The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has revealed that the commission would engage 530,538 security agents during the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu stated this on Tuesday while briefing the members of the Chatham in London.
He explained that the commission required 1,265,227 external officials ahead of the 2023 elections, and that it had completed 11 of the 14 activities in the exercise’s timelines.
Police officers and members of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) would be among the security personnel stationed at polling stations.
The Senate stated that the electoral body had no excuse in terms of the required credibility of the upcoming general elections because the upper chamber had met all of the commission’s requirements.
However, the INEC chairman, speaking at the Chatham House in London, United Kingdom, in his presentation titled, “Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: Preparations and Priorities for Electoral Integrity and Inclusion,” allayed fears, stressing that the election would take place as planned.
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To that end, he stated that 707,384 presiding officials, 17,685 supervisory presiding officers, and 9,620 collation/returning officers would oversee the 1,265,227 polling units.
Yakubu stated, “For the 2023 general elections, the commission requires at least 707,384 presiding and assistant presiding officers, about 17,685 supervisory presiding officers, 9,620 collation/returning officers as well as 530,538 polling unit security officials, making a total of 1,265,227.
“These are not staff of the commission and must be painstakingly recruited and trained to ensure that they are both fit-for-purpose and non-partisan.
“However, the greatest number of election officials in Nigeria are these temporary or ad hoc staff recruited principally from among young Nigerian university and polytechnic graduates enrolled in the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps, students of tertiary institutions, staff of federal agencies and university lecturers. Preparing them adequately for their roles as polling officials, supervisors and result managers is central to a successful election.”
In addition, the INEC chairman stated that issues such as the security challenge and attacks on its assets were beyond the commission’s jurisdiction, but that it was addressing vote-buying or voter bribery by political parties and candidates.
Yakubu noted that insecurity across the country posed a significant security threat to credible elections, and that violence made election deployment difficult, particularly where some of the attacks were directed at the electoral process and participants.