The Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the attacks on its offices in some parts of the country won’t deter it from holding the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu said this on Tuesday in Abeokuta during an assessment tour of its office recently attacked and set on fire by hoodlums and described the arsonists as “undemocratic and retrogressive elements.”
It was reported that arsonists had on Nov. 10, set fire to the commission’s office at Iyana Mortuary, Abeokuta South Local Government Area, and destroyed over 65,000 uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
The INEC chairman said that the commission would not be cowed by activities of the arsonists, saying five facilities have been attacked nationwide in the last four months.
He said that efforts to replace the materials lost to the inferno were already being made by the commission.
“The purpose of our visit to this office is to further assess the extent of damage and to meet our own staff, particularly in the place where they have relocated to in Oke-Ilewo, to boost their morale.
“And to assure the people of Abeokuta South that in spite of this unfortunate incident, elections will hold in the local government in 2023.
“Whatever materials we have lost, the commission is making efforts to replace the materials.
“We lost 65,699 PVCs, but we want to assure all those that have not collected their PVCs who may have been affected that we are making plans to reprint the PVCs quickly and to bring them back to Abeokuta south for people to collect and vote.
“We want to assure the people that this incident, terrible as it is, will not deter and will not discourage us; will not discourage our staff from conducting the 2023 general elections.
“We want to once again assure the people of Abeokuta South, the people of Ogun State and the people of Nigeria that the commission is determined to make the 2023 elections our best ever.
“We will not be deterred and not cowed by acts of arson by undemocratic and retrogressive elements,” he said.
The INEC chairman said that as soon the commission received the total number of Voters Identification Numbers from the state office of PVCs lost in the fire, it would reprint.
He further said that it doesn’t take longer than two days to print 65,000 PVCs.
Yakubu also assured Nigerians that INEC was determined to make the 2023 elections the best ever.