By Princess-Ekwi Ajide -Abuja
Ten months ahead of the 2023 geneeral elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, says it has finalised plans for the successful conduct of the election.
The Chairman, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at the official presentation of the INEC Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and the INEC Election Project Plan for the 2023 General Election attended by development partners including the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES),
Presebting the documents which are the third in the series of strategic election plans since the era of deliberate planning of elections started in 2012 Professor Yakubu, said, the election will be conducted for 1,491 constituencies nationwide made up of 1 presidential constituency, 109 senatorial districts, 360 federal constituencies, 28 governorship elections and 993 state constituencies adding that the election will involve an estimated one million electoral officials (both permanent and temporary or ad hoc staff) deployed to 176,846 polling units in 8,809 Wards and 774 Local Government Areas across the country.
He noted that the election will be governed by the new Electoral Act 2022, which contains many progressive provisions that will enhance the capacity of the Commission to conduct elections and manage the electoral process better hence it is relying on three key elements which include the knowledge and experience garnered from the conduct of previous elections, use of innovations to enhance electoral integrity and improve voter experience and the institutionalization of the culture of planning.
These elements, according to the Chairman, have guided the Commission through three successive general and several off-cycle and bye elections and as such, elections are getting better, electoral outcomes less contentious, and voter experience of the electoral system increasingly more participatory and inclusive.
Professor Yakubu, noted that the Strategic Plan 2022-2026 and the 2023 Election Project Plan thoroughly reviewed, the level of implementation of the last plans and thus built on the successes of the preceding plans, especially in the planning and conduct of the 2019 General Election as well as off-cycle and bye-elections; especially with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current security situation in the country, both plans had to prioritise the institutionalisation of the Commission’s processes for the effective delivery of its mandate by focusing on capacity-building, the promotion of professionalism, encouraging greater synergy among departments, improving efficient utilisation of resources, increased deployment of technology as well as greater sensitivity to threats to the electoral process as well as election personnel and infrastructure.
He counted the Plan’s five strategic objectives as a broad guide to the vision of the Commission to providing electoral operations, systems and infrastructure to support the delivery of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections which formed the basis for the Election Project Plan for a successful conduct of the 2023 General Election.
The INEC boss, said they are heeding to the demands of Nigerians for seamless processes, particularly with regards to enhanced voter education, better distribution of voters to polling units, quality training of election personnel, functionality of electronic devices, improved logistics, prompt commencement of polls, availability of assistive devices for persons with disability at polling units and greater transparency in result management and will leave no stone unturned in achieving them.
He decried the security challenges and their impact on the electoral process and promised that they will continue to engage early and intensely with the security agencies to ensure the safety of their personnel and materials, accredited observers and the media and especially the voters.