The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is targeting over 100 million electorate on its voter register for the 2023 general elections.
The commission, which discovered 51,108 double registrations in Anambra State during the recent governorship election, said the deployment of technology has helped to reduce electoral malpractices.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed satisfaction with the free and fair governorship election conducted by the agency in Anambra State.
INEC Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye and Rotimi Oyekanmi, the chief press secretary to the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at a news conference in Lagos yesterday.
“Before 2023, INEC is targeting over 100 million voters as more Nigerians continue to respond to the voter registration.”
He urged the media to offer constructive criticisms and remain a willing partner in democratic development
Speaking on INEC’s efforts to deliver credible elections through innovations, Okoye said that the electoral body would always strive to improve on previous polls.
He assured that the proposed by-elections in some parts of the country, as well as the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections next year, would be better.
Okoye called on the media and the public to always shame electoral crime perpetrators to stem irregularities. .
Lamenting that 42 percent of multiple registrations was discovered during the Anambra governorship poll, the INEC commissioner implored the media to also challenge INEC’s actions and activities that fall short of regional and international standards.
His words::”It is important for the media to join in naming and shaming the contractors, consultants, and middlemen that corrupt the electoral process, undermine the value and quality of the vote and dissipate the sovereign right of the people to free choice.
“The commission and media must cooperate in restoring the primacy of the people as the custodian and dispenser of political mandate.”
He described political parties as the weakest link in the political process.
On direct primary, Okoye said that INEC was ready to obey the law of the land.
“The commission will give expeditious consideration to the law, including the detailed regulations and guidelines where necessary,” he said.
President Buhari said the successful conduct of the Anambra governorship election was an indication that his administration was committed to promoting democracy.
He described the election won by Prof. Charles Soludo of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) as free and fair.
The candidate of the ruling All Progress Congress (APC), Andy Ubah, came third while Valentine Ozigbo of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) was second.
Minister of Interior Rauf Aregbesola made the President’s comments known while briefing reporters on the outcome of the National Security Council (NSC) meeting in Abuja.
Aregbesola disclosed that the President issued a fresh marching order to security chiefs to halt the insecurity nationwide by crushing insurgents, bandits, and other criminal elements.
He said Buhari commended the roles played by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies on the hitch-free Anambra poll.
According to him, the success of the Anambra poll was a pointer to what Nigerians should expect in 2023,
His words: “The President was particularly happy that a free and fair gubernatorial election in Anambra. And he was quite happy that the combination of INEC and the security agencies, from the military to the police and all the other agencies made that possible with the support of the people of Anambra and the government of Anambra. And we all saw the outcome.
“With that, there is no doubt as to the commitment of our administration, to promoting democracy, and ensuring that 2023 is not in any way threatened.”