on deepening the capacity of the security personnel to imbibe and comply with global standard of election security management. Already, the Commission, under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), has produced and periodically revised the code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty.
“In the next few weeks, the code of conduct as well as our training manuals will be revised to align them with the provisions with the Electoral Act 2022 and to consolidate on the professionalism displayed by the security agencies in the recent off-cycle elections. We will also intensify our cascade training for security personnel ahead of the 2023 General Election.”
Yakubu reassured the Inspector General of Police, heads of other security agencies and all members of ICCES that the Commission will continue to work in synergy with you to ensure a safe and secure environment for the 2023 General Election, stressing, “It is a critical election and we must all continue to work together to protect the will of the Nigerian people.”