INEC chief: the will of Nigerians shall prevail

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said the will of Nigerians will prevail during the February 25 and March 11 general election.

He promised that all votes will definitely count in this year’s polls.

Speaking when a delegation of the International Federation of Electoral System (IFES) visited the commission’s headquarters yesterday in Abuja, Yakubu said INEC had put everything in place to conduct a free, fair and credible election.

The INEC chairman explained that part of the commission’s plan for a credible election is the decision to test-run the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) to get the machines ready for the polls.

He said whatever challenges that would be discovered during the test-run of the BIVAS machines would be addressed before the commencement of the elections on February 25.

According to him, INEC has enough time to address such challenges.


Yakubu said: “On Saturday, we announced an extension for the collection of permanent voter’s card (PVC) by registered voters. We believe that it is important for every Nigerian to be given an opportunity to collect his or her PVC ahead of the election. If an extension of time is what we need, so be it. The commission has granted the extension.

“I want to appeal to Nigerians to see the extension as an opportunity to collect their PVCs. On the part of the commission, we are giving our commitment that the election is going to be free, fair and credible, and the will of Nigerians will prevail.”

The INEC chairman said the interaction with IFES was taking place when the commission was implementing the 12th item out of the 14 it listed ahead of this year’s polls.

He invited civil society organisations (CSOs), political parties, and the media “to come and observe the deployment of these (BVAS) machines for the mock accreditation on Saturday”.

IFES President Anthony Banbury hailed the commission for the progress it has made in ensuring the integrity of the electoral system in the country.

Also, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said a well operated cashless monetary policy can help Nigeria to address illicit election financing by tracking such funds.

Osinbajo said this when he hosted a delegation of the European Union Election Observation Mission, led by its Chief Observer and a member of the European Parliament, Mr. Barry Andrews, at the Presidential Villa yesterday in Abuja.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in the Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said the Vice President told his guests that “what we should be looking at is to provide more infrastructure”.

He added: “The cashless thing has been really advantageous and helps with tracking. That sort of infrastructure is useful for more financial inclusion, and the more financial inclusion you have, the easier it is to track.”

Osinbajo noted that “so much money can be spent without it being tracked” under the current election financing practices in the country.

“With cash transactions, it is still difficult to seriously control election financing,” he said.

Andrews said the Observer Mission would monitor the general election and hoped for a peaceful and fair electoral process.

Also, The European Union (EU) has promised to assess the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BIVAS) and other technologies to be deployed for this year’s general election.

The EU also announced that about 100 observers would be deployed to monitor this year’s general election across the country.

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) Chief Observer Barry Andrews said these during the launch of the mission yesterday in Abuja.

He said: “For the first time in Nigeria, the mission has a dedicated Election Technology Analyst who is assessing the use of technologies, especially the verification of voters and the transmission of results. A Media Analyst and a Social Media Analyst are also undertaking an assessment of the role of the traditional media, as well as social media and digital communication during the process.

Commenting on the essence of BVAS, Andrews said: “It will be critical to the outcome of the election and trust in the integrity of the system. That’s why we have deployed an election technology analyst to our core team that has been here since January 11.

“That’s why we will be overseeing or observing, certainly the mock exercises that will take place on Saturday. But we wouldn’t be in a position to make any conclusions until we get to the end of the process, which will be two days after the election itself.”

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