The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have made a subtle appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the security of the country to enable elections to hold in Nigeria in 2023.
INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, at the second quarterly meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja on Friday, expressed fear that the security situation in the country may impair elections in 2023, saying that this is a source of concern to INEC. He, however, expressed optimism that the situation could be remedied with nine months to the 2023 general elections.
The INEC chairman assured security agencies of mutual cooperation during the elections. He advised political parties to adhere strictly to the elections timetable to ensure hitch-free processes.
Professor Yakubu, at the second quarterly meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security stated: “The general security situation in the country and its impact on the electoral process is a source of concern to the commission.
“However, we are confident that with nine months to the 2023 general election, there is enough time to respond to the security challenges and secure the nation for elections to take place nationwide.
“The timetable for the election has also been released. Let us not wait until a few weeks to the election before we realise that time is not on our side and begin to seek for extension of timelines. The time to act is now. We wish to reassure the security agencies that we will continue to work cooperatively with you to ensure the success of all forthcoming elections and electoral activities.”
Prof. Yakubu emphasized that the political parties will conclude their primaries for election of candidates on June 3; noting that electioneering campaigns by political parties would commence nationwide, thereafter, as provided by the timetable for the election, in line with the provision of the 1999 Constitution. The INEC chairman added that the commission and security agencies know their specified duties during the elections.
The INEC chairman stated: “We have tasked our Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) to provide basic data on areas of security challenges in their states, including citizens living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.
“Our idea is to harvest the data as a basis for further engagement with the security agencies, as well as devising the best way to provide electoral services to all Nigerians under all circumstances.”
In all the security issues, the Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces has the ultimate responsibility.