Despite attacks ahead of the November 6 governorship election in Anambra State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the election will hold as all measures are being put in place for the peaceful conduct of the exercise.
INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu said this on Tuesday in Abuja at an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) on the Anambra election.
- How terrorists who declared ceasefire on abductions gunned down 30 bandits in Kaduna
- PODCAST: How refusal to use pedestrian bridges costs many Nigerian lives
He recalled that during the ICCES’ last quarterly meeting on September 9, 2021, the committee received briefings and reviewed preparations for the election and that a major concern raised by members was the security situation in the state in particular; the adjoining states in general and how that might affect preparations and possibly the conduct of the election.
“Unfortunately, the situation has deteriorated markedly since our last meeting. Many innocent lives have been lost and property destroyed. From the reports we have received, the stated goal of many of the attackers is that the governorship election scheduled for November 6, 2021, must not hold.
“This is worrisome for the commission. We are deeply concerned that specific electoral facilities and materials could once more become targets of attack. Recall that in May this year, our state office at Awka was attacked and all the non-sensitive materials assembled for the election at the time were destroyed.
“In addition, our store, collation centre and the main office building were either totally or substantially damaged. The commission also lost several vehicles to be used for the election,” Yakubu, who is also a co-chairman of ICCES, said.
He also expressed joy that the commission has almost fully recovered from the attack, as the destroyed buildings have either been completely repaired or are nearing completion and that it has also fully replaced the materials destroyed.
The INEC boss, however, admitted that should the commission again lose vital materials and facilities, the ongoing preparations would be adversely affected.
He said that INERC is particularly concerned about the safety of voters and Election Day staff, including security officials who have also become targets of the attacks.
He said the thousands of young Nigerians they intend to deploy for the election, most of them National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members and university students, need to be reassured of their personal safety.
Yakubu, however, assured the people of Anambra State that the commission is determined to proceed with the election as scheduled.
“To underscore this determination, the commission is implementing two more activities on the timetable for the election in the next few days. The register of voters will be presented to political parties in Awka on Thursday 7 October 2021. On the same day, the commission will publish the final list of candidates for the election,” he said.
Also, the National Security Adviser (NSA) and a co-Chairman of ICCES, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), said his office is working with relevant security and intelligence agencies towards arresting the security challenges in the South-East zone and beyond.
Monguno, represented by Sanusi Galadima, warned that government would not tolerate any group or person’s actions to disrupt the poll.