It’s just 38 days until national elections in Nigeria, and Mahmood Yakubu, head of the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), assured Tuesday that his organization is prepared to meet the challenge of managing 93.4 million registered voters as the February 25 elections move ahead as scheduled.
Yakubu, speaking at the Chatham House headquarters in London, said INEC is committed to remaining impartial in the contest, which will see the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s two terms in office. Buhari has agreed to campaign on behalf of his All Progressives Congress (APC) party and its candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Yakubu detailed measures to ensure Nigeria’s elections will be peaceful, inclusive and credible, including INEC’s careful attention to voter rolls and the identification of errors and ineligible voters. New technologies all have been successfully tested, he said.
“Our commitment remains only to Nigerians and not any political party or any candidates,” said Yakubu. “Our loyalty is to Nigeria and the Nigerian people, only the votes they cast will determine who becomes what, it’s in their hands, we cherish our institutional independence and the integrity of the commission.”
Nigeria’s candidates have had the opportunity to participate in a series of Chatham House events focused on the 2023 elections, with Tinubu speaking last month. Labour Party candidate Peter Obi spoke on Monday, while Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) candidate, will speak on Wednesday.
Abubakar Atiku, candidate for the popular Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), did not respond to an invitation to speak, according to Chatham House officials.
Image: Chatham House