The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria has warned that the ongoing insecurity in the country may lead to the cancellation or postponement of the 2023 elections in certain areas.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, expressed concern about the current state of insecurity in Nigeria at a workshop on election security training resources in Abuja. Yakubu was represented by the Chairman Board of Electoral Institute (BEI), Prof. Abdullahi Zuru.
He emphasized the importance of election security, given that National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members make up the majority of polling Unit election officials. Professor Yakubu also highlighted the measures that INEC is taking to improve the electoral process, including the introduction of new technologies and procedures, and the deployment of the Bimodal Verification and Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Results Viewing (IReV) for the elections.
“If the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder declaration of election results and precipitate constitutional crisis.
“This must not be allowed to happen and shall not be allowed to happen,” he said.
“Therefore, security personnel in particular and all election officials in general must be security conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment and must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all times.
“To this end, the National Security Adviser, Gen. Mohammed Babagana Monguno; and the Chairman, INEC have jointly assured the nation that conducive environment will be provided for successful conduct of the 2023 general Election.
“Similarly, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, has conducted Election Security Management Workshops across the Six Geopolitical Zones.
“On its part the Commission, through The Electoral Institute, has institutionalised the development and implementation of a cascaded training mechanism for security personnel as a critical component of its training plan.’’
These measures, he said, require innovative security strategies to protect voters, election personnel, materials and equipment, as well as the electoral process, the general public, and infrastructure.