The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured that it will not support any candidate or political party in the 2023 general election, as it is only interested in the electoral process.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman, INEC said this when he addressed Supervisory Presiding Officers (SPOs) for the 2023 general election in Abuja.
Yakubu urged them to be committed to their oath of neutrality and allegiance to Nigeria.
He advised them not to see their job as service to INEC but to the country as a whole in which they were equal stakeholders.
“The commission is determined that the 2023 general election will be a best ever and you are the people that will help the commission to make it happen and help to ensure that Nigeria has a pleasant experience on election day.
“INEC is not a political party. INEC has no candidate in the election. Our only interest is in the processes. The choice of who becomes what in Nigeria is left to the Nigerian people to decide,” he said.
Yakubu described the work of the SPOs as critical to success of the 2023 general election, urging them to uphold integrity of the process.
“You are the people who supervise those who will work at the most important level, the Polling Units (PUs) level. That is the only place where voting take place.
“The collation officers at the polling units level are collating results from the PUs. When collation officers at the PU go to the local government level, they are collating results from the PUs.
“When it goes to the state level they are collating results from the PUs and when they come to Abuja, where we collate the presidential result it would have passed through all these processes.
“So, by the time the results come to Abuja, Nigerians would have known the outcome of the election,” he said.
Yakubu added:“Our responsibility is simply to collate. So you are playing very critical role. What will help you help the commission, help Nigerians and the electoral process is your Integrity as individuals.”
He said that the training was going on simultaneously in all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He said that the training was a further reassurance to Nigerians of INEC readiness to conduct election on Feb. 25 and March 11.
“Today we are commencing the training of the most critical staff for the 2023 general election. Between today and tomorrow, we will train the PSOs.
“In the FCT we require 282 SPOs but we are training more than that no. We have added 70 to make it a total of 352 in case some are unable to make it on election day for one reason or another, we have a buffer.
“What is happening in FCT is happening in all the 36 days of the federation at the same time.
“Between today Feb. 11 and tomorrow Feb. 12, we will train the SPOs. Then on Tuesday the Feb. 14 to Thursday Feb. 16, we will train the Presiding Officers and Assistant Presiding Officers (APO) 1, 2 and 3,” he said.