Warns Security Agencies Against Harassing Officials
The National Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, yesterday, said the Commission has concluded arrangement to employ over 1million ad-hoc staff ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu disclosed this during a media chat with journalists in Kano, insisting that the National Assembly has already made appropriations to that effect.
He said the Commission would employ Nigerians that would help them conduct free, fair and credible elections in the country, adding that the INEC has no preferred candidate in the election.
According to him, the National Assembly has also appropriated N305 billion for the conduct of the elections, which is being released instalment basis by the Ministry of Finance.
He said, “Although not the whole amount was dedicated to the Commission’s account, it is being released gradually to meet up with the demands of the Commission.
“INEC has a huge budgetary allocation this time around but the logistics and electoral materials ranging from the Electoral Box, Ink, Voting Papers and the manpower that would be required to work for the attainment of organisational objectives among others.”
The National Electoral Chairman gave assurances that INEC is not a political party and would be up and doing in the discharge of its official responsibility. “INEC has no candidate of its own but only what the electorate determines and whatever is determined by the voters is what the electoral body will declare at the end of it all.”
Yakubu, who said he was in the state to assess the progress of the ongoing Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) Registration as well as to assess the facilities meant for the successful conduct of the 2023 election, said the Commission is now fully prepared seven to eight years away for the conduct of the election, adding that new equipment for the exercise has been provided at sub-regional levels.
He added that the INEC would deepens the use of technology in its quest to have accurate results online, the reason the Commission is displaying the lists of registrants every day for Nigerians to see.
Meanwhile, the Commission also warned security agencies against harassing its officials as the 2023 general elections draw closer.
The Commission gave the warning following the invitation of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Edo State, Dr Johnson Alalibo Sinikiem, by the Edo State Police Command on Thursday.
Sinikiem was reportedly invited by the police in connection with matters arising from the recent primaries conducted by a political party in the state.
Reacting, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye in a statement confirmed that the Edo REC was invited but was neither detained nor is he under investigation as reports suggested.
“However, the Edo State Police Command has issued a statement to clarify the situation, saying that the REC was only invited to provide insight into some technical issues regarding our processes and nothing more. He was neither detained nor is he under investigation as media reports suggested,” Okoye stated
Okoye said while the Commission welcomed the clarification by the Police Command, any other official of the Commission assigned by the REC could have provided the required insight needed by the police.
He added: “Alternatively, a visit to our State Office by the Commissioner of Police or his assigned representative could have achieved the same goal as has been the tradition in our collaborative relationship with security agencies.
“For emphasis, our REC in Edo State, Sinikiem, is a conscientious public officer and co-chairman of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) at the state level. He was the sitting REC when the last governorship election was conducted in Edo State on September 19, 2020, which was adjudged to be free, fair and credible.
“Any action capable of creating the impression of harassment of our officials or infringement on the independence of the Commission must be avoided, especially at this critical period of our preparations for the 2023 General Election.”
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