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Election Schedule Is Inviolate, Declares INEC

***Reached 17 States with Sensitive/Non-Sensitive Materials

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) stressed on Tuesday that the dates of February 25 and March 11 for the presidential/national and governorship/state assembly elections, respectively, remain sacred and that no changes to the schedule of the 2023 general election are being considered.

While delivering the final list of registered voters to all 18 registered political parties vying for seats in the 2023 elections in Abuja, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the electoral commission, closed the window for any modifications.

Additionally, he took use of the opportunity to separate the commission from a claim that the poll may be threatened with cancellation owing to security issues, which was made by a director of the commission.

Prof Yakubu hinted that the position presented by the staff does not reflect the position of INEC. and hence should be disregarded.

Stressing the sanctity of the scheduled dates for the polls, the INEC chairman disclosed that already substancial quantities of both sensitive and and nonsensitive materials have started arriving the various states with 44 days left to the opening of ballot on February 25.

He stressed that the commission has never had this kind of forward looking preparation, coming 44 days to commencement of poll.

According to him:”Already, substantial quantities of sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been deployed to various locations across the country. The last batch of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has been received while the ongoing configuration of the critical technology in readiness for elections will soon be completed.

“In the last two days, we commenced the airlifting of other sensitive materials to States across the country. Already, some of the materials for 17 States in three geo-political zones have been delivered. Furthermore, 13,868,441 Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) have been printed, delivered to States and are being collected by citizens as new voters or by existing voters who applied for transfer or replacement of cards as provided by law.

“Similarly, following the display of the voters’ register nationwide and the conclusion of claims and objections by citizens, a new national register of voters has been compiled. In short, at no time in the recent history of the Commission has so much of the forward planning and implementation been accomplished 44 days ahead of a General Election.

” Therefore, the Commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable, let alone the postponement of the General Election. For the avoidance of doubt, the Presidential and National Assembly elections will hold on Saturday 25th February 2023 while the Governorship and State Assembly elections will hold two weeks later on Saturday 11th March 2023″.

He said the commission is further boosted by “the repeated assurance by the security agencies for the adequate protection of our personnel, materials and processes, insisting that the ” 2023 General Election will hold as scheduled. Any report to the contrary is not the official position of the Commission”.

In all he said that a total of 93,469,008 registered voters, made up of 49,054,162 (52.5%) male and 44,414,846 (47.5%) female, will decide the fate of the presidential candidates, assuring of a credible, transparent and free and fair elections

“I would like to reiterate our commitment to transparent, credible and inclusive 2023 General Election. We will continue to take every step to protect the sanctity of the votes cast by citizens and to deal with infractions, including the arrest and prosecution of persons that attempt to perpetuate illegality at Polling Units on Election Day, be they underaged voters or vote buyers”.
In his reaction the Secretary of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Alhaji Yusuf Dantale while commending INEC Chairman for elaborate organization made ahead of the elections lambasted the unseen hands he said have been working secretly to thwart the efforts of the Commission.

Dantale assured that IPAC as a body will collaborate with INEC to ensure and insist that votes count.

“The next election is going to be an election that its kind has not been witnessed in the country because it is going to be the first time that technology would be deployed to accredit voters and to also transmit results. We are aware that some politicians have been working secretly to undermine the efforts of INEC, but we must ensure that power truly returns to the people.

“We will ensure that the anti-democratic forces don’t have their way. The use of the special device must be encouraged because it will discourage vote buying and the issue of writing results”,he stressed.

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