Political campaigns

INEC denounces the increase in attacks on political offices and campaigns

… Says the Commission is taking urgent action to repair the damage

…Reassures Nigerians about credible electoral elections

By Chimezie Godfrey

As the nation draws closer to the 2023 general elections, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has denounced the upsurge in attacks during election campaigns by political parties.

Yakubu expressed his dissatisfaction with the attacks during an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Election Security (ICCES) held Friday in Abuja.

He stressed that a peaceful campaign heralds a peaceful election, adding that if no
urgent and decisive action is taken, the attacks will intensify as the date of the elections approaches.

Yakubu therefore stressed the need to take decisive action to stem the bad trend.

He said, “Let me welcome you to this emergency meeting. Two developments this week necessitated this meeting. First, the simultaneous attacks on our local government offices in Abeokuta South in Ogun State and the local government office in Ede South in Osun State. The Abeokuta South attack happened around 1:15 a.m. while the Ede attack happened around 6:00 a.m. yesterday Thursday November 10, 2022. Our immediate conclusion is that they may not be isolated, but we leave that determination to the security agencies investigating the incidents. Second, the wave of attacks during election campaigns by political parties is increasing rather than decreasing.

“While the damage from the Ede South attack was minimal, that of Abeokuta South was extensive. The destroyed equipment includes 904 ballot boxes, 29 voting booths, 8 generators, 57 election bags, 30 megaphones, 65 699 uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) and a host of other assorted items such as stamps and stamp pads.

“The Commission is taking urgent action to repair the damage to the building and replace the facilities in the Ede South Local Government Area so that the office is back to working immediately.

“For Abeokuta South Local Government Office, the destruction was total. Therefore, the Commission is relocating its staff to the former State Office (also known as the INEC Office Annex) in the Oke-Ilewo Ward of Abeokuta. All activities involving the 15 registration areas (wards) and 445 polling stations in the Abeokuta South Local Government Area will now be coordinated from the new Oke-Ilewo site.

“Similarly, the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of Ogun State has been tasked with compiling the Voter Identification Numbers (VINs) of all 65,699 Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) lost during the election. attack from our database and submit the record for immediate reprint. We want to assure concerned registered voters in Abeokuta South that no one will be disenfranchised as a result of this despicable act.

“Regarding the wave of physical attacks during ongoing political campaigns and rallies, the Commission has so far tracked 50 incidents in 21 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory. These unfortunate events come just over a month after the start of the electoral campaign which should last about five months from September 28, 2022 to February 23, 2023 for the national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and from October 12, 2022 to March 11. 2023. for state elections (governance and houses of assembly). The Commission fears that unless urgent and decisive action is taken, attacks will intensify as the date of the elections approaches. As we all know, a peaceful campaign heralds a peaceful election. We must take decisive action to stem the bad trend.

The INEC Chairman added, “As a body, the Inter-Agency Advisory Committee on Election Security (ICCES) brings together security, safety and other agencies responsible for securing the process and ensuring elections Nigeria. Understandably, Nigerians expect decisive action from ICCES. It is important that we act quickly to apprehend the perpetrators, prosecute them in accordance with the law and strengthen security around election officials and election infrastructure across the country. country.

“As we have repeatedly stated, the election is a multi-party activity involving not only INEC and security agencies. The political class plays perhaps the most critical role in ensuring peaceful elections.

“We all have to rise to the occasion. Nigerians are watching us. The world is watching us. We must never disappoint them.

Yakubu, despite the challenges, reassured Nigerians of the Commission’s commitment to holding credible elections by 2023.

“The Commission wishes to reassure Nigerians that we remain committed to delivering credible elections despite the challenges.

“Attempting to sabotage or weaken our resolve will not prevent us from conducting transparent elections in which only the votes cast by Nigerians on polling day will determine the winners of the elections,” he said.

The emergency meeting was attended by the National Security Advisor,
the Inspector General of Police,
Heads/representatives of various security agencies and other ICCES members.