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    INEC promises free and fair elections in 2023

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    By Grace Bappa, Abuja

    The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to conduct free, fair and transparent elections in the 2023 general elections.
    To achieve this, the electoral umpire said it would religiously apply the laws, especially the Electoral Act, 2022 without fear or favour .

    it therefore advised politicians and other stakeholders to take note of the new provisions in the  2022 Electoral Act and the possible implications of those provisions in the upcoming elections.

    Prof Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman made these assertions at the 4th Abubakar Momoh Memorial Lecture with the themed; “Electoral Act 2022: Imperatives for Political Parties and the 2023 General Election,” held in Abuja on Wednesday.

    He identified some of the critical changes brought up by the new law to include; the conduct of early party primaries, technological changes in the electoral process, the commission’s power to review the decision of returning officer and overvoting based on the number of accredited Voters.

    The INEC chairman was represented by Abdullahi Zuru, chairman of the Board of INEC’S Electoral Institute. Yakubu assured the public that the commission hadno preferred party or candidate and would only ensure that valid votes count and the winners are decided solely by the voters.

    He said: “the use of electronic devices such as Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS), INEC Voter Enrolment Device (IVED), INEC Results Viewing Portal (IRev) and other technological devices, are now legally allowed in the accreditation process for voters, collation of results and in the general conduct of elections.

    “Please be assured that these innovations are intended to deepen the Electoral process in our country and their optimal performance in the just concluded gubernatatorial election in Ekiti and Osun States is an eloquent testimony to their electoral value. We shall only do more to consolidate their deployment in our election.”

    The chairman expressed hope that the political parties would be committed to ensuring that the 2022 general election is “devoid of deliberate infractions to the 2022 Electoral Act, essentially by allowing the electoral process to run smoothly thereby, growing a rich democratic culture and acceptable election outcome.”

    In his speech, Prof Yemi Akinsseye-George, the guest speaker said politics was not anarchy and disorderliness stressing that  it must be punctuated by justice, fairness and orderliness.

    The professor of law also stressed that politics must not be seen as a dirty game, expressing optimism that the 2023 general election would hold against all odds and cited the enthusiasm shown for voter registration as a pointer to the fact.

    While insisting that political parties must obey their own rules, he said: “the Supreme Court has decided in several cases that political parties must obey their own constitutions as the court will not allow them to act arbitrarily or as they like.”

    “Indeed, the success or otherwise of our democracy is directly related to the level of enlightenment and capability of the political parties to comply with the rule of law in their operations,” he said.

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