By Olayinka Ajayi
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has insisted that incessant attacks on the commission offices have created ample opportunity to prepare for a violence-free election in Anambra.
Fielding questions from newsmen yesterday, during a national retreat on the Validation of the draft INEC 2022-2026 Strategic Plan and strategic programme of Action, INEC National Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, described the incessant attack as disturbing to the commission but said it gives the commission ample opportunity to organize a free, fair and credible election in Anambra.
Mahmood who was represented by a National Commissioner and Chairman of Outreach committee, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola said: “Part of what we discussed is what is happening to our local offices, so it is our desire to incorporate all these issues with our strategic plan.
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“Anytime the electoral act is amended, we will also incorporate it into our strategic plan because the strategic plan is for 2022 to 2026. We still have one that is ongoing and it will expire by the end of 2021”.
Asked how the strategic plan deals with the violence attacks faced by the commission, he said; “We hope is not something that would be on a continuous basis, we have our own risk management procedure and that is the only way we can deal with the issue because we have always envisaged that before the election, there is a pack of violence perpetuated, but these ones are on a scale disturbing to the commission but we will appropriate into the strategic plan.
“We thank God that it’s happening now, so it gives us ample opportunity to prepare for the Anambra elections.
We are also engaging with stakeholders at the highest level in the country with a view of stemming the tide of these acts.
“So we hope to find a lasting solution to it. So the Anambra elections won’t be a difficult thing to plan. We have a similar situation in the past. For instance, in Ondo State, card readers were burnt, we were able to make amends and the election was conducted without hindrance. As for Anambra, I can assure you that we will conduct the election without any problem.
“On a sad note, the spate of vandalization of INEC facilities and properties appears not to be abating, just yesterday, our office in Njaba, LGA of Imo state was set ablaze bringing the total number of INEC office burnt to 43 since 2019.”
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