Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has described election preparations, deployment and implementation as the most extensive mobilization that could happen in a country in either peacetime or wartime.
Dwelling specifically on Nigeria, Prof. Yakubu averred that preparations for the 2023 General Election would involve the recruitment and training of staff and managing the logistics for their deployment to 176,846 polling units, spread across 8,809 electoral wards, 774 local government areas, 37 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The INEC Chairman, who spoke at the Election Security Management Training, organized by the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja on 4th August, also asserted that with a projected voter population of about 95 million for the next General Election, which is over 20 million more than the combined voter population of the other 14 countries in West Africa, ensuring the safety of everyone would be an enormous task.
According to him, voters would elect candidates for 1,491 constituencies, comprising 1 Presidential constituency, 28 Governorship elections, 109 Senatorial Districts, 360 Federal Constituencies and 993 State Assembly seats.
He said: “Ensuring the safety and security of voters, election personnel and materials, candidates, party agents, observers, the media, and transporters are enormous. This responsibility has become more challenging in the context of the current security situation in the country.”
Prof Yakubu thanked the Inspector General of Police for convening what he described as “this very important workshop” on security management training for the police and other personnel ahead of the 2023 General Election.
His words: “I am glad that the Nigeria Police as the lead agency in election security has once again demonstrated its leadership role by convening this workshop. With about seven months to the next General Election, there is time for proactive measures to ensure that the entire country is secure for election to hold nationwide.
“In addition to physical security, I am glad to note that this workshop will also focus on deepening the capacity of the security personnel to imbibe and comply with global standard of election security management. Already, the Commission, under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), has produced and periodically revised the code of conduct and rules of engagement for security personnel on electoral duty. In the next few weeks, the code of conduct as well as our training manuals will be revised to align them with the provisions with the Electoral Act 2022 and to consolidate on the professionalism displayed by the security agencies in the recent off-cycle elections. We will also intensify our cascade training for security personnel ahead of the 2023 General Election.
He added: “I am also glad that the initiative does not begin and end here in Abuja but extended to the six geo-political zones. I wish to reassure the Inspector General of Police, heads of other security agencies and all members of ICCES that the Commission will continue to work in synergy with you to ensure a safe and secure environment for the 2023 General Election. It is a critical election and we must all continue to work together to protect the will of the Nigerian people.”