In anticipation of the forthcoming governorship elections scheduled for November 11 in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has announced its comprehensive preparations, including the deployment of a significant number of ad-hoc staff and observers.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed these details during a meeting with Residents Electoral Commissioners in Abuja on Friday.
The INEC Chairman emphasized the importance of a secure environment for a successful election, expressing deep concern over the rising state of insecurity and election-related violence across the three states.
“In our quest to ensure a seamless election process, the Commission plans to deploy a total of 46,084 regular and ad hoc staff for the election,” Prof. Yakubu announced. This substantial deployment will enable INEC to effectively conduct the governorship elections in the three states.
Furthermore, the INEC Chairman revealed that a total of 11,000 observers from accredited national and international organizations will be present to monitor the off-cycle election. This step aims to enhance transparency and accountability in the electoral process.
The involvement of media organizations was also highlighted. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu stated, “Although the portal for media accreditation closes on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, we have received applications from 80 media organizations seeking to deploy 1,203 personnel, including journalists and technical/support staff, to report on the elections.” This extensive media coverage ensures that the public remains well-informed about the electoral proceedings.
Moreover, the 18 political parties participating in the governorship election are expected to deploy a substantial number of agents. A total of 137,934 agents will be on the ground, consisting of 130,093 polling agents and 7,841 collation agents. This diverse representation aims to safeguard the integrity of the electoral process.
To facilitate the movement of personnel and materials, INEC is in the process of finalizing arrangements for vehicles and boats for both land and maritime transportation.
However, the Commission remains vigilant in light of the ongoing security challenges in the three states. Prof. Yakubu reassured the public by stating, “Such massive deployment requires a secure environment which is beyond our immediate responsibilities. As we said repeatedly, we are concerned about the prevailing insecurity and election-related violence in the three states.
“We have been reassured of adequate deployment by the security agencies. On our part, we will continue to deepen our engagement with the security agencies, and more meetings are planned in the next few days.”
In terms of preparation, INEC has already delivered all non-sensitive materials to the three states. Training and other preparatory activities are progressing as planned.
The INEC Chairman concluded by highlighting the importance of the lessons learned from the 2023 general elections, which will contribute to an improved performance in the upcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states. The entire nation will be closely watching as INEC works diligently to ensure a free, fair, and secure electoral process.