Multiple newspapers reported that INEC said it will cancel or postpone the upcoming 2023 general elections. This is false, according to verification by CDD Election War Room.
The newspapers, bloggers, and social media influencers claimed that INEC said in a recent briefing that it will cancel the elections due to security reasons.
This claim that INEC is set to cancel or postpone the general election was a result of an observation made by Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, chairman Board of The Electoral Institute (TEI), at the Validation Workshop of Election Security Training Resources in Abuja on January 9, 2023.
Abdu Zuru was representing Mahmoud Yakubu, the INEC chairman.
“We all appreciate the fact that Election Security is vital to democratic consolidation through provision of enabling environment for the conduct of free, fair, credible and inclusive elections and thus strengthening the electoral process,” he said while speaking on security and elections.
“Consequently, in preparations for the 2023 general elections, the commission is not leaving anything to chance in ensuring that intensive and extensive security is provided for election personnel, materials, and processes.
“This is particularly significant to the commission given the current insecurity challenges in various parts of the country and the fact that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members constitute the core of the Polling Unit Election officials.
“Moreover, if the insecurity is not monitored and dealt with decisively, it could ultimately culminate in the cancellation and/or postponement of elections in sufficient constituencies to hinder [the] declaration of elections results and precipitate [a] constitutional crisis. This must not be allowed to happen and shall not be allowed to happen.”
“Therefore, security personnel in particular and all election officials in general must be security conscious and alert to unusual activities in their environment and must be fully equipped to deal with any challenge at all times,” he charged.
A lot of the reports in the media were driven by the second to the last paragraph in his statement above, ignoring the fact that he also said “this must not be allowed to happen”.
He went on to say the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, assured the nation that a conducive environment will be provided for the successful conduct of the 2023 general Election.
Federal Government says no cancellation
Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, in his preliminary remarks at the 17th Edition of the PMB Administration Scorecard in Abuja, said there will be no postponement or cancellation.
“Let me use this opportunity to respond to inquiries from the media over a widely-circulated report, credited to an INEC official, that the 2023 general elections face a serious threat of cancellation due to insecurity,” Mohammed said.
“The position of the Federal Government remains that the 2023 elections will be held as planned. Nothing has happened to change that position. We are aware that INEC is working with security agencies to ensure that the elections are successfully held across the country.
“The security agencies have also continued to assure Nigerians that they are working tirelessly to ensure that the elections are held in a peaceful atmosphere. Therefore, there is no cause for alarm.”
Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), stated at the presentation of the electronic copy of the 93,469,008 voter register to leaders of political parties on January 11, 2023, in Abuja, that the commission is not contemplating any adjustment to the election timetable.
He said that more than ever before the commission was more prepared for the 2023 general elections and had now successfully implemented 11 out of the 14 activities on schedule for the elections.
He concluded that “the 2023 General Election will hold as scheduled. Any report to the contrary is not the official position of the commission.”
Speaking at Chatham House on January 17, he said the commission “is not contemplating, let alone planning to postpone the 2023 general election. We are going ahead to conduct the election as scheduled”.
INEC was never set to postpone or cancel the upcoming general election. The commission, the federal government, and the security agencies in the country have assured Nigerians that there will be no cancellation or postponement.