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2023 Elections: INEC Gives Fresh Updates On Cash Crunch, Insecurity, Vote Buying, Other

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Ahead of the 2023 general elections commencing on Saturday amid cash crunch, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has spoken on the outcome of its request for cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and measures against vote buying.

The Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who also addressed security issues ahead of the elections, disclosed that INEC has taken possession of a “substantial part” of the cash for the conduct of the polls.

Confirming the receipt of the funds on Thursday during a press conference in Abuja on INEC’s activities two days before the presidential and National Assembly polls, Prof. Yakubu assured all stakeholders of a conducive environment for the electoral process to take place despite security concerns.

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Recall that on February 7, the INEC Chairman met with CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on addressing the need to access cash for logistical operations in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

Prof. Yakubu told newsmen in Abuja that “The bulk of the small amount of cash that we have requested from the Central Bank of Nigeria is right now being released to the commission’s offices nationwide,” he said.

“In fact, a substantial part of it has already been received by our offices nationwide and this has greatly facilitated the movement of sensitive materials yesterday from the branches of the Central Bank to our local government areas.

“By tomorrow (Friday), we’ll batch them and then move them on Friday to the registration area centres. And then on Saturday early morning, they’ll be moved to the polling units for voting.”

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On security concerns surrounding the polls, Yakubu assured all stakeholders of a conducive environment for the electoral process to take place.

The INEC boss, in December 2022, noted that the commission had suffered 50 attacks in 15 states since 2019.

He however said the commission has bounced back and the security agencies are on the ground for the elections to provide adequate protection for voters, staff and observers.

“Several of the commission’s facilities were attacked by unknown assailants in various parts of the country.

“I am pleased that we have fully recovered from these attacks and we have been further assured that our facilities, staff, voters, observers, the media, and citizens will be safe during the election,” he said.

On vote-buying, Yakubu expressed conviction that INEC’s joint operations with other agencies before and on election day would “vastly reduce” the prospect of voter inducement which he described as not only illegal but also immoral.

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“The ban on the use of mobile phones and photographic devices at the voting cubicles is still in force.

“Our arrangement of placing the ballot boxes near the voting cubicles and away from the party agents remains,” he said.