Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says all sensitive and non-sensitive materials used for the 2023 general election were printed in Nigeria.
Yakubu stated this during the commission’s quarterly consultative meeting with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the ongoing review of the 2023 general election held on Monday in Abuja.
“I am glad to report that the printing of all sensitive and non-sensitive materials for the 2023 General Election was entirely done in Nigeria.
“This is the first time in 44 years since the transition to democratic rule in 1979 that this great step was taken and achieved.
“This id in spite of the record number of 93.4 million registered voters and over 500 million ballot papers, result sheets and other documents for the five categories of the main elections and supplementary polls.
“For this reason, the 2023 General Election was held as scheduled for the first time in the last four electoral cycles without a postponement arising from the non-arrival of materials,’’ Yakubu said.
He added that other recorded positive development in the election include the repeal and re-enactment of the Electoral Act 2010 into the Electoral Act 2022, which gave INEC opportunity to get prepared on time.
The chairman said that the new act which provides a period of 180 days for political parties to conclude their primaries and submit the names of candidates and the political parties for the elections.
This according to him, also helped INEC to commence the process of producing the election materials in good time.
“Furthermore, we were also able to expand voter access to polling units for the first time since the initial delimitation exercise in 1996.
“Similarly, we introduced many technology-based innovations, including the physical registration and online pre-registration of voters using the INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED), the various portals for the nomination of candidates, party agents and the accreditation of observers and the media.
“We also collected and published data on the distribution of voters not only by age and occupation but also by disability.
“Within the limits of available resources, we also tried to provide such inclusivity materials as braille jackets and magnifying glasses for some categories of voters with disabilities,’’ he said.
Yakubu said that nevertheless, there were many challenges encountered before and during the elections including severe cash and fuel situations as well as the perennial insecurity nationwide.
“Their impact on our deployment plans, compounded by the behaviour of some of our own officials in the field, made logistics management particularly challenging.
“The deployment of thugs by some political actors made election day administration difficult in a number of places,’’ he said.
The chairman said that while voter accreditation using the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was very successful, the uploading of results to the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), especially for the presidential election, encountered a glitch.
Yakubu said that this was explained in the commission’s statement released Feb. 26, adding that INEC is aware that the matter is currently the subject of litigation; hence the commission would reserve its comments for now.
“Nevertheless, the performance of the technology deployed for the election is part of the ongoing review of the 2023 general election.
“It will form an integral part of the comprehensive report that will serve as a basis for further engagement with stakeholders focusing on specific actions necessary for the improvement of future elections and electoral activities in Nigeria,’’ he said.