The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has listed the destruction of the property and staff of the commission as capable of affecting negatively the November 6, 2021, Anambra State governorship election and the 2023 general election.
He stated this as former INEC national commissioner and scholar, Prof. Adele Jinadu, described vote buying as the latest contrived act capable of undermining the electoral integrity in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
Relatedly, Adele said it has become increasingly clear since the post-2011 general election that state resources are being used with impunity and at an alarming rate as part of election-related and electioneering war-chest of governing parties at the federal and state levels.
Both spoke at the 2021 annual Abubakar Momoh Memorial Lecture, with the title: ‘Security and Elections: Implications for Anambra State Governorship and the 2023 General Election’.
The INEC chairman, in his welcome address, said the topic of the lecture was quite significant especially with the ongoing security challenges nationwide, and particularly, as there has been numerous attacks on the commission’s offices and property all over the country.
According to the Yakubu, “For instance, between 2019 general elections and now, there have been attacks on 42 INEC offices in the country.
“We are, therefore, seriously concerned at the impact of this challenge when the physical appearance of registrants commences at the 2,673 registration centres soon.
“This challenge is more pronounced as the commission will deploy 5,345 workers to officiate in the 2,673 registration centres nationwide. Naturally, we are deeply concerned about their safety even more than the security of our property and materials.”
The INEC chairman said: “We are equally concerned about the Anambra State governorship election scheduled for November6, 2021, especially following the attack on the head office in the state.”
He explained that INEC in collaboration with all stakeholders is determined to tackle the challenge.
“Definitely, we cannot face it alone, so this is why voter education and information, constant dialogue, community outreaches, deliberations and assessment forum such as this public lecture will continue,” he explained.
Meanwhile, in his lecture, Prof Jinadu said studies have shown that “the more INEC succeeds in reducing electoral malpractices through the administrative reforms and the application of integrity enhancing technology in its operations, the more there’s an increase in vote-buying and recourse to the abuse of power of incumbency for illicit electoral gain.”
This development, he said portends a grave threat to the conduct of credible democratic elections, and the national security in the country.
However, he said: “I am also convinced that in the long run, hope will be restored and unfulfilled possibilities of electoral politics will become fulfilled ones to strengthen our country.”
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