46,084 Staff, 11,000 Observers for Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa Elections

INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) has said it would deploy 46,084 ad hoc and regular staff for the upcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States.

INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this on Friday during a meeting with its Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

To avoid logistical challenges that have characterised Nigerian elections, Mr Yakubu said the commission is “finalising arrangements for vehicles and boats for land and maritime movement of personnel and materials.”

The elections are coming up on Saturday 11 November.

Mr Yakubu said the three elections will involve 5,409,438 registered voters in 10,510 polling units spread across 649 electoral Wards in 56 Local Government Areas.

He added that all non-sensitive materials for the election have been delivered to the three States.

“Other preparatory activities, including training, are on course,” he stated, noting that valuable lessons for improved performance have been learnt from the 2023 General Election.

He described the commission’s mock accreditation in some polling units across the three states as successful.
He said: “Last week, we conducted a mock accreditation involving actual voters in designated polling units in the three States. We had two objectives for the exercise. First, to test the efficacy of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) for especially biometric authentication of voters. Secondly, to upload the result to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV). Both tests were successful. We look forward to improved performance of the BVAS in voter accreditation and result upload in the forthcoming elections.”

Meanwhile, Mr Yakubu also disclosed that the commission has so far accredited 126 national and international organisations who are collectively deploying 11,000 observers for the election.

“Although the portal for media accreditation closes on Tuesday 24th October 2023, we have received applications from 80 media organisations seeking to deploy 1,203 personnel made up of journalists and technical/support staff to report on the elections,” he added.

He said the 18 political parties participating in the elections are deploying 137,934 agents made up of 130,093 polling and 7,841 collation agents.

The INEC boss stated that such massive security deployment is beyond its immediate responsibilities. He, however, said the commission has been reassured of adequate deployment of security agencies for the election.

Mr Yakubu is scheduled to meet with the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, on Monday.

He said: “Such massive deployment requires a secure environment which is beyond our immediate responsibilities. As we said repeatedly, we are concerned about the prevailing insecurity and election-related violence in the three states.

“We have been reassured of adequate deployment by the security agencies. On our part, we will continue to deepen our engagement with the security agencies and more meetings are planned in the next few days. Similarly, the Commission will hold a series of meetings with stakeholders at the national level in addition to ongoing engagements at state level.”

Qosim Suleiman is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe

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