The National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee of INEC, Festus Okoye, in an interview with Daily Independent, said while the election would go ahead as scheduled tomorrow, Saturday February 23rd, the commission would not risk the lives of its officials and ad-hoc staff by posting them to areas where their safety could not be guaranteed.
“We won’t just move ad-hoc staff arbitrarily to places where we believe they are very vulnerable or places we believe that if we deploy them to, they are likely to come to harm. We have been working with the Interagency Consultative Committee on Election Security to map out places that we regard as flashpoints, places that have serious problems of insurgency and places that we have camps of IDPs.
“Wherever it is impossible to conduct elections and the security agencies are saying they cannot protect those areas, of course we won’t conduct elections in those areas. The implication is that it is either the people are completely displaced or partially displaced. It is not as if we are oblivious of some of the security challenges but we are working with all of these organs and the resident electoral commissioners in these states that have challenges of insecurity are in touch with all the critical stakeholders in terms of where it is possible to conduct elections and places where it is impossible to conduct elections, or where the registration areas have to be moved or adjusted to make sure that people vote.”
“Wherever it is possible for people to vote, we will make sure that the people are not disenfranchised. So, we are determined to make sure that every eligible Nigerian votes in this election unless it becomes practically impossible to conduct elections in some places, in which case the registration areas will be adjusted to enable people to vote. Wherever it is secure to conduct elections, we’ll conduct elections in those areas.” he said