The Independent National Electoral Commission, on Tuesday, confirmed that it had delivered all non-sensitive materials for the elections to Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at the ongoing training of various categories of its ad hoc staff ahead of the off-cycle governorship elections in the three states, scheduled for Saturday, November 11, 2023.
In a statement released by the electoral body on X, formerly Twitter, Yakubu said INEC has also made soft copies of the complete register of voters available to all political parties participating in the elections.
“We have conducted the mock accreditation of voters and the upload of results to our IReV portal using the BVAS. Stakeholder engagements are ongoing,” Yakubu said.
“Our state offices have concluded the readiness assessment of our facilities as well as the movement of critical facilities to our 56 local government offices across the three states.
“At the same time, political parties have uploaded the names of their polling and collation agents to the dedicated web portal.
“As I informed Nigerians at the meeting with our Resident Electoral Commissions last week, a total of 137,934 agents made up of 130,093 polling and 7,841 collation agents have already been uploaded to the portal.
“However, not all the political parties have nominated agents for all the polling units and even the collation centres in the three states,” he added.
INEC boss said that in the next few days, the commission would publish the detailed distribution of agents uploaded by all political parties for public information.
He urged members of the public to consider the submission of names of agents as important as the nomination of candidates for election.
Yakubu also said printing of agents’ identity cards would be completed this weekend, as this would allow political parties ample time to distribute the cards to their agents.
He said all the identity cards are QR code-readable to ensure maximum security and to avoid impersonation by unaccredited persons.
Speaking on the issue of candidature, he expressed the commission’s concern about the spate of recent judgments and orders of the court in respect of the nomination, substitution, or disqualification of candidates after all the sensitive materials have been printed.
He noted that the reprinting of the materials in compliance with court orders within a short period of time is not only expensive, but the management of the process is also very challenging.
“Although the Commission has already published the final list of candidates for the three States, four recent court orders have compelled us to review the list,” Yakubu explained.
“These changes have been reflected in the updated list of parties and candidates on our website. However, this decision is without prejudice to any pending appeal by the affected candidates or their political parties.”
As electioneering campaigns continue to intensify, Yakubu has also reaffirmed INEC’s concern about the spate of violence in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states involving parties and candidates.
“I wish to remind you as party leaders that free and fair elections are only possible in an atmosphere of peace. After all, elections is a process involving human beings as voters, election officials, observers, and the media whose safety is of paramount concern to us,” he said.
“While we will continue to work with the security agencies in this regard, political parties acting individually or collectively through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) also have an obligation to impress on your members, candidates, and supporters to maintain peace during the campaign rallies and procession.
“I urge you to also appeal to them to maintain the same disposition on Election Day and beyond.”