The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged security operatives to maintain the level of professionalism displayed during the November 6, 2021 Anambra State governorship poll in the 2023 general elections.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the charge, yesterday, during the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu said the Anambra governorship poll was conducted peacefully despite the tension and violence that preceded it, adding that it will go down in history as a remarkable feat. On behalf of INEC, let me seize this opportunity to commend the professionalism of the security agencies without which the peaceful conduct of the election would not have been possible.
“I am confident that the standard of professional conduct displayed by INEC officials and the security agencies in the Edo, Ondo and Anambra states governorship elections will be maintained in all forthcoming polls and the 2023 general election.
“Our responsibility is to protect the process to guarantee its integrity while leaving the outcome of the election for voters to determine,” Yakubu said.
He stressed the need for security agencies to provide adequate security for the 2023 general elections holding in the next 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 added.
On the continuous voter registration exercise, Yakubu said the commission was aware of the constraints experienced by many citizens in reaching the 811 designated centres nationwide for the exercise, adding that some of the centres were separated by considerable distance from citizens’ places of residence.
Yakubu said the process of activating the additional 1,862 centres nationwide to make it easier for citizens to exercise their right to register as voters is in motion.
“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 centres nationwide,” he added.
Responding, National Security Adviser (NSA) and Co-chairman of ICCES, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), restated President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2023.
Monguno, who was represented by Sanusi Galadima, said all security architecture would be mobilised to achieve the objective and commended INEC on the ongoing technological innovation in the electoral process, noting that it would deepen the country’s democratic culture.