Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concern over the 2003 elections.
The commission expressed deep concern that the prevailing security threats to the electoral process were more than those of 2019 general elections.
It noted that 42 of its facilities have been attacked in 14 states across the federation.
The concerns are contained in INEC Strategic Plan 2022-2026 which was unveiled by the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Extracts from the 160-page document looked into the challenges facing INEC ahead of the 2023 poll.
INEC says: “In the past several months, the security situation in the country has assumed worrying dimensions.
“The Commission’s assets and facilities, being spread across all the 774 LGAs (local government areas) and state capitals in the country, have come under various forms of security threats including vandalism and arson.
“In more specific terms, across the six geopolitical zones, the threat levels have gone far beyond what obtained during the 2019 general election.
“A total of forty-two (42) attacks across fourteen (14) states nationwide from 2019 to date have suddenly raised serious security threats to the commission’s assets and personnel. While details of these attacks are presented in the figure below, the physical security of the commission’s offices, personnel and assets need now be taken as seriously as election security has been.
“Although the attacks have considerably waned in the past few weeks, it is important to now fully integrate security considerations in all phases of the activities of the commission:
According to the umpire, the commission conducted over 190 by-and re-run elections arising from the 2015 general election.
INEC said: “Political parties are key institutions in the democratization process. As such their management, operations and internal processes have a huge impact on the conduct of elections and on the wider process.
“For instance, the lack of internal party democracy has tremendous implications on the leadership selection process, negatively affecting not just the parties themselves, but also the wider electoral process.
“The frequency of by- and re-run elections has meant that the commission conducts an election virtually every month. This has had a significant impact on raising the cost of elections and has put the Commission virtually in an ‘election mode’ all-year round sometimes to the eve of general elections.
“For example, the commission conducted over 190 by-and re-run elections arising from the 2015 general election, taking part of much needed time for the preparation of the 2019 general election.
“It is also of significant concern that while the conduct of elections at the federal level is adjudged as largely, free and fair, elections at the level of local councils leave much to be desired and have adverse implications for democratic consolidation.”