2023 general elections will be technology driven – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) that Nigeria’s 2023 general elections will be technology driven.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance when he received the delegation of ECOWAS Pre-Election Fact Finding Mission to Nigeria led by Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, former Chairman, Electoral Commission of Ghana, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
” Let me restate the commitment of INEC that Nigeria’s election will be free, fair and credible and driven by technology. The 2023 general election in Nigeria will be driven by technology not only as a matter of legal requirement, but also as a matter of course, for us in the commission. So, I want to ensure the ECOWAS team that we are committed to delivering a credible election in the next four months and a few days, which will be Nigeria’s seventh successive elections, since the restoration of democracy in 1999,’’ Yakubu said.
The INEC chairman said that in demonstration of INEC’s openness and the ritual of receiving international observers, the commission had invited international organisations across the world to observe Nigeria’s 2023 general elections. Yakubu commending ECOWAS for its commitment to credible elections in Nigeria, saying he was the first to arrive Nigeria for the election.
” ECOWAS has demonstrated seriousness and commitment to ensuring that we get right electorally in this region in the next few weeks, I’m sure many more organisations will come. Election Observation is an important part of ensuring transparency and credibility in elections. We have always benefited from the insight of election observation missions. For instance, you are here on fact-finding we’ll hear from you what we have found so far, which will help us in concluding our preparations for the election. And I look forward also to receiving any report at the end of the process in February and March, so that we can learn even more from the inside.’’
Yakubu also stressed the need to restore democratic government in all West Africa countries including Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea Conakry. Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Dr Remi Ajibewa, said that they were in Nigeria for fact finding ahead of the country’s 2023 general elections in line with ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol 2021, to observe elections in Nigeria.
Ajibewa said that Article 11, 12 and 13 of the protocol mandated the commission to deploy electoral fact-finding mission to every member states of ECOWAS that were about to conduct the election, especially presidential election.
“This is why we are here and in the cause of our being here in Nigeria there will be visits first ECOWAS Commission, which will have done that is to brief the head of mission. Then, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where we have been this morning, then the Inspector-General of Police, then some civil societies and INEC. Basically, the reason why we normally do that is that we believe INEC is our friend, so, that’s some of the things that we’ve heard we’ll put across to them. So, in the course we’ll also be visiting the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. We will be visiting the resident electoral commissioners, the security agencies, the traditional and religious leaders. We will be visiting the civil society to know the preparedness of these stakeholders we are meeting”.
Ajibewa, the Director of Political Affairs, ECOWAS Commission said that the delegation’s visit to Nigeria was not the first saying it visited during other previous elections in the country, including the 2019 general elections. He said that ECOWAS looked forward to successful and credible elections in West Africa countries especially Nigeria in 2023 given the leadership role it played in the sub region.
” We all know the importance Nigeria holds, given the fact that, as they used to say, if Nigeria sneezes, the whole West Africa catches cold and we don’t pray that will be the result. So, we are here to listen to you, to see the area of challenges that we might also report.’’