In a meeting held on Friday, October 20th, 2023, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, addressed the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and various stakeholders at the INEC Conference Room in Abuja. This gathering was part of the Commission’s ongoing efforts to ensure the smooth conduct of electoral activities in Nigeria.
This marked the third meeting in just four months, reflecting the Commission’s dedication to maintaining transparency and improving electoral processes. The previous meetings in July, which included a review of the 2023 General Election, and a retreat in Lagos, are part of INEC’s continuous efforts to enhance election procedures.
The Chairman commended the hard work of all stakeholders, emphasizing that electoral activities in Nigeria extend beyond the General Election. Looking ahead, he discussed the off-cycle Governorship elections scheduled to take place in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States in the next three weeks. These elections will involve 5,409,438 registered voters across 10,510 polling units in 56 Local Government Areas. All non-sensitive materials for the elections have been delivered, and various preparatory activities, including training, are underway. The Commission aims to apply valuable lessons learned from the 2023 General Election to ensure improved performance in these upcoming elections.
To ensure the efficacy of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), a mock accreditation involving actual voters was conducted in the three states. This exercise was successful, and INEC anticipates better performance of the BVAS in voter accreditation and result upload during the forthcoming elections.
A significant deployment of 46,084 regular and ad hoc staff is planned for the Governorship elections. Additionally, 126 national and international organizations, deploying 11,000 observers, have been accredited. Eighty media organizations have applied to send 1,203 personnel to cover the elections, and the 18 participating political parties are deploying 137,934 agents, including polling and collation agents. The Commission is also finalizing arrangements for vehicles and boats to ensure the secure transportation of personnel and materials.
Security remains a primary concern as election-related violence and insecurity continue to be issues in the three states. INEC has been reassured by the security agencies of adequate deployment, and the Commission will maintain close collaboration with these agencies. Further meetings with stakeholders at both the national and state levels are planned to address these concerns.
The Chairman concluded by welcoming attendees to the meeting and expressing his anticipation of fruitful discussions, emphasizing the importance of a secure and well-organized electoral environment.
As Nigeria prepares for these off-cycle Governorship elections, INEC is committed to ensuring transparency, security, and efficiency in the electoral process.