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No going back on 2023 general election…INEC

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has assured Nigerians that the general election scheduled for February 25 and March 11, 2023, will hold as scheduled.

Speaking with newsmen Wednesday after briefing the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the State House, Abuja, about the preparations for the polls, Yakubu assured the citizenry that the election “will hold as scheduled on the 25th of February for national and on the 11th of March for the state election”.

Some stakeholders had expressed concerns about the capacity of INEC to pull the elections through as planned, citing the current state of affairs with the distribution of petroleum products and the redesigned naira notes.

According to the INEC boss, two major challenges facing the commission are that of fuel and naira scarcities, adding that the electoral body has taken measures to address the challenges that may affect the conduct of the elections.

He says: “I can tell you two of these challenges quickly. The first one is 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 and right now, there is a technical committee 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 for the purpose of stocking products to ensure that the commission doesn’t suffer any encumbrances in movement of personnel and materials for the election.

“The second one is the currency issue and 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 challenges.”

Yakubu further explained that his meeting with FEC was a routine briefing already of the general election, adding that he is expected to also brief the Council of States during their meeting on Friday.

He spoke further: “It is a general briefing, it’s in keeping with the tradition that on the eve of major elections, general election 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 basically, it’s about the readiness of the commission to conduct the elections.

“So we took members of council through all the preparations that we have put in place for the election and the few challenges that we are facing and the steps that we have taken to address those challenges.”

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