Despite concerns about widespread insecurity, including attacks on election officials, the chairman of Nigeria’s electoral commission said the country will not delay the presidential election scheduled for next month.
Speaking at London’s Chatham House think tank, Mahmood Yakubu asserted that despite the difficulties, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was well equipped to facilitate voting in Africa’s most populous country.
“The commission is not contemplating, let alone planning, to postpone the 2023 general election,” he said. “We are going ahead to conduct the election as scheduled.”
On February 25, Nigerians will elect a new president, a decision that might have an impact on the entire continent. After serving two terms, the current president Muhammadu Buhari’s term is restricted by the constitution.
Many see Nigeria, which has 200 million people and Africa’s largest economy, as being essential to regional stability because of its fight against Islamist terrorists in the northeast.
However, Nigeria is experiencing unheard-of levels of instability, which have led to attacks on the INEC, such as the bombing of the electoral commission’s headquarters in Imo state last month.
Just hours before voting began in 2019, the INEC postponed the poll by one week due to logistical problems.
Yakubu stated that the INEC would help Nigeria’s millions of internally displaced persons vote in camps.
Additionally, he stated that the commission had tested all of its biometric voter identification machines, which are still very new and have experienced some technical difficulties in recent statewide elections, and was satisfied that everyone who had registered would be able to cast a ballot.
“We’re really really comfortable where we are with the voting machines,” he said.