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We’re facing challenges ahead of 2023 elections, INEC admits

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Factual Pursuit of Truth for Progress

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has admitted that it is facing challenges as it prepares for the 2023 elections.

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The INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Electoral Matters, made this claim on Monday.

He identified the recent flooding across the nation as a major concern as it had destroyed no fewer than 20 offices of the commission.

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The chairman of the electoral umpire said the development had forced the agency to begin to look for new office spaces in new locations in some states.

In his words, “We have office rent and residential rent. So many of our offices were attacked and some actually flooded after the recent floods. We have 20 offices in that situation after the recent floods. In some, we can repair and replace the damaged or lost equipment.

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“But for others, we just have to look for a facility to rent. From Jigawa, there was a request for us to look for three offices, following the damage caused by flooding of the offices that we occupied.

In May last year, INEC said it was assessing loss of materials to attacks, with the preliminary assessment indicating that 11 offices, 1,105 ballot boxes, 694 voting cubicles, 429 electric generating sets and 13 utility vehicles – Toyota Hilux pick-up vans – had been lost.

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Yakubu, who said this at an emergency meeting with security agencies, under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security, in Abuja, following the serial attacks on the commission’s offices and facilities especially in the south-eastern part of the country, warned that a disruption to the electoral process would undermine Nigerian democracy and destabilise the country.

However, speaking at last week’s meeting with the Reps panel, Yakubu thanked the committee and the National Assembly by extension for passing the Electoral Act 2022, which he described as “the most progressive Electoral Act ever in the history of elections in Nigeria.”

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The chairman urged the parliament to pass the bill seeking to establish an electoral offences commission and tribunal before the end of the 9th National Assembly.

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