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2023: We Will Ensure That Votes Count ― INEC

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said the commission would ensure that all valid votes count and the winners are decided solely by the voters in the 2023 general election.

Yabuku, who said INEC has no preferred party or candidate, stated that the commission would scrupulously apply laws, particularly the Electoral Act, 2022 without fear or favour to ensure free, fair, credible, inclusive, and transparent elections in 2023.

He made this known in Abuja on Wednesday at the 4th Memorial Lecture in honour of the Late Director-General of The Electoral Institute (TEI), Prof. Abubakar Momoh, who died on May 29, 2017.

Yakubu, who was represented by the National Commissioner and Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute, Prof. Abdullahi Zuru, said as the 2023 general election draws near, it was imperative for all stakeholders especially the political parties to note the major features introduced by the new Electoral Act 2022.

He also advised party leaders to note the possible implications of these changes on the upcoming elections, saying the happenings that accompanied the recent party primaries attest to this.

“These changes include amongst others, the conduct of early party primaries by political parties, technological changes in the electoral process;

“The commission’s power to review the decision of the returning officer and overvoting based on the number of accredited voters,” the INEC chairman said.

Yakubu added that the new initiatives served as the bedrock for the reviewed Regulations and Guidelines for the Conduct of Elections 2022, and the review of the Manual for Election Officials, 2022.

He said the use of electronic devices was now legally allowed in the accreditation process for voters, collation of results, and in the general conduct of elections.

These according to him include the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED); INEC Results Viewing Portal (IRev), and other technological devices.

“Please be assured that these innovations are intended to deepen the electoral process in our country.

“Their optimal performance in the just concluded gubernatorial elections in Ekiti and Osun States is an eloquent testimony to their electoral value.

“We shall only do more to consolidate their deployment,” Yakubu added.

The INEC chairman further described the Electoral Act as ingredients for party building, stabilisation of electoral rules, and democratic consolidation.

He expressed the conviction that party chairmen and members would be committed to ensuring that the 2023 general election would be devoid of deliberate infractions to the 2022 Electoral Act.

The INEC chairman said that would be done essentially by allowing the electoral process to run smoothly thereby growing a rich democratic culture and acceptable election outcome.

In his remarks, the Director-General of TEI, Dr Sa’ad Idris, said this year’s memorial lecture and training were held to interact with party executives and discuss the implications arising from the New Act for the 2023 general election.

Idris stated that the theme of the lecture was apt, to train the political parties executives on the various sections of the new Electoral Act and the critical implications embedded in many of its sections.

He said the unfortunate preponderance of many legal cases arising even from the pre-election period up till after the conduct of the elections, had at many times brought a lot of challenges to the electoral process and the country’s political development at large.

The Guest Speaker, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, former Professor of Law, Afe Babalola University in Ekiti State, advised political parties to obey their own rules and others by INEC and the Constitution of Nigeria.

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