The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said the commission would be neutral in the 2023 general elections, as it has no preferred candidate or political party. Yakubu made this disclosure on Wednesday, August 3rd, in Abuja at the 4th Abubakar Momoh memorial lecture.
According to Yakubu, Nigerians should be assured that only their votes will determine the outcome of the 2023 general elections and future polls in the country, as INEC would apply the laws without fear or favour to ensure free, fair, credible, inclusive and transparent elections.
The features of the electoral act explained Yakubu, represented by the Chairman board of TEI, Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, also stressed the need for stakeholders, especially political parties to note the major features introduced in the new Electoral Act, 2022 and the possible implications of these changes on the upcoming elections. The INEC boss said that these changes include the conduct of early party primaries by parties, technological changes in the electoral process, the commission’s power to review the decision of the returning officer and over-voting based on the number of accredited voters.
Yakubu said: “These new initiatives as contained in the law served as the bedrock for the reviewed regulations and guidelines for the conduct of elections 2022 released by the commission on May 24, 2022. This in turn dictated the review of the manual for election officials, 2022. “Let me draw your attention to the fact that the use of electronic devices such as the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED), INEC Results Viewing Portal (IRev) and other technological devices, are now legally allowed in the accreditation process for voters, collation of results and in the general conduct of elections.
“Please be assured that these innovations are intended to deepen the electoral process in our country and their optimal performance in the just concluded gubernatorial election in Ekiti and Osun states is an eloquent testimony to their electoral value. “We shall only do more to consolidate their deployment in our election. Once again, I wish to assure you that INEC has no preferred party or candidate. We shall only ensure that all valid votes count and the winners are decided solely by the voters.”
The INEC chairman described the late Abubakar as an advocate of free, fair, credible and participatory electoral system which he (Abubakar) fought for through research, capacity building for the staff of the commission, and vigorous voter education activities.