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INEC declares readiness for Anambra election amid insecurity

By Idowu Abdullahi

The Independent National Electrical Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that despite rising insecurity ahead of gubernatorial election in Anambra State, the commission would continue to work with security agencies and respected opinion leaders in the state to ensure the success of the election.

He insisted that the process of the election would proceed as scheduled, noting that to underscore the determination, INEC would implement two more activities on the timetable for the election in the next few days.

These according to him, includes the presentation of register of voters to political parties in Awka and publication of final list of candidates for the election on Thursday, Oct. 7.

Speaking at an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) in Abuja on Tuesday, hee expressed confident that at the end of the meeting, INEC would firm up on specific measures to guarantee the safety of all the people to be involved in the election from voters, election officials, observers and media organisations among others.

While expressing concern over what it described as escalating security threats in Anambra, ahead of the Nov. 6 governorship election, Yakubu said that the situation had deteriorated since the last meeting, as many innocent lives had been lost and property destroyed in the state.

“From reports that we have received, the stated goal of many of the attackers is that the governorship election scheduled for Nov. 6 must not hold. This is worrisome for the commission. We are deeply concerned that specific electoral facilities and materials could once more become targets of attack,” he said.

Yakubu said that in May 2021the INEC office at Awka was attacked and all the non-sensitive materials assembled for the election were destroyed. He added that the commission’s store, collation centre and the main office building were either totally or substantially damaged, while INEC also lost several vehicles billed for the election.

“Happily, we have almost fully recovered from that attack. The destroyed buildings have either been completely repaired or are nearing completion and we have fully replaced the materials destroyed. This rapid recovery has only been possible because this is an off-season election. We have sourced some of these materials such as the 326 electric generators and vehicles destroyed in the attack from neighbouring states. However, should we again lose vital materials and facilities, the ongoing preparations will be adversely affected,” he said.

Yakubu said that INEC was particularly concerned about the safety of voters and election duty staff, including security officials who have also became targets of the attacks, adding that the commission was also concerned about safety of thousands of young Nigerians from National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and university students who were to be engaged in the conduct of the election.

“At the same time, deployment for the election will involve the movement of huge consignments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, 326 wards or Registration Areas and 5,720 Polling Units. That means over 6,000 locations to be protected.

“If we add that to about 26,000 officials that will be deployed for the election, we begin to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge of securing the Anambra Governorship election which is only 32 days from today,” he said.

Yakubu appreciated the enormous challenges that the security agencies were facing in Anambra which entailed not only securing the electoral process, but also enforcing law and order.

“This is particularly worrisome because the security agencies have also become prime targets of these mindless attacks. It is in the light of these recent and seemingly escalating threats to the election that the commission has convened this emergency meeting,” he said.

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