From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has promised to use the 2023 general election to set standard, saying it must be different from previous elections in terms of preparations and readiness.
Yakubu, in his remarks during a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), yesterday, in Abuja, commended the RECs and staff of the commission for ensuring the two elections conducted this year met the standard.
He urged them to strive to do better in the forthcoming Ekiti East State constituency 1 by-election and the Aba North/South federal constituency by-election in Abia State.
The commission’s boss, however, gave one week ultimatum to RECs who are yet to comply with directives to submit inventory of election materials in order to determine shortfalls and take early steps to ensure their adequacy and availability.
“You will recall that the expansion of voters’ access to polling units and the resumption of the continuous voter registration (CVR) were among the issues discussed at our last meeting a little over one month ago.
“Today, we will, among other issues, review the engagements with stakeholders on the proposed expansion of voters’ access to polling units as well as our preparations for the commencement of CVR.
“The two activities are inter-related. Our plan is to conclude the ongoing consultations and the actual work on the polling units in earnest so that the new locations will be made public for eligible registrants to choose where they wish to register and vote on election day.
“Furthermore, those who wish to replace their lost or damaged permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) as well as those who are already registered but who may wish to apply for transfer from one location to another, will be able to do so as provided by law.
“As you are aware, the commission is committed to deepening the culture of planning for elections. The current five-year plan covering from 2017 to 2021 expires this year. For this reason, a committee involving the participation of some RECs was inaugurated a few weeks ago to review the Strategic Plan and the Strategic Programme of Action to cover the next cycle of five years from 2022 to 2026.
“The committee is making good progress. Its report should be submitted by the end of this month to enable the commission engage stakeholders for its validation and subsequent implementation.
“I want to assure Nigerians that this will be accomplished long before the end of the current plan this year.”