The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday, insisted that despite the rising spate of insecurity and killings in the South East region, the Anambra State gubernatorial election would hold as scheduled.
The electoral umpire cited intelligence reports, which indicated that the motive of the attacks on its facilities was to ensure that the Anambra State governorship elections, scheduled for November 6, did not take place.
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, however, after an emergency meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security held, in Abuja, on Tuesday, stated that, “We wish to assure the people of Anambra State that the commission is determined to proceed with the election as scheduled.
“To underscore this determination, the commission is implementing two more activities on the timetable for the election in the next few days.”
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He noted that the situation in Anambra State has worsened since the last meeting of the inter-agency security body with INEC and expressed concerns about the destruction of the Commission’s facilities and materials.
“The commission also lost several vehicles to be used for the election. Happily, we have almost fully recovered from that attack.
“The destroyed buildings have either been completely repaired or are nearing completion and we have fully replaced the materials destroyed. This rapid recovery has only been possible because this is an off-season election.
“We have sourced some of these materials such as the 326 electric generators and vehicles destroyed in the attack from neighbouring states.
“However, should we again lose vital materials and facilities, the ongoing preparations will be adversely affected,” the INEC boss maintained.
Prof. Yakubu, however, expressed concerns about the safety of electoral officials, security agencies and voters following targeted attacks over the last couple of weeks.
He continued, “Deployment for the election will involve the movement of huge consignments of sensitive and non-sensitive materials to the 21 local government areas of the state, 326 Wards or Registration Areas and 5,720 Polling Units. That means over 6,000 locations to be protected.
“If we add that to about 26,000 officials that will be deployed for the election, we begin to appreciate the magnitude of the challenge of securing the Anambra governorship election which is only 32 days from today.
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“Perhaps, never before in our history has the importance of election security in a governorship election been this urgent. The commission is aware that this is by no means an easy task.”
Also, the National Security Adviser, Maj.- Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), who is the ICCES co-chair, assured that the Federal Government was committed to the protection of lives and property of all law-abiding citizens before, during and after the elections.
Gen. Monguno, who was represented by Sanusi Galadima said, “I wish to state that Office of the National Security Adviser is working assiduously with relevant security and intelligence agencies towards arresting the foregoing ugly trend and other associated security challenges in the South-east zone and beyond.”