The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday, met with security agencies to review Nigeria’s security situation.
The meeting was with a view to activate additional centers nationwide for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, disclosed this at the first regular Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting in 2022, in Abuja.
Yakubu said that INEC was aware of the constraints experienced by many citizens in reaching the 811 designated centers nationwide to register in the ongoing CVR.
“I want to assure Nigerians that we are aware of the constraints experienced by many citizens in reaching the 811 designated centers nationwide to register.
“Some of them are separated by considerable distance from the places where citizens reside.
“We are looking forward to activating the additional 1,862 centers nationwide to make it easier for citizens to exercise their right to register as voters.
“At the same time, we are mindful of the imperative of securing the process, especially the lives of registrants and our personnel. We will not put the lives of Nigerians and our registration officials at risk.
“For this reason, this meeting will review the security situation with a view to achieving our ultimate goal of activating 2,673 registration centers nationwide,’’ he said.
The INEC chairman, who commended security agencies’ professional conduct at the Anambra governorship election, urged them to sustain it for upcoming off cycle elections.
He said he was confident that the standard of professional conduct displayed by INEC officials and the security agencies in the Edo, Ondo and Anambra governorship elections would be maintained in all forthcoming polls, including the 2023 general elections.
“Our responsibility is to protect the process to guarantee its integrity while leaving the outcome of the election for voters to determine,” Yakubu added.
He said that 2022 would be a very busy year for the commission as it would be conducting pending nine constituencies’ bye-elections.
He added that INEC would also conduct Ekiti and Osun governorship elections scheduled for June 18, and July 16 respectively as well as the FCT Area Council poll holding on Feb. 12.
He noted that the Commissioner of Police in FCT would brief the meeting on the state of preparation with emphasis on the identified flashpoints and the security situation generally in the FCT.
Yakubu added that INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner and the commission would also provide an overview of the commission’s readiness for the FCT election.
“In addition to these off-cycle and bye-elections, we must also continue to prepare for the 2023 general elections holding in 394 days.
“Securing the nation under current circumstances is challenging enough. It is more so in an election year.
“Beginning from this meeting, we shall focus mainly on the best way to secure the electoral process in the most professional manner,” he said.
The National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno, reiterated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to ensuring free, fair and credible elections in Ekiti, Osun and the 2023 general elections.
Represented by Mr. Sanusi Galadima, Monguno said that all available security and intelligence assets of government would be mobilised toward achieving the same objective.
Monguno, who is also the Co-Chairman of ICCES, commended INEC chairman and staff, security personnel and other international partners that made Anambra governorship election credible and peaceful.
He said that the ICCES meeting would help members to collectively brainstorm on how to address the identified challenges with the electoral process and proffer solutions in a proactive manner.