INEC Chairman, Yakubu
There are fears that the 2023 Presidential elections in Nigeria may not hold as schedule sequel to the ongong state of insecurity across the country.
This is even as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that the recent attacks on its facilities, if remained unchecked, may affect future polls.
The commission expressed concern, particularly with the ongoing conversion of voting points to polling units, voter registration and the conduct of future elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, said this in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, while confirming fire attack on the commission’s office in Akwa Ibom.
Okoye said that the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Akwa Ibom, Mike Igini, reported that INEC office in Essien Udim Local Government Area was set ablaze at the early hours of Sunday morning.
He stated that the security guard on duty escaped unhurt but the destruction to the building and properties therein was extensive.
According to him, Items destroyed include 345 ballot boxes, 135 voting cubicles, megaphones, water tanks and office furniture.
“The police, which have also been battling with attacks on its facilities and personnel in the area, are aware of the incident and have commenced investigation,” Okoye said.
The national commissioner recalled that on the eve of the 2019 General Election, INEC newly constructed prototype LGA office in Ibesikpo Asutan was burnt down while two more offices in Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo LGAs were bombed.
He said the recent attack on INEC facility after it has just concluded the inventory of electoral materials nationwide in readiness for the 2023 General Election is worrisome.
Okoye pointed out that if unchecked, the attacks may constitute a setback on the Commission’s preparations, including the ongoing conversion of Voting Points to Polling Units, the forthcoming Continuous Registration of Voters (CRV) and the conduct of polls.
It will be recalled that INEC just rolled out its time table for the 2023 general elections.