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2023 election: INEC assures Nigerians of its independence, neutrality

the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has assured the international community that the will of the people will not be subverted in next year’s election.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance when the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mahamat Saleh Annadif, led a delegation to the headquarters of the commission in Abuja.

Yakubu stated that the electoral umpire will ensure that the votes of Nigerians count, adding that the commission will always submit itself to the sanctity of votes cast by voters.

While commending UNOWAS for supporting INEC during the conduct of elections in Nigeria, he assured the team that the commission remains committed to a fair electoral process.

He said INEC, as a responsible agency, was aware of the strategic importance that a peaceful Nigeria meant to the stability of the West African region in terms of seamless electoral process.

“I recall that the UNOWAS was supportive of the commission ahead of the last general elections held in 2019.

“As you rightly pointed out, there are 15 countries in the sub-region. In order to show the importance of Nigeria in our democracy, as of today, we have 84 million registered voters but Nigeria is one out of 15 countries in the sub-region.

“But, the total number of registered voters in the other 14 countries put together, is 73m, meaning that Nigeria has 11 million voters more than other countries in the sub-region put together.

“Each time Nigeria conducts a general election, is like a general election in the whole of West Africa. So, we appreciate the enormous responsibility the commission is charged with.

“The election is both national and international. We have very good working relationship with strategic partners and allies in the country.

“We work very closely with the political parties, civil society organisations, media, security agencies in the country but at the same time, we also work closely with our friends in the international community such as UNOWAS.

“So, I want to assure you that we will continue to do what is right on the basis of the law; the ultimate choice is going to be made by Nigerians.

“Nigerians will determine who they want in the 2023 general election and we will continue to uphold the choice made by Nigerians,” Yakubu said.

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