Further attacks on INEC facilities may affect 2023 elections – Okoye


 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed worries that if attacks on its facilities persist into January 2023, it could affect the conduct of the general elections.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC, Mr Festus Okoye, said this at a workshop on Political Violence and Election Security organised by the National Defence College on Monday in Abuja.

Okoye said the commission had recorded some reverses in states where the attacks took place, including destruction of ballot boxes and other election material, as well as permanent voter cards.

He said that the commission had since the 2019 recorded 50 attacks in 15 states of the federation.

According to him, the attacks recorded in 2022 were systematic and coordinated to derail lNEC from conducting free, fair, credible and transparent elections.

He particularly said that the commission recorded so many losses in the attack on its office in Abeokuta South Local Government in Ogun.

Okoye however assured that INEC has the capacity to recover from those attacks,

“So all these attacks that have taken place, we have the capacity to recover and we are going to recover because we are already reprinting the permanent voters cards that were lost during the inferno.

“We are also replacing the voting cubicles and ballot boxes that were lost, we are also trying to rent offices for the ones that we cannot repair.

“But if these attacks go into January and February, it may be difficult for us to recover from those attacks.

“This is because if you look at section 134 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, it has a threshold that a candidate must meet before that candidate can be declared as the winner of any election.

“So we do not want these attacks to continue, we don’t want them to persist.

“But we have the assurance from the various security agencies that they are going to dominate the environment, neutralise these attacks,” he added.

Okoye added that the security agencies had given the assurance that they would ensure a secure and safe environment for the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

He assured Nigerians that INEC would conduct an election driven by technology that would produce a winner that the Nigerian people want.

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