2023 POLLS: INEC PROMISES FREE & FAIR ELECTIONS, FOUND SOLUTIONS TO FUEL, NAIRA SCARCITY.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on February 8, 2023
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said it has solutions to some of the perceived obstacles capable of derailing the general elections expected to start with the presidential polls on February 25.
INEC affirmed that it has resolved two critical challenges that it faced towards the conduct of the general elections, which include petrol scarcity and the ongoing cash squeeze in the country.
Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, who gave the assurance while speaking to State House correspondents, after briefing the Federal Executive Council, FEC, said the Commission will on Friday brief the Council of State on its preparedness towards conducting a transparent election
The Commission had met with relevant stakeholders on fuel and cash supplies and agreements have been reached on how to make both available as needed.
Asked to provide insight on the meeting, he said:
It is a general briefing. It’s in keeping with the tradition that on the eve of major elections, general elections in particular, the Commission is invited to brief Council. It is also invited to brief the Council of State. The briefing for the Council of State is going to take place on Friday, the 10th. So, it’s about the readiness of the Commission to conduct the elections.
You may recall that various stakeholders had expressed concerns over the capacity of the INEC to conduct a free, fair and credible election in the midst of the perennial fuel scarcity as well as the cash crunch occasioned by the redesigned of naira notes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which has triggered protests in some parts of the country.
Speaking further, Prof Yakubu reassured that the Commission has already found answers to the two major concerns. He said:
I can tell you two of these challenges quickly. The first one is the availability of petroleum products. We had a meeting with the National Union of Road Transport Workers, and they raised that as an issue of concern.
Immediately after that meeting, we interfaced with the leadership of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, NNPCL and right now, a technical committee is working.
The idea is for them to avail us the use of their over 900 land mega stations as well as floating mega stations nationwide, to stock products to ensure that the Commission doesn’t suffer any encumbrances in the movement of personnel and materials for the election.
The second one is the currency issue. Again, we had an engagement yesterday with the Governor of the Central Bank, and he assured us that the Commission will not suffer any encumbrances on that score.
Fortunately for us, all our accounts, national and state, are held by the apex bank.
So, we raised those challenges, but we have found a solution to those