he Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says that the prevailing security challenges in the country may lead to the “cancellation/or postponement” of the 2023 general elections billed to start in February..
Mahmood Yakubu, the National Chairman of INEC dropped the hint in Abuja.
“If the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder declaration of election results and precipitate constitutional crisis,” Mr Yakubu, represented by the Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute, Abdullahi Zuru, said on Monday.
The electoral body had announced February 25 and March 12 for the presidential and national assembly and governorship elections respectively.
INEC also disclosed that eighteen political parties fielded candidates for the exercise, with the PDP, APC, LP, and NNPP as the top political parties that would be participating in the election.
Speaking at the validation of election security training resources held in Abuja, Mr Yakubu explained that election security was vital to conducting a free, fair, and credible polls.
Mr Yakubu promised that the commission would ensure adequate security for its personnel and electoral materials if the exercise would still hold.
“We all appreciate the fact that election security is vital to democratic consolidation through the provision of enabling environment for the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections and thus strengthening the electoral process.
“Consequently, in preparations for the 2023 general elections, the commission is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that intensive and extensive security are provided for election personnel, materials and processes,” he added.
According to him, “This is particularly significant to the commission given the current insecurity challenges in various parts of the country and the fact that the National Youth Service Corps members constitute the core of the polling unit election officials.”
“This must not be allowed to happen and shall not be allowed to happen,” he added.
The INEC top boss, however, asked security personnel in particular and all election officials in general to be security conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment “and must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all times.”
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